David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion
CLERMONT, Ind. (July 26, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team performed admirably under the lights in the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park on Saturday night. Ragan, pulling double duty in both series, made it for the second practice and qualifying, shuttling from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup series race. Ragan started the race fourth but had an up and down run on a night when their Discount Tire Ford Fusion was one of the best cars in the field early, struggled late in the race, but rebounded with 15 laps to go to capture their 14th top-10 finish of the year.
Ragan was poised to make a move and challenge for the race lead early on. He started fourth but overtook the third spot by lap 31. By lap 46 Ragan commented he was tight getting into the corners and extremely tight under throttle. Ragan’s handling problems started to show on lap 79 when he dropped two positions over the next 11 laps. The caution flew on lap 99 for a two-car wreck. Crew chief Mike Kelley called Ragan to the pit stall on lap 101 for major adjustments. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Ragan restarted the race in the seventh position on lap 104.
When green-flag racing resumed Ragan held on to the seventh position for the next 28 laps. On lap 142 Ragan said his Discount Tire Ford Fusion was extremely tight. He lost five spots over the next 30 laps and it looked as if his string of top-10 finishes had come to an end. Ragan unexpectedly pitted on lap 170 under a late caution for last minute adjustments on the ill-handling Ford Fusion. Kelley called for four tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew got Ragan back on the track in 13.7 seconds. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 172 with Ragan in the 23rd position.
Ragan charged hard through the field gaining 12 spots in just 15 laps. By lap 194 Ragan was the fastest car on the track and running in the 10th position. On the final lap of the race, Ragan supplanted Steve Wallace for the ninth position. When the checkered flew Ragan had secured an improbable top-10 finish.
“At the beginning of the night we were just riding,” said Ragan. “The car was pretty comfortable and I got really tight on the long runs. We made an adjustment and it just wasn’t enough. We were going to try and make it on one stop, but we decided with 30 laps to go to pit and put four tires on and start all over again and it worked out. I wish we could have stopped a little bit earlier. We just kept on fighting. It could have been a lot better but we salvaged something. Hopefully, we’ll learn from it and move on.”
The ninth-place finish leaves Ragan fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action Saturday, August 2nd at Circuit Giles Villeneuve.
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. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645. www.RoushFenway.com.