Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Roush Fenway Drivers Ready For the Track 'Too Tough to Tame'

Edwards will be using his winning Las Vegas chassis this week (Getty) 
Carl Edwards
Team: No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne

Chassis: RK-732 – last ran Las Vegas in March when Edwards won

Carl Edwards on racing at Darlington Raceway:  “It’s a big weekend for us going into Darlington. We are leading the points and Dan Amos, the chairman of Aflac, is going to be there. Darlington is one of my favorite race tracks and it couldn’t have come at a better time on the schedule. We’re running well and our 1.5-mile program has been spectacular. This race really suits me as a driver – it’s a long race at a track that I love. I’m just hoping we can get a victory for Aflac there.”

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Darlington Raceway: “Darlington is a challenging track, and like last week we practice in the day but race at night so that adds another aspect to setting up the car for the race. We’re taking the same car we won with at Vegas earlier this year so we know we’ve got a good car going into it. Carl loves racing at Darlington although we haven’t always had the best of luck there lately. Hopefully we can change that Saturday night.”

Fast Facts
Carl Edwards will make his eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Darlington Raceway in this weekend’s SHOWTIME Southern 500.

STANDINGS… Edwards continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. After a top-five finish in Richmond he extended his lead to nine points over Jimmie Johnson.

FOR THE RECORD…In seven starts at the 1.366-mile track, Edwards has two top-five and four top-10 finishes. Edwards scored his best finish at Darlington, second place in 2008.

LAPS…Edwards has attempted 2572 laps in Cup Series competition at Darlington. He has completed 2433 laps – 94.6%, and led 37 laps.

ON THE TRACKThe No. 99 team will carry the Aflac paint scheme this weekend. The crew will be unloading chassis RK-732 this weekend. This is the same Ford Fusion that Edwards took to victory lane at Las Vegas earlier this year.

REWIND, DARLINGTON 2010… The track known as “too tough to tame” lived up to its reputation as Edwards and the team struggled to find the right set up from the first practice Friday throughout the race Saturday night. With hard work, determination and a bit of luck on their side, the Aflac team finished 26 positions ahead of where they started to claim 15th place

David Ragan finished fifth at Darlington in 2008 (Getty)
David Ragan
Team: No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion

Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer

Chassis: Primary: RK-711 Last ran Bristol – finished 16th; Backup: RK-730 Last ran Phoenix in 2010 as the No. 99 – finished first

Ragan on racing at Darlington Raceway: “Darlington is one of the hardest tracks on the schedule. After they paved the track the race has changed a little, tires don’t wear out as fast and speeds don’t drop off like they used to. So Drew and I are bringing one of our good mile-and-a-half cars for this weekend. Saturday night racing is always exciting and I’ll need to be very careful with my UPS Ford throughout the night to be around at the finish.”

Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Darlington Raceway: “Darlington is now a smooth track thanks to the repaving, so tires aren’t a worry like they were in the past. It’s also a fast track, so we’ll need to have good speed and down-force to be competitive. We are looking forward to getting closer to our first win after our last couple of runs in our UPS Ford.”

* Ragan has four prior Cup Series starts at Darlington. His best finish came in 2008 when he qualified 15th and finished fifth.
* Ragan has competed two times in the Nationwide Series at Darlington. His best finish came in 2007 he qualified eighth and finished 13th.
* UPS employee, Mike Carroll, will be an honorary crew member of the UPS team this weekend in Darlington. A mechanic for UPS out of Clayton, North Carolina, Carroll receives this honor for his high level of service and will have his name featured on the C-Post of the No. 6 UPS Ford

Kenseth is using fourth-place Fontana chassis this week (Getty)
Matt Kenseth Team: No. 17 Wiley X Sunglasses Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig

Chassis: Primary: RK-707 (Last run at Fontana)

Kenseth on racing at Darlington Raceway: “Darlington is a great race track with a lot of history attached to it. They repaved the surface a few years ago and it’s just a place where we race fast with narrow lanes, and track position at the end of the race is really important. It’s a challenging track since you get so much speed going into the turns; many cars end up with “Darlington stripes” down the side after brushing the wall. I’ve had some great races at Darlington, and I’m hoping to get a good finish this weekend in our Wiley X Sunglasses Ford Saturday night.”

Crew chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Darlington Raceway: “Darlington races are exciting, but it’s a place that I enjoy racing at because there is a lot of tradition associated with this track. Darlington is much different than it used to be because the old surface used to be all about tire conservation, but with the new smooth pavement, it is not as focused on tires anymore. Running close to the wall is one of the main challenges of Darlington since it is pretty fast and the cars run within inches of the outside wall at both ends of the track.”

• Everything’s coming up 17: Saturday night’s race at Darlington will be Kenseth’s 17th start in the No. 17 Ford and his average finishing position is 17th
• In 17 Cup starts at Darlington, Kenseth has completed 5,515 of 5,736 laps (96.1 percent) and led for 154 laps
• Kenseth has an average starting position of 21.8 and an average finishing position of 17.7 at Darlington
• Kenseth has achieved one pole, one top-five and seven top-10 finishes at Darlington in the Cup series
• This weekend at Darlington, Kenseth will pilot the No. 17 Wiley X Sunglasses Ford Fusion
• Entering the weekend at Darlington, Kenseth is currently ninth in the NSCS driver point standings.

Biffle won at Darlington in 2005 and then again in 2006
Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 Valvoline Ford Fusion
Cew chief: Greg Erwin

Biffle on Darlington: “Darlington is the hardest place we race. We run inches off the wall at speeds we run at mile and a half tracks. Any second it’ll reach out and bite you and that’s why they call it the Lady in Black. It is also very hard to pass there which obviously adds another challenge. We’ve been able to have some success there including a couple of wins so I always have high expectations when we go to Darlington.”

Erwin on Darlington: “I really like racing at Darlington, in fact, I would like to get a win there more than just about any other track. I grew up in Pennsylvania but I went to college at Clemson so I spent quite a bit of time in South Carolina. Greg has a couple of wins there but his last one was just a couple of weeks before I took this job in 2006. It’s a handling track and you have to try to get the car to handle well at both ends which are completely different. One end of the track is much narrower than the other so it is nearly impossible to get your car to handle perfectly in both. I know it’s one of Greg’s favorite tracks and we’d both like to get the 3M Ford in victory lane there this weekend.”

Darlington Notes
• Biffle is currently 14th in the Sprint Cup point standings following his 15th-place finish in Richmond.
• Biffle has an average finish of 14.8 from an average starting position of 9.1 at Darlington Raceway.
• Last year in Darlington the team had to go to the backup car due to a wreck in late in practice. Biffle qualified and started the race with only 15 minutes of practice in the backup car.
• Biffle has led a total of 639 laps in 10 starts at Darlington Raceway on his way to two wins and four top-10 finishes.
• This week Biffle visited a 3M plant in Pittsboro, NC where the rock granules used in roofing shingles are mined and readied for production. Seven out of every 10 homes that have shingles have 3M roofing granules on the shingles.
• Biffle also tested at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week for the Wood Brothers in place of Trevor Bayne.
• Visit www.shop3M.com to learn more about all of the innovative products 3M has to offer.

- Roush Fenway Racing, Press Releases

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