LOUDON, N.H. (June 29, 2008) – In the heart of Red Sox nation David Ragan donned a Boston Red Sox inspired baseball theme on his No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion. With the New England Red Sox fans support Ragan was looking forward to a good run and advancing in the points. Ragan over came a poor qualifying effort of 35th to battle back into the top 15 when a late race incident would send him to the garage before the race was over. Kurt Busch won the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 while Ragan was left packing up early and heading home with a 40th-place finish.
During the weekend’s practice sessions Ragan had a decent car, but when it came down to qualifying things didn’t work out to his advantage. An early draw sent Ragan out as one of the first cars to qualify on a slick track. Those who drew later had the advantage of a cooler track as it got later in the day. And to top it off the rains came and delayed qualifying even further. NASCAR dried the track and completed qualifying which left Ragan starting the 301-lap event from the 35th position.
Right from the start Ragan gained a few positions, but hung around 30th for the first part of the race. A long green flag start to the race had the field starting off the race with green flag pit stops. Ragan reported to crew chief Jimmy Fennig that his Ford was a little tight in the middle of the turns. Ragan made his green flag stop on lap 68 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Ragan returned to the track and continued to hang around the 30th position.
The first caution of the day came on lap 85. Ragan welcomed the break in green flag racing to tell his team the changes they had made helped, but he needed a little more of what they had given him earlier. In an attempt to gain track position, Ragan pitted for two tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Ragan came in running 27th and went back out 24th.
The second caution was for debris on lap 139 and Ragan was up to 20th. He once again told his team he had good forward bite, but needed a little more of what they had given him. He pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment. His team made the changes in a timely manner and sent him back out 20th.
Ragan moved up to 19th with the adjustments, but needed the front end to turn a little bit better. His next opportunity to pit would come under caution on lap 205. This time he received four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. It seemed as if the car was just where he needed it to be and Ragan began moving forward through the field. By lap 233 he was up to 13th and held that position until lap 271 when disaster struck for the No. 6 team.
Up in front of Ragan the No. 26 and No. 88 go together due to pit road confusion. The No. 88 decided to pit without the No. 26 knowing, which caused the No. 26 to get into the back of the No. 88. The contact sent Ragan’s teammate Jamie McMurray in the No. 26 spinning into the outside wall. As McMurray bounced off the wall he collided with Ragan who was trying to squeeze by. The impact caused Ragan’s right rear tire to come off. He limped his way around the track and down pit road for four tires and so the team could pull out the sheet metal damage. He pulled out of his pit stall and quickly realized there was more damage than they had thought. Ragan took the No. 6 AAA/Red Sox Ford to the garage where it was determined by his crew he would not be able to go on.
The rains came and shortened the race for the entire field. In the end it came down to fuel mileage and gambling on when the rains would come, but for Ragan he was left with a disappointing 40th-place finish.
“I just saw the 88 and 26 wrecking,” said Ragan. “I saw the 26 and thought he was gonna hit the wall and thought I could go between them. I probably slowed down a little too much. I’m really proud of our AAA Ford Fusion team. We had a pretty good car. We didn’t qualify good, so we were coming from the back and just made a lot of passes all day long and felt like we could get a top 10 depending on how this fuel and rain was gonna play out, but, ultimately, I’m very disappointing in loading up a little too early. “It’s a tough day in the points. We hate that you have to go out on a race like this, especially when you’re running well. We had one of the fastest cars on the track and passed a lot of cars all day long, but we were just in the wrong place at the right time there toward the end of the race. I saw the 26 and 88 separating and if I would have kept a little more speed, I could have gone through the middle before they closed the gap. It’s just very disappointing. I feel like I let down a lot of people today, but we had a good car.”
Coke Zero 400
2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway
Saturday, July 2, 2008
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.