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Roush Rookie Watch: Loudon after long layoff

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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're all doing well. These off weeks are really getting to me, it feels like it's been two months since we last raced at Bristol. Speaking of that, I hope you got a chance to check out the race. Mark Martin put on a driving lesson there. It was unreal how well he ran. He had the field covered, that's for sure. Our No. 99 team struggled from the minute we unloaded. We made gains, but never could get in a good position. We finished on the lead lap, and that was about it. It was kind of disappointing. I was hoping we would run a little bit better than that. John Quinn and the guys worked on the truck and had gotten it as comfortable as they could for me, and I don't think I adapted to it really fast. We ran lap times comparable to what the guys in the top-10 were running, but we couldn't get the track position to get up there and race with them. We were the highest-finishing rookie, but it was little consolation to us. We struggled at Dover and now at Bristol. I don't know if it's something with me and concrete ovals or what!

I'm looking forward to heading up to Loudon this weekend. I've never been there, but from what I'm told, it's really similar to Milwaukee. I like racing there so I'm hoping that we can take some of my experience there and use it to our advantage this weekend. We were really strong in the truck race there earlier in the year, but had a little misfortune when we had a problem with tires chunking. We'll be in the same truck that we had up there; we'll just look for a better result. We're off to Vegas after that, I'm hoping to have some time to have a little fun when we're out there off the track as well as on it. The schedule is pretty tight, but I think we can squeeze in a night of fun somewhere along the way. 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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