O'Quinn Jr.'s Pursuit Of Raybestos Rookie Title May Not Be Such A Tall Order DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2006) -- At 6' 5", 240 pounds, Danny O'Quinn Jr. (No. 50 World Financial Group Ford) might seem more at home on an offensive line than in...
O'Quinn Jr.'s Pursuit Of Raybestos Rookie Title May Not Be Such A Tall Order
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2006) -- At 6' 5", 240 pounds, Danny O'Quinn Jr. (No. 50 World Financial Group Ford) might seem more at home on an offensive line than in the seat of a race car.
And to some who haven't been paying particular attention to the first-year developmental driver for Roush Racing, his current ranking in the NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie standings -- tied for first with John Andretti (No. 10 Global Dehumidification Solutions Ford) -- might also seem a bit out of place.
Especially when it's pointed out that the 21-year-old native of Coeburn, Va. has missed two of the last six races in order to give teammate David Ragan seat time as he prepares to take over next season for O'Quinn's hero and mentor Mark Martin (No. 6 Ameriquest Ford) in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Martin, the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series wins (47) and poles (29) is entered in the O'Reilly Challenge.
The opportunity to watch and learn while out of the car at California Speedway and Dover International Speedway has boosted O'Quinn's performance during the latter stages of his rookie season. He had produced three top-10 finishes in his first 23 races, but has responded with back-to-back results of fifth -- a career best -- at Lowe's Motor Speedway and eighth last week at Memphis Motorsports Park.
His average finish over his last four races is 11.25, while his Driver Rating has improved from 58.1 to 61.1 during that span.
O'Quinn's surge has spiced up the rookie standings. Nine races ago, he was fourth, 28 points behind Andretti's first-place ranking. Coming to Texas Motor Speedway, O'Quinn is tied with Andretti for the lead -- both drivers have 197 points with three races remaining.
"Over the past few races the team has really started to gel," O'Quinn said. "Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) and I have really been working well together, too. We're able to unload off the truck now, make adjustments and be fast right off the bat. A lot of that is [due to going] to tracks for a second time."