Darnell Holds Off Hornish For Top Brass At MIS

BROOKLYN MI (6-15-07) – Despite a healthy line-up of top-quality teams in his rear view mirror, Roush Racing’s Erik Darnell drove away from Penske Racing’s Sam Hornish, Jr. to win the ARCA RE/MAX 200 Friday afternoon at Michigan Int’l Speedway.

Darnell, in the fuel conservation mode, stretched his advantage to 20 lengths at the final stripe over Hornish, Jr., who finished second in his career-first series start. It was Darnell’s second RE/MAX Series victory of the season.

“We were doing all we could to conserve fuel in the end,” said Darnell, “I saw Hornish coming but, fortunately for us, he was caught up in a battle with the 31 (Tim McCreadie) and that allowed us to set our pace and save some fuel. Once Hornish cleared the 31, we knew we had to go, so we threw everything we had at it and came out on top. What a great racecar Roush Racing gave me here. It was really good right from the start.”

Hornish, looking for stock car seat-time, had fueling issues and had to make an unscheduled pit stop late in the race, which set the Defiance, Ohio driver well back in the order for the final 20 circuits.

“We couldn’t get any fuel in the car,” said Hornish. “I don’t know if we had a line pinched or what exactly the problem was. I will have to talk to the crew to see exactly what happened. As a racecar driver I would have liked it a lot more for the race to go like the beginning but as a student it was probably good for it to go the way it did. We got a lot of side-by-side racing in today. And I led for awhile so we got a little bit of it all today.”

Erin Crocker, in the Evernham Motorsports MAC Tools-Mac Card Dodge, finished third, becoming the highest finishing female in Michigan Int’l Speedway history.

“We had a little bit of trouble in the pits as well,” said Crocker. “You want to be out leading but it’s fun sometimes to drive up through the field. I like this racetrack. I was enjoying running up by the fence at the beginning of the race. It reminded me of by sprint car days.”

Tim McCreadie, in a Richard Childress Racing Camping World Chevrolet, finished a solid fourth in his career-first RE/MAX Series start. Series regular Jeremy Clements, in the One Stop Convenience Stores Chevrolet, battled back from one lap down to finish fifth.

In all, four drivers exchanged the lead four times while seven cautions slowed the field seven times for 38 laps during the 100-lap, 200-mile race. There were no injuries.

Darnell spent the most time on the point with 58 laps led over Hornish, who led the first 29 circuits. Phillip McGilton, in the Brewco Motorsports SI Performance Ford, finished sixth after leading eight laps, earning the Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race honors. Dexter Bean, who finished 12th, led five laps.

Eddie Sharp Racing teams Toyotas, with Ken Butler III and Michael McDowell driving, finished seventh and eighth respectively. McDowell, who started 22nd, also earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions. Damon Lusk finished ninth in the Dynatak-Ilmore Racing Engines Dodge in front of Brian Keselowski, who finished tenth in the Holloway-Glory Hound Dodge.

Hornish, Jr. also earned the SIM Factory Pole Award on Thursday with a speed of 186.205 mph.

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