Rookie O'Quinn Looking Forward To Martinsville Homecoming MARTINSVILLE, VA (June 28, 2006) -- Despite a constant diet of foreign tracks, Danny O'Quinn is off to quite a start in his rookie season in the NASCAR Busch Series. And he believes with...
Rookie O'Quinn Looking Forward To Martinsville Homecoming
MARTINSVILLE, VA (June 28, 2006) -- Despite a constant diet of foreign tracks, Danny O'Quinn is off to quite a start in his rookie season in the NASCAR Busch Series. And he believes with a homecoming of sorts set for the Goody's 250 at Martinsville Speedway on July 22, the season could get even better.
Headed into last weekend's event at Daytona International Speedway, O'Quinn was locked solidly into the Busch Series' top 20 with a pair of top-10 finishes and three top-10 starts so far this season.
"We struggled a lot at the first of the year. I'd have a car set up way too tight on some of the mile and a half race tracks and be way off the pace," said the 6-foot-5, 240-pound O'Quinn. "But I'm at the point now where I know what I need in the car. This is a rookie team. My crew chief is a rookie and we've all had to learn things together."
O'Quinn can bring a little extra knowledge to his pits at Martinsville Speedway, though. Unlike most of the tracks he's visited so far this year, O'Quinn has a long-standing relationship with Martinsville's difficult half-mile. The 21-year-old O'Quinn has run Late Model Stock races here and he spent three long hot days here last summer as part of Jack Roush's talent hunt, The Gong Show.
"Martinsville is just like the tracks that we grew up racing on ... those flat little short tracks," said O'Quinn. I've got a lot of experience on those type of tracks. Martinsville is someplace we feel like we can go right off the bat and be good whereas it's kind of tough going to some of these mile and halfs where these other guys have been so many times.
"I've raced Late Models at Martinsville and I was there in the truck last summer. That just makes it easier on you. I think it makes a big difference just knowing the track when you get there and you don't spend the whole practice out there learning the track. So I think there is a big comfort level coming to Martinsville just because I've been there before."
The Coeburn driver admits he has a special tie to Martinsville Speedway. It was that three days here last summer with The Gong Show that turned his career around, O'Quinn says.
"I'm definitely excited about getting to Martinsville. It's one of those races I'm looking forward to more than any of them because that was kind of the place I got the ride with Roush (Racing). It's always been good to me."
In the end, O'Quinn didn't win The Gong Show, but was in the final four.
"Everybody went through the show thinking there would be one guy winning and he'd be in one truck and that would be it. Well, I didn't win it (Eric Darnell did) and I was feeling bummed out. I didn't think I'd have anything and I've have to go looking somewhere else."
But Jack Roush told O'Quinn to hold tight, he might have something for him after all. Sponsorship was located for the Busch Series program, and now, five months into the season, O'Quinn is 16th in the points and is starring in at least two national television commercials.
"Who would have thought a year ago I'd have all of this going on," said O'Quinn. "It's definitely been a big change for me ... from working in the shop by myself and having guys coming out and helping me at night for free, and now I'm over here at Roush Racing, one of the biggest operations in the world. It's a dream come true. These opportunities don't come knocking every day."
The Goody's 250 NASCAR Busch Series action kicks off with an open test session on Thursday July 20 from noon until 7 p.m. The test session will be open to the public at no charge.
On Friday, July 21, there will be a practice from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. followed by a rookie practice from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The final practice will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 21. Friday admission is $5.
Qualifying is set for 12:05 p.m. Saturday, July 22 with the Goody's 250 set to start at 3:30 p.m.
Goody's 250 tickets are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or visiting www.racetickets.com on the web. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 the day of the event.