This Week in Ford Racing September 8, 2010 Erik Darnell will make his debut with the No. 16 Nationwide Series team this weekend in the Scotch-Brite/3M Ford Mustang. This is Darnell's first race for Roush Fenway Racing since the season finale...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 8, 2010
Erik Darnell will make his debut with the No. 16 Nationwide Series team this weekend in the Scotch-Brite/3M Ford Mustang. This is Darnell's first race for Roush Fenway Racing since the season finale last year at Homestead Miami Speedway. Darnell will also participate in the Nationwide events at Dover International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway later this season.
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU HAD IN THIS NEW MUSTANG? "Fortunately for me, I have done quite a bit of the testing over the last couple of years leading up to this. I did the Richmond and Charlotte tests in 2008 and got to drive the car at Daytona this year. We also got to take the car out to Iowa as well. I have already driven it at Richmond in the open test a couple years ago, so I feel pretty good going there this weekend having already had laps in the car. Granted, that was a couple of years ago and the car wasn't finalized yet, but I have been pretty lucky to do a lot of testing in the car and feel familiar with it. I am looking forward to running it."
OTHER THAN YOUR TEST TIME AT RICHMOND, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT THE TRACK OVER THE YEARS? "Richmond is pretty cool. It is a racy little short track and you will see some two and sometimes three-wide action there. From a driver standpoint, that place is a lot of fun. Turn two is a little bit tight, but as far as being able to just go out there and race, Richmond is a great place to do it. I got to run both of the Nationwide races there last year and had decent runs. We didn't end up quite as well as we would have liked but they were both decent. It is a place I really enjoy racing at, and I am really looking forward to it."
DOES YOUR MINDSET CHANGE GOING FROM A FILL-IN PRACTICE GUY, TO THE GUY THAT WILL TAKE THE WHEEL FOR THE WHOLE WEEKEND THIS TIME? "I guess it hasn't necessarily changed at all. I used to do this about every weekend and I was used to it, but it has been frustrating for me because I haven't run a race since Homestead last year, which was like nine months ago. I have been fortunate to get in the car a couple times this year and get out on the track to get a feel for it. I am not going to go into it having no track time, which is good, but I don't think my mindset changes too much. I am excited because I get to go out there and practice a car and then stay in it for the race, which I haven't been able to do this year. It is going to be fun."
A NINE MONTH LAYOFF MUST BE TOUGH, IS THERE AN ADJUSTMENT PERIOD TO GETTING BACK IN THE CAR? "It helps to be able to stay in the car more often, I feel like. When I got in the car in Nashville in June, I hadn't been in there in awhile. It took me a couple of laps to get back up to speed, but then everything was fine. The subsequent weeks after that were pretty easy. I was able to jump in and go. That first big period of not being in the car took a little bit of adjusting to get back into it, but not too much. I was in the car testing last week, so I am feeling pretty good right now."
-source: ford racing