Roush Rookie Watch: Local short track flashback

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

Hope everyone had a good Easter, and that all is well. I took advantage of the off-weeks by heading back up to Illinois to visit my family and race my late model. It was a good couple of weeks. Got to see a lot of friends, both at the track and away from it. I'm going to try to get up there as many times as I can this year, as much as the schedule will allow. Seems like we've got a bunch of off-weeks right now, but soon enough those will be gone. My first race up there was at Lake Geneva Raceway, a place I've raced at for years. This is the last season they are racing up there as the track is being torn down at the end of the year to make way for a new housing development. It's really sad, because I've got so much history there. I really love racing there, and I think it's an awesome facility. We had a fast car from the time we unloaded. We set fast time, but because they invert the field, we started the feature 12th. I've become used to racing longer distances, so running a 40-lap feature meant we had to get up on it. There was no time to waste. We managed to get the lead by lap 15, and we didn't let go of it. It was an awesome run; I was really happy with how it went. I'm sure most of those guys are going to hope that we don't come back too often! We went to Slinger Speedway this past weekend. That's a tough place. It's like Bristol, but smaller. It's only a quarter-mile. It's high-banked and fast as anything. It's a track I've struggled with in the past, so I went there with the intentions of getting a good finish. We had two 75-lap features — we wound up getting 8th in the first and 16th in the second. I feel like a win at Slinger is right up there on my list of things to accomplish this year. Obviously, my focus is the Craftsman Truck Series, but I really would like to get a win at Slinger before the year is out. We'll keep trying for it.

Erik Darnell diaries

  • Short track flashback
  • Back to the bullring
  • Top rookie so far
  • We head to Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. this weekend for the fifth truck race of the year. I've raced there before, so this will be the first time I'm heading to a track where I've got some experience. I think that's going to be a benefit because we won't have to spend the time getting me familiar with a new facility. We've been able to adapt fairly quickly, and I'd even say pretty well. But this time around, I hope we can advance ourselves some. I really expect to get a good finish up there. Who knows, maybe we'll get up there and lead a few laps, maybe even be there at the end. Make sure you check out the race on SPEED (Saturday at 8 p.m. ET). We really appreciate everyone's support. It makes this deal so much better knowing we've got you pulling for us. We'll check in again in a few weeks and give you another update.

    Tagged: Erik Darnell

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