LOUDON, N.H. (June 28, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team put in a workman-like effort on Saturday in the Camping World RV Sales 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Ragan struggled during qualifying and rolled off the grid in the 22nd position. The Discount Tire team made a multitude of adjustments throughout the race and by the halfway point had one of the fastest cars in the field. Ragan cracked the top-10 by lap 54 and never looked back. He finished in the sixth position. It was Ragan’s 11th top 10 of the season.
Ragan was optimistic from the outset of the race that his Ford Fusion was good enough to contend for a win. Crew chief Mike Kelley reminded Ragan that he needed to be cautious starting in the middle of the field. Ragan drove the Discount Tire Ford Fusion conservatively the first 15 laps of the race, but by lap 30 he made his move to the front. Ragan settled into the 13th position and never looked back. The first caution of the night flew on lap 47 for a multi-car wreck. Kelley called Ragan to the pits on lap 49 for major adjustments. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. A stellar effort by the Discount Tire pit crew got Ragan back on the track in the ninth position.
On the restart on lap 54, Ragan maneuvered through the top 10, and for the next 50 laps ran in the eighth position. On lap 100 Ragan commented his Ford Fusion needed to cut a little better under throttle. Ragan’s minor handling problems did not seem to affect his performance. Ragan ran some of his fastest lap times of the race during the ladder part of the race. A debris caution on lap 127 slowed the action. Ragan told Kelley the car was still tight through the center but the handling problems were just about fixed. A critical pit stop loomed large for the Discount Tire team.
Upon entering the pit stall on lap 129, Kelley ordered two right side tires and fuel. Kelley’s strategy paid off. Ragan gained two positions upon exiting the pit stall. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 132 with Ragan in the sixth position. Ragan battled the likes of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards for position the last 60 laps of the race, before finishing the race in the sixth position.
“I knew we had a good car,” said Ragan. “I didn’t get a good lap in and just didn’t do the right adjustments for qualifying. We knew our car was pretty fast yesterday and track position is huge here. You see a lot of these guys just out front dominating like the 99 and the 2, but then they get back in the back and can’t do anything. I feel like our pit crew did a good job today and our Discount Tire Ford was fast, but it takes the whole package to win these things. We were close, it was a good day, but we’ve just got to keep getting better.”
The sixth-place finish leaves Ragan fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action next Friday, July 4th at Daytona.
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.