FORT WORTH, Texas (April 4, 2009) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team regained their form this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The team had struggled in recent weeks, but bounced back with a great run in the Nationwide Series O’Reilly 300 on Saturday afternoon. Ragan rolled off the starting grid in the fourth position and stayed in the top 10 for much of the race, securing a brilliant fourth-place finish.
It was a beautiful day at Texas Motor Speedway. The temperature at the start of the race was 72 degrees. The Discount Tire team was anxious to get back on the track and show what they could do after lackluster performances in recent weeks. The team had great practice sessions on Thursday and crew chief Mike Kelley thought the Discount Tire Ford Fusion would be in the hunt from the start of the race. Ragan was instructed by Kelley to stay aggressive early and try to stay in the lead pack. Ragan ran in the fourth position the first 50 laps.
On lap 30, Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was a little tight late exit, but Ragan continued to wheel his Ford Fusion in the top five. Ragan made his first pit stop under a green-flag on lap 56. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. After cycling through green-flag pit stops Ragan was scored in the third position. Ragan challenged Jeff Burton for the second position, but a debris caution slowed his momentum. Kelley called Ragan back to the pits on lap 67 for four tires and fuel, but a mistake on pit road put Ragan in the sixth position on the restart on lap 71.
During a 45 lap green-flag run, Ragan began to put pressure on the top five. The Discount Tire Ford Fusion was clearly one of the fastest cars on the race track, but everybody was chasing race leader Kyle Busch. Ragan continued to run in the sixth position until severe handling problems killed his momentum. On lap 112, Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was extremely loose. The caution flew seven laps later for debris on the back-stretch. Kelley ordered Ragan to the pit stall on lap 121 for major adjustments. Another average pit stop put Ragan behind the eight-ball. Ragan restarted the race in the ninth position. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 124.
Ragan fell to the 10th position during another long green-flag run, battling through lap cars and a lack of clean air. Ragan decided to take matters into his own hands during a 25 lap stretch when he passed Jason Leffler and David Reutimann to move into the seventh position. The fourth and final caution of the race flew on lap 188, after rookie John Wes Townley smacked the turn four wall. Kelley called Ragan to the pit stall on lap 189 for four tires and fuel. It was a gutsy call by the veteran crew chief because they gave up valuable track position with just 11 laps left in the race. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 192 with Ragan in the seventh position. Ragan put on a dazzling display of skill the last eight laps of the race. He was the fastest car on the track the last run and finally took the checkered-flag in fourth-place. Ragan’s second top-five finish of the season.
"This was a nice run for us,” said Ragan. “You always want to run a little better than you did, but what a great rebound from a few weeks ago. I think we made the right call to come in on the last caution. It was a good run for everyone, but we are still in search of that first win.”
Ragan and the team will return to action next Saturday, April 11th at Nashville Superspeedway.
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. 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.