FOX Sports Exclusive
Roush Rookie Watch: Taking Memphis magic to IRP
Hey everyone. Hope you're all doing well. I'll bring you up to speed on the past few weeks. Since I wrote last, we've raced at Milwaukee, Kansas, Kentucky and Memphis. Some went our way, others didn't. Here's the rundown. Milwaukee was one of the biggest races of the year for me. That's one that I had circled on my calendar. I grew up not far from there so a lot of friends and family came out for it. We qualified and ran well, but we had a tire chunk on us that took us out of contention. We finished two laps down. Needless to say, it was not at all what we were looking for. If there was any consolation in the deal, at least we knew that we had a good truck and did what we needed to do. The problem that took us out of contention was out of our hands. Kansas was another hard race for us. We qualified eighth and felt that we'd be in good shape for the race. We had a problem toward the end of the race when the truck just wouldn't turn. I'd never felt anything like it before, and we could not diagnose what was causing the problem. We wound up 26th. Obviously, we were really disappointed to finish the way we did. Kentucky was one of those times when you can honestly say sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. We struggled with our truck all night, and we never could get a good handle on it. We made changes, but they didn't give us what we thought they would. We got off-cycle on pit stops and wound up putting ourselves in pretty good position. I hate to say I'm disappointed with a ninth-place finish, but we didn't run very well. We qualified pretty well and got going during the race; we just could not go in traffic. The truck was real tight, and I was having a tough time. We ran decent there for a while and got a little bit back there after a couple of pit stops, and I was just having a tough time trying to make it up through there. We were just fortunate that the cautions fell the way they did to end up with a top-10.
Erik Darnell diaries
Memphis was great; I hope everyone watched the race. My crew has worked so hard to give me great trucks to drive, and I'm just thrilled that we could put it all together. We led our first laps of the season, and I really thought we had a chance to win the race. Our truck wasn't as good on the short runs, but besides Dennis Setzer, I think we were about the best on the long runs. When we took the lead, I tried to stay out front, and I think I overdrove it a little bit. That hurt me, and Jack Sprague was able to get up to me and pass me. It was great to come home with our first top-five finish, and I think everyone knew that we were there and had a shot at the thing. I hate that we've got these two off weeks before IRP. We're bringing the same truck, and we're hoping for just a little better result! I'm going to take advantage of the two off weeks by doing what I know how to do best: go racing! I'm running the Slinger Nationals this Tuesday, July 18. Slinger is a tough track, it's like a quarter-mile paved Bristol. You're basically turning the whole time you're running. There really isn't much of a straightaway to speak of. When you've arched off the corner, you're setting up for the next. I've struggled to figure Slinger out in the past so I'm hoping that I can get up there and get a good finish. It's a lot of fun to go racing with my family again; I really enjoy spending time with them at the track. 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.