Danny O'Quinn Jr. Gets the Call Pro Cup Drivers Signs with Roush Racing Longs, SC-Danny O'Quinn Jr. was awestruck when he received an invitation to Roush Racing's "Race for the Ride" program at North Wilkesboro Speedway. When he was invited to...
Danny O'Quinn Jr. Gets the Call
Pro Cup Drivers Signs with Roush Racing
Longs, SC-Danny O'Quinn Jr. was awestruck when he received an invitation to Roush Racing's "Race for the Ride" program at North Wilkesboro Speedway. When he was invited to the second round at Darlington Raceway, the Coeburn, Va. driver was even more mesmerized. Earlier this week, the already surreal situation reached its climax when O'Quinn was signed to Roush Racing's Driver Development Program.
"When you're growing up, you always dream about getting this kind of opportunity, but you never expect it to happen," said O'Quinn. "This is something I've been working for since I was six. When [Roush Racing] called, I was at a loss for words."
Fortunately for O'Quinn, his driving spoke volumes.
"Danny O'Quinn really impressed me with how quickly he adapted to the trucks," said Mark Martin. "That just shows his level of skill and determination."
O'Quinn credits the development of those traits to his racing environment.
"When I went to North Wilkesboro to test the truck, I didn't feel out of place," said O'Quinn. "I believe the Hooters [Pro Cup] cars are the best training tool for a driver looking to get to the next level. The trucks have a little more horsepower than the Pro Cup car, but it wasn't that big of a jump. If you put them on the same track, they'd drive the same. Hooters Pro Cup is definitely the way to go to get that feel."
O'Quinn plans to remain in the HPC Series on a part-time basis during the '05 season, but his days as a HPC Series regular are over.
As part of Roush's DDP, O'Quinn will be gaining experience on the larger tracks in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, running 10 races to gain seat time. Ironically, he'll do it from the seat of a former Hooters Cup campaigner's car. Earlier this week, O'Quinn picked up two Nextel Cup cars that Matt Kenseth drove last season.
"It's just great to be with a top-notch organization like Roush," said O'Quinn. "My main goal this season is to gain valuable experience on the longer tracks, run competitively and win some races. With the equipment and technical resources Roush Racing is providing, I think I can do that. My ultimate goal is to race in the Nextel Cup Series. I will strive to prove myself this season and hopefully get an opportunity to chase this goal by moving up through the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series."
O'Quinn's first race in the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be at Nashville Superspeedway on March 26.
In the meantime, O'Quinn, driver of the No. 02s Tucson Ford, is gearing up for the Pro Cup opener at USA Int'l Speedway on Feb. 26 and preparing for a bittersweet farewell.
"I'm going to miss all the people in the series," said O'Quinn. "That's the hard part about this deal. Everybody has been so helpful over the last two years, it's tough to leave."
However, O'Quinn fans unable to catch the Naturally Fresh 250 in Lakeland, Fla., will have several more chances to wish the 19-year-old good luck during the Pro Cup season.
O'Quinn plans to make Hooters Pro Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Lonesome Pine Raceway and Motor Mile Speedway during the '05 season.