CONCORD, N.C. (October 10, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team had a solid run in Friday night’s rain-interrupted Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Ragan qualified 12th and ran in the top 10 most of the night before finishing with a 12th-place finish.
Ragan and the Discount Tire team were excited about their chances on Friday night. The team was among the fastest in both practices and had a quiet confidence going into the race. Crew chief Mike Kelley knew their Ford Fusion was fast and he knew it could be a special night for the Discount Tire team. The race was halted as quickly as it started when, on lap six, a rain shower passed through the area. After a 30-minute delay, the race resumed. Ragan looked good early in the race, cracking the top 10 in the first 15 laps. On lap 20, he commented his Ford Fusion was a little free on entry into the middle, but it wasn’t a major problem. The caution flew on lap 48 for a two-car wreck. Kelley ordered Ragan to the pit stall on lap 50 for minor adjustments. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew had an amazing stop. Ragan gained four positions upon exiting the pit stall. When green-flag racing resumed, Ragan was in the ninth position.
On lap 55, the Discount Tire Ford Fusion took off. Ragan gained three positions the next 20 laps and settled into the sixth position. On lap 73, Ragan commented his Ford Fusion had really good balance. The outlook was good for the Discount Tire team, but on lap 80 another rain shower drenched the track and NASCAR red-flagged the race for an hour. When the caution came back out, Ragan was called to the pit stall on lap 86. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and another slight air pressure adjustment. Ragan exited the pit stall in the ninth position. Some teams chose to take two tires instead of four. Kelley’s pit strategy appeared to pay off. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 90, Ragan moved up the running order quickly, despite three more cautions over 20 laps. Ragan patiently picked his way through the field and settled into the fifth position by lap 109. On lap 113, Ragan was in the fourth position and threatening to take over the third spot from Brian Vickers, but the caution flew on lap 117 when
Joey Logano made contact with the wall. Ragan made his third pit stop of the evening on lap 118. Kelley ordered four tires and fuel. Ragan exited the pit stall in the 11th position.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 121. Ragan continued his march to the front, gaining three positions in just three laps, but the race was halted yet again on lap 125 for a wreck down the back-stretch. On lap 132, Ragan was called to the pit stall again for fuel only. The Discount Tire team felt this strategy could work to their advantage down the stretch. The race was restarted on lap 134, but there seemed to be a problem with the Discount Tire Ford Fusion’s handling. Ragan fell back a few positions early in the run and by lap 157 he was in the 14th position. On lap 167, Ragan commented he was free all the way through the corner. He also commented he needed more rear grip.
Ragan was able to gain control of his Ford Fusion by lap 175, but it was too late to make a run to the front of the pack. Ragan was able to pass a lot of fast cars en route to a 12th-place finish.
“We had a great run early, but we just got way too loose to make anything happen late in the race,” said Ragan. “The Discount Tire team fought hard tonight. We had great pit stops and a good strategy down the stretch. Our handling problems came at a horrible time and we were unable to recover from them late in the race. It was a solid effort for our team.”
The 12th-place finish leaves Ragan fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action Saturday, October 25 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
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.