DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 14, 2009) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team had a hard fought top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday afternoon. After stellar practice sessions throughout the week and a top 10 qualifying effort on Friday afternoon, Ragan kept his Ford Fusion up front the majority of the race and brought home his 31st career top-10 finish in the Nationwide Series.
The field was stacked with NASCAR Cup Series superstars like Tony Stewart, Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch, each one trying to be the first in victory lane in the Nationwide Series in 2009. The Camping World 300 turned out to be a wild shootout from the beginning of the race. The lead changed hands seven times the first 50 laps of the race. Ragan was steady from the outset, running in the ninth position the first 25 laps of the race. Ragan did not move around the running order in typical Daytona fashion early on, showing the patience of a veteran driver.
Ragan’s reluctance to mix it up early on may have been attributed to a slightly ill-handling race car. On lap 16, Ragan commented his car was free all the way through the corners. On lap 26, Ragan said it felt like he was killing the right rear tire on entry into the corners. Despite the handling problems, Ragan stayed in the top 10 until a debris caution halted the action on lap 27. Crew chief Mike Kelley ordered Ragan to the pits for major adjustments on lap 28. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. A mishap on pit road cost Ragan a few spots in the running order. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 31 with Ragan in the 14th position.
For the next 30 laps Ragan fought his way back to the top 10, weaving his way through traffic and using the draft wisely. The second caution of the day flew on lap 56. On lap 57, Kelley called Ragan to the pits again for four tires, fuel, a wedge and a track bar adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew ripped off a stellar 13 second pit stop. Ragan gained three positions upon exiting the pit stall. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 60, Ragan was in the seventh position.
Ragan showed controlled aggression in making his move to the front during the next 20 laps. Ragan was in the fourth position by lap 69 and by lap 70 he was getting closer to the lead pack of Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart.
The caution flew for the fourth time on lap 72 for a four-car wreck in turn three. Ragan was called to the pits yet again for four tires, fuel and slight air pressure adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew had another solid pit stop and Ragan exited the pit stall in the third position. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 77.
Ragan moved around the running order for the next 40 laps, running as high as third and as low as 13th. On lap 100, Ragan made his move to the front with a convoy of drivers. Ragan was in the 10th position when he was hung up in the middle of the race track with no drafting help. Ragan fell to the 13th position and spent the next 20 laps trying to get back in the lead pack. When the dust settled, Ragan was able to climb back in the top 10 by lap 113, and secure an eighth-place finish.
“We had a solid race car today”, said Ragan. “We probably had a top-10 car and we finished eighth. I think there were a few cars that were stronger than us, but we just made good decisions and were smart on the race track. I think the decision to take four tires at the end and picking the right lane to drive was the key. We easily could've been 15th or 18th. So, to finish ninth says a lot about how good this team is."
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.