ROUSH RACING BUILDING THE STARS OF TOMORROW As teams prepare for Daytona, Roush's new additions look to make their mark Concord, NC (January 23, 2006) -- The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) is the developing ground for Roush Racing's...
ROUSH RACING BUILDING THE STARS OF TOMORROW
As teams prepare for Daytona, Roush's new additions look to make their mark
Concord, NC (January 23, 2006) -- The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) is the developing ground for Roush Racing's stars of tomorrow. And after a successful 2005 season, Roush Racing is looking to add to their truck accolades by developing two new drivers and bringing back one veteran of the sport. With young sensations Erik Darnell and David Ragan behind the wheel along with veteran star Mark Martin, Roush's truck program looks to be a top competitor heading into 2006.
"As a driver development tool, we have found the truck series to be invaluable," stated truck owner Jack Roush. "You have to constantly be looking for new driving talent. There are several drivers in the Cup series, Mark (Martin) included, that are going to be retiring soon. 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."
So far it looks as if Roush's up-and-comers are well on their way to becoming stars. Earlier this month in Daytona, Darnell tested the No. 99 F-150 while Ragan and Martin took turns behind the wheel of the No. 6 F-150. In his first outing at Daytona, Darnell proved he had talent on track posting the fourth quickest speed overall (178.951 mph). Darnell was happy with the test and looks forward to the opportunity presented to him in 2006.
"The Daytona test went very well, I was very happy with it." Darnell continued, "The trucks ran great. The guys at the shop have been putting together fast trucks and that showed at Daytona. John Quinn is an amazing crew chief; we have established a great line of communication early on so I think we'll have a strong relationship. Based on Daytona testing I'm feeling really good about 2006. We're working really well as a team and we've got awesome trucks so I think we can have a really successful 2006."
Ragan and Martin took turns driving the No. 6 but their results mirrored that of Darnell's. Ragan posted the second fastest overall speed (180.032 mph) while Martin took the top spot with a speed of 180.610 mph.
"We have a very good truck for Daytona," said Ragan. "I learned a lot that I think will pay off when the green flag drops. I am looking forward to an outstanding year, I really like all the guys I'm working with, I'm looking forward to working with them."
As for 2006, Ragan is looking forward to the challenge.
"I'll be returning to some tracks I've raced at before, and the experiences over the last three years will help me tremendously this year." Ragan also said, "Being a rookie driver with an experienced crew chief like Mike Beam helps a lot. I'll be able to rely on him at times when I find myself lacking some experience. Having a teammate like Erik will be beneficial to us this season. We get a long very well, we can relate on a lot of things. I think having the relationship we have will help both of us adapt to these trucks and some new tracks."
Roush's first NASCAR championship came in the NCTS with driver Greg Biffle in 2000 and in the series' 11 year history, Roush has fielded 15 full-time teams, capturing seven top-five point finishes and 10 top-10's while no full-time Roush entry has finished outside of the top 15 in points. Roush's truck teams have lead the series with 37 total wins including wins from current Roush Racing Cup drivers Martin, Biffle and Carl Edwards. In 2006 Roush looks to build on these accolades while building the stars of tomorrow.
Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates 12 motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, five in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards and Todd Kluever, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series.