AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 11, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion team shined bright on a night when some of NASCARS biggest stars were all in contention for a win in Friday nights Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. After qualifying in the 16th position, Ragan showed patients and poise throughout the race, working his way to the front of the pack and claiming a fifth-place finish. It was Ragan’s first top-five of the 2008 season.
Ragan rolled off the grid in the 16th position, but quickly made his presence felt, gaining four positions and threatening to crack the top 10 the first 30 laps of the race. The action was intense from the outset with the lead changing hands three times by lap 27. A debris caution slowed the action on lap 33. Ragan commented he was having trouble getting the front end to turn. Crew chief Mike Kelley called Ragan to the pits for major adjustment on lap 34. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew ripped off an amazing stop and got Ragan back on the track in less than 14 seconds. Ragan gained four spots upon exiting pit road and restarted in the 14th position on lap 38. The caution waved yet again a lap later for a two-car wreck.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 43. Ragan was able to get in a nice groove the next 30 laps, maneuvering through the field with the poise of a veteran, gaining four positions and securing the 10th position by lap 74. On lap 75 Ragan told Kelley his Ford Fusion needed to cut a little better in the front. Kelley radioed back to Ragan that his handling problems were not affecting his lap times and to be patient with the car. On lap 77 the No. 88 spun to bring out the fourth caution of the day. Kelley told Ragan to stay out on the track. The move gave Ragan great track position as he stayed in the 10th position on the restart on lap 82.
Ragan was able to get by the No. 38 driven by Jason Lefler almost immediately and settled in the ninth position for the next 20 laps. The caution flew for the fifth time in the race on lap 104. Ragan commented his car was extremely tight in race traffic. Ragan was called to the pits a lap later for fuel, four tires and an air pressure adjustment. On the restart on lap 109 Ragan was in the 10th position.
The next 58 laps were some of the best short track racing of the young season. Ragan gained four positions during the long green-flag run. On lap 134 Kelley told Ragan he was the fastest car on the track. On lap 175 Kelley told Ragan to go catch the top-five drivers. Ragan responded with another pass to claim the sixth position. A debris caution on lap 178 slowed the action. That brought the lead-lap cars to the pits for their final stops. Ragan took four tires and fuel. A sensational effort by the Discount Tire pit crew allowed Ragan to claim the fifth position upon exiting the pit stall.
Green flag racing resumed on lap 184, but the green-flag run ended before they could complete a lap when the No. 59 driven by Marcos Ambrose spun the No. 5 driven by Landon Cassill to bring out the seventh caution of the evening. The caution flew two more times, the last on lap 198 when the No. 29 driven by Jeff Burton hit the wall. That set up a green-white-checkered finish. Ragan put a lot of pressure on the No. 33 driven by Kevin Harvick for the fourth position, but at the end of the day a spectacular fifth place finish was the end result.
“I’ve got to give it to our Discount Tire team. They did a good job. We didn’t start off that great. It was a long 200 laps tonight, but a fun 200 laps. We passed a lot of cars, and, you know, if it had been a 300-lap race maybe we could’ve got up to a few more spots. But, for the most part, certainly a top-five is good, but we always want a little bit more. I’ve got to give it to my Discount Tire team. They did a great job tonight, and we’ll try to get ’em next week in Mexico.”
The fifth-place finish leaves Ragan fourth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action next Sunday, April 20th at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
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.