RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2008) – David Ragan had the top Ford in qualifying, but struggled to get the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion handling right throughout the race. Ragan struggled with a car that was tight in the middle and loose off the majority of the race. Contact with the No. 38 on lap 204 while trying to avoid a wreck caused Ragan to pit for multiple repairs and have to battle back to the lead lap.
The caution was displayed while Ragan was in the “lucky dog” position with nine laps remaining and if there’s less than 10 laps NASCAR won’t award the “lucky dog.” With the caution he needed being displayed so late in the race, Ragan held on and avoided the multiple late-race cautions to finish 17th while Clint Bowyer won the Crown Royal 400.
Ragan led the way in qualifying for not only Roush Fenway Racing, but Ford in general laying down a lap of just 21.57-seconds around the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway. The time was fast enough to set Ragan up 13th for the 400-lap event while Denny Hamlin claimed the pole position.
Right from the start Ragan’s handling woes were present. He quickly lost track position with a Ford that was tight in the middle of the turns and loose off. Ragan did the best he could with the handling until he had an opportunity to pit under caution on lap 65. Crew chief, Jimmy Fennig called Ragan down pit road for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. His team made the changes quickly, gaining three spots on pit road, which set Ragan up 21st for the green-flag restart on lap 71.
Ragan gained a few positions, but was still struggling with the handling of his Ford. It appeared Denny Hamlin had the car to beat as he started lapping cars and eventually made his way around to the No. 6 AAA Ford on lap 197. Shortly after going a lap down the caution was once again displayed, but this time Ragan didn’t quite get checked up enough and got into the back of the No. 38.
Fennig had Ragan pit for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and so the team could make sure the right-front fender was pulled away from the tire. The extra time spent on pit road to repair the damage put Ragan back in 36 for the restart on lap 210.
Over the course of the race Ragan worked to get his lap back and to repair the damage to the No. 6 AAA Ford. All of which almost proved successful until the multiple caution flags at the end. Ragan kept picking off competitors one-by-one to put himself in line for the lucky dog award, but when he was finally in position when the caution was displayed there were less than 10 laps left in the race so NASCAR would not award Ragan the lucky dog position. Ragan survived the multiple caution flags and ultimately finished 17th. The finish moved Ragan up to 14th in the overall point standings.
“It certainly could have been a lot worse, but it could have been a lot better,” said Ragan.. “We were just a little off at the beginning and we got that lap down, and then we got what we asked for running back there in the back. A guy spun in front and I thought I was slowed down, but I wasn’t slowed down quite enough and got into the back of the 38. That might have been a blessing because we might have been in that other big wreck if we would have still been running where we were supposed to have been, so, anyway, it was a long night but we kept working on it. We were pretty good there at the end, but we needed to have about 50 or 75 more laps and maybe we could have gotten a little better finish.”
Dodge Challenger 500
1.366-miles Darlington Raceway
Saturday, May 10, 2008
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 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; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.