Off-week news and notes 2007-05-08

* Darnell Continues Roush Winning Tradition * Series Heads To Lowe's For Final Test * Skinner Dominates Several Stats Categories * McCumbee To Make Cup Debut At Pocono Darnell Latest In Successful Roush Development ...

*       Darnell Continues Roush Winning Tradition

* Series Heads To Lowe's For Final Test
*       Skinner Dominates Several Stats Categories

* McCumbee To Make Cup Debut At Pocono

Darnell Latest In Successful Roush Development Program

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 7, 2007) -- Jack Roush has an eye for talent. He also has the means for developing young talented drivers - Roush Racing drivers have earned five Raybestos Rookie of the Year awards in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the most of any team.

Second-year driver Erik Darnell (No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford) is the latest Roush Racing driver to take top rookie honors (2006) and win a race. His win last week at Kansas Speedway was the 44th career win for Roush, a series record. He also became the ninth different driver to win a race for Roush Racing, another series record.

"As a driver development tool, we have found the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to be invaluable," Roush said. "You have to constantly be looking for new driving talent. We have to have the next generation of drivers available to fill those seats and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has been a great place to get them started."

Darnell follows a distinguished line of young Roush drivers. Greg Biffle (1998), Kurt Busch (2000), Carl Edwards (2003) and Todd Kluever (2005) all won rookie titles for Roush and have a combined 26 career wins. Biffle won Roush's only series championship in 2000.

Darnell is currently 10th in the point standings. He finished 12th last season. Prior to his win, his best finish was second at Memphis Motorsports Park last season.

Teams Prepare For Final Sanctioned Test Of Season

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams will spend Thursday and Friday testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway this week. The test will provide valuable information for next Friday's race, as well as the remainder of the season.

"This test is very important to the teams, as it is the last scheduled sanctioned test for the 2007 season," said Series Director Wayne Auton.

"Now that teams have had a chance to run races with the new splitter design this year, it gives them a chance to do some adjustments to their respective set-ups to make a run for the championship."

LMS is a 1.5-mile oval, with 24 degrees of banking in the corners. The test will help prepare teams for several upcoming tracks, including Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.

Previously, teams tested at Daytona International Speedway (2.5 miles, 31-degree banking) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5 miles, 18-20 degree banking).

Teams are allowed to test on their own at tracks that are not on the current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule.

In The Loop: Stats Show Skinner's Season-Long Dominance

Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) saves the best for last.

That's not to say he's not the best there is in the beginning and the middle. He is.

But he shines when it counts -- the end.

Skinner's average start is 2.8. His average position in the middle of each race is 5.0.

But his average finish is 2.4.

All those marks are far and away the best in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. But it's how Skinner finishes each race that counts. That is where the three trophies he's earned this season were won.

The nearly three positions he's gained from the middle of each race to the end has put him a cut above the rest of the field. He leads reigning series champion Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) by 108 points and his statistics are among the top in the circuit.

And for the most part, there is no one close to Skinner in most of those categories. For instance, the closest driver in Driver Rating is Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) at 107.5 and second-place in the Laps Led category is Erik Darnell.

NCTS Happenings

McCumbee To Make NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Debut ... Chad McCumbee (No. 08 The GPS Store Chevrolet) will attempt to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Pocono Raceway on June 10. McCumbee was announced as a substitute driver for Kyle Petty in the No. 45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/Tire Kingdom Dodge.

Petty will step out of the car for five races to join the TNT broadcast team. McCumbee will split duties with veteran John Andretti.

McCumbee was the runner-up in last year's Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings. He had three top-10 finishes last year.

He is currently 18th in the standings.

NCTS Teams Host UYRS Students ... Students from the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia will spend next week interning with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams as part of the 2007 Craftsman Career Development Program. Four students will be paired up with the No. 1 Red Horse Racing Chevrolet of Aaron Fike, the No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford of David Starr, the No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford of Rick Crawford and the No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevrolet of Brendan Gaughan.

The interns will spend the week working in the race shops and will also assist the teams during the Quaker Steak and Lube 200 on Friday night.


Next Race: Quaker Steak and Lube 200 presented by Circle K

The Place: Lowe's Motor Speedway
The Date: May 18

The Time: 9 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 8:30 p.m. (ET)

Track Layout: 1.5-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $544,474

2006 Winner: Kyle Busch
2006 Pole: Mike Skinner

Schedule: Friday -- Practice 10 a.m. -- 11:15 a.m.; 11:20 a.m.. -- 11:40 a.m. (rookies) and 11:50 a.m. -- 12:50 p.m. Qualifying 4:35 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers John Andretti , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , David Starr , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Rick Crawford , Brendan Gaughan , Aaron Fike , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Todd Kluever , Erik Darnell , Chad McCumbee , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Horse Racing