Roush Rookie Watch: Meet the Busch, Truck drivers

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foxsports admin

On Tuesdays during the Nextel Cup season, Roush Racing's four Busch and Craftsman Truck rookie drivers will file diaries on, starting with Todd Kluever's first entry on Feb. 14. For more information on any of the Roush Racing drivers or teams or to join any of the Roush driver fan clubs, log onto

Todd Kluever

Originally from Sun Prairie, Wis., Todd Kluever's years in racing date all the way back to when he was just a young kid. Growing up, Kluever raced everything from dirt bikes to snow cross to late models. In October of 2004 Kluever, was given the chance of a lifetime, earning the opportunity to try out for Roush Racing's "Race For The Ride". He competed against 25 other drivers at North Wilkesboro Speedway, making it to the final round held at Darlington. Kluever beat out nine other drivers to win a seat in Roush's No. 50 World Financial Group/Shell Rotella T Ford F-150, beginning in 2005. In his first season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Kluever earned six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes while also winning the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year award. In 2006, Kluever makes the move to the Busch Series in the No. 06 3M Ford Fusion for Roush Racing.

Danny O'Quinn

At 6 feet, 5 inches tall, Danny O'Quinn stands out in a crowd. And car owner Jack Roush hopes that O'Quinn will be a standout in the Busch Series as well when he gets behind the wheel of the No. 50 World Financial Group Ford Fusion in 2006. O'Quinn, originally from Coeburn, Va., has excelled in racing since driving his first go-kart at the age of seven. At 19, O'Quinn became the youngest Hooters Pro Cup Series race winner and followed that up with eight top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. In October of 2004, O'Quinn was invited to participate in Roush Racing's "Race for the Ride." He made quite an impression on future Roush teammate Mark Martin, and Roush offered O'Quinn a developmental contract. He returned to compete in 2005's "Roush Racing Driver X: Race for the Ride," and emerged with a full-time Busch Series ride for the upcoming season.

David Ragan and Erik Darnell

"Driver X" produced two new, young drivers who will compete for Roush in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. David Ragan and Erik Darnell join Roush Racing as the drivers of the No. 6 and No. 99 Ford F-150 truck's respectively. Ragan hails from Unadilla, Ga. and has been racing since the age of 11. Ragan, son of former Winston Cup driver Ken Ragan, has two national championships in the Bandolero Series and also competed in the Goody's Dash Series. Ragan drove in the Legends Pro-Division for Mark Martin in 2002, and in 2003, he made his first foray into NASCAR, running select Craftsman Truck and Busch Series events along with a limited ARCA schedule for several owners. Originally from Beach Park, Ill., Erik Darnell's career in racing seemed destined from birth. The grandson of a successful USAC driver, Darnell's first trip to the racetrack came at eight weeks old when his family traveled to Florida for the Daytona 500. Twelve years later, Darnell had his turn behind the wheel and won Rookie-of-the-Year honors in his first full-season with the River Valley Kart Club in 1996. Since then, Darnell has raced in a Super Late Model Series and NASCAR's AutoZone Elite Series. In 2004, Darnell competed in Roush Racing's "Race for the Ride," finishing second to future Roush teammate Todd Kluever. His runner-up effort impressed Roush, and Darnell was signed to a developmental contract. One year later, he returned to the competition and emerged with the opportunity to pilot the No. 99 Roush Racing F-150.
Tagged: Erik Darnell

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