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Roush Rookie Watch: Following family's tire tracks

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On Tuesdays during the season, Roush Racing's four Busch and Craftsman Truck rookie drivers will file diaries on FOXSports.com. This week, Erik Darnell — Craftsman Truck rookie — writes about his last month. For more information on any of the Roush Racing drivers or teams or to join any of the Roush driver fan clubs, log onto RoushRacing.com

Hey everyone, hope you've all been doing well. It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks. We're at the mid-point of our nine-race run, which started out really well but had a few bad weeks mixed in. We started the stretch with the race in Charlotte last month, where we got a top-10 finish. We were all pretty happy with that race, just wish we could have had a few more laps at the end to pick up a couple more spots. From there it was on to Mansfield, where we had a pretty good run. I'd raced there before, but it was nothing like it was in the truck. We had a different tire than I was used to, and track position was so important. I kept trying to make passes on the low side of the track, but I just couldn't make them stick. The outside line was the one to be in, but you'd have to boot someone out of the way to make a pass up there. We came home 13th, and we were alright with that. I think we had more in it, but we had to settle for what we could get. Heading to Dover, I really didn't know what to expect. We pulled in there in the rental car, and I could not get over how narrow it was. It had some similarities to Bristol, but that track truly is unique. Knowing that things can happen very quickly there, you've got to be heads up every second of the race. We didn't get to race the truck we wanted to bring because it was destroyed in the wreck we had at Gateway. We really didn't know what to expect out of the truck that we brought, and unfortunately, it didn't work out too well for us. We struggled to get comfortable, and we just couldn't get the truck to handle. We wound up coming out of there 25th. I think I've learned a lot that will help me going back there in the future, but I hate that we couldn't have done more with it this time out.

Erik Darnell diaries

  • Following family's tire tracks
  • Rallying after wrecks
  • Short track flashback
  • Back to the bullring
  • Top rookie so far
  • Texas was a pretty big disappointment for us. I really beat myself up over that race. I was racing against the No. 33 truck and lost it. The trucks are so aero-sensitive... When the No. 33 pulled up alongside of me, it took the air off my spoiler and sent us into the wall. It was one of our favorite trucks so it hurt that we wrecked it. The guys will get it put back together, and it will be just as good, if not better than it was. But it does not take the sting out of that deal. I thought we had a chance for our first top-five finish so I was very upset with the result. Michigan went really well. The trucks draft so well there, and it was a lot of fun getting to play around with that a little. The only thing I found was that sometimes you'd get a great run, suck up to someone and the line just seemed to stop moving. At one point, we were four-wide going into Turn 1. That was a rush. Michigan is a really cool track, and I look forward to going back there again. We're getting ready for Milwaukee next, which is a race I put a lot of emphasis on. Of course, you want to win every race, but my family has raced at Milwaukee for years and I'd like nothing more than to add my name beside my grandfather and father's on the list of winners there. It's such a tough track; it challenges you every lap. This isn't one of those places where you can just get in a rhythm; you've got to race hard every lap. I really enjoy the challenge of it. Milwaukee is also the place where I got my first Craftsman Truck Series start so it will always be special to me for that reason as well. We'll check in again next month. Thanks again for all your support. It means a lot to know that you fans are behind us.

    Tagged: Erik Darnell

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