Another Ford Victory in Michigan as Darnell Wins Truck Race
Jack Roush has given Ford Racing fans plenty to cheer about over the years, and this weekend was no exception with both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series competing at Roush's hometown track, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
The weekend began great for the Livonia, Mich., native as his driver, Erik Darnell, drove the No. 99 Ford F-150 into victory lane in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Darnell reached the finish line just .005 seconds before Johnny Benson, the second closest finish in series' history. NASCAR officials had to review photos to determine the winner.
"This is my favorite place, obviously," said Roush. "Ford Motor Company is in Dearborn, World Headquarters for that company, and all of our employees and a lot of customers come. We've got two suites here. It's always a pleasure to come to MIS. It's the first superspeedway I went to in 1964 – we came out here and watched Indy cars. So this is home for me and to be able to be here with Erik and Matt [Puccia, crew chief], it's just wonderful."
Brendan Gaughan and Colin Braun also joined Darnell in the top 10, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively. Rick Crawford continues to be the top Ford driver in the standings after an 11th place showing this weekend. Crawford moved up one spot in the standings to fifth place, just 61 points behind Benson for the series lead.
The following day, Roush put four of his five cars into the top 10 at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. All five of the Roush Fenway Racing cars were contenders during the race as Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, David Ragan and Jamie McMurray led at least one lap.
Kenseth had the best finish of any of the Ford drivers, taking third place. His performance marks his fifth consecutive top-10 finish and moved him into 14th place in the standings, just 14 points out of the top 12 and the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
"Our car was pretty decent all day," said Kenseth. "It felt like we were a little off, but our speed was really good all day. I thought it was a real fun race. I thought it was exciting, three- and four-wide racing, and track was real challenging today, so I thought that was a good time."
Edwards took eighth place and remains fourth in the standings, while Ragan finished eighth and remains 13th, just 10 points out of the final Chase spot. Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 10.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series was in action in Sparta, Ky., where Marcos Ambrose led all Ford drivers with a sixth place finish. David Ragan joined Ambrose in the top 10, crossing the line seventh. Ambrose moved up one spot to 13th place in the standings, while Ragan moved up one spot to sixth place.
"There's a lot of expectation on us this year being the second year," said Ambrose. "We want to get back to top 10 in points. We just want to run solid top-10s all week, every weekend. That's the first time we've generally been in the top 10 all day. I'm pretty proud of my guys."
* In the Grand-Am KONI Challenge race at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, the Ford Mustang FR500C swept the top two spots. Joe Foster and Scott Maxwell captured the victory, winning at the track for the second consecutive time. Mike Canney and Hugh Plumb were right behind to take second place in the No. 60 Mustang FR500C.
"I love this track," said Maxwell. "I think it's the best track we go to, but I am a little bit biased because it's my hometown track. It's challenging and anywhere at Mosport you've got to try real hard. You don't cruise at Mosport; every lap is a bunch of challenges that's for sure."
The No. 37 Mustang FR500C, driven by Bret Seafuse and James Gue, and the No. 52 Mustang FR500C, driven by Adam Pecorari and Ray Mason, both had top-10 finishes as well, placing seventh and 10th, respectively.
Andrew Caddell continued his dominance in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge, claiming the pole and the victory in his No. 9 Mustang FR500S for the second consecutive event. Caddell lost the lead at the beginning of the race, but took control three laps later and eventually created a five-second gap between himself and the second place driver, Pratt Cole. A late race restart grouped the field back together again, but Caddell was able to hold off Cole for the victory.
"I saw that Pratt (Cole) got a good run on me on the restart but I was able to hold him off," said Caddell. "I love racing with Pratt and I trust him and he trusts me, so it was really fun out there and I'm really happy to have my dad here to see this win on Fathers Day."
Next weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., while the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be competing in Milwaukee. The Grand-Am Rolex Series and Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series will be accompanied by the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio; and the NHRA will be in competition in Englishtown, N.J.