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March 1, 2009 4:23 PM

Nationwide: Ragan Suffers Heartbreak at Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NEV. (February 28, 2009) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team struggled through an early race incident and an ill-handling race car, but managed to bounce back and take the lead on lap 169, before an unfortunate accident took the team out of contention in the Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For the third straight year the race turned into a wild shootout with only 10 cars finishing on the lead lap. In a war of attrition, it paid to just be running at the end of the day. The Discount Tire team was not that fortunate, finishing in the 26th position.

Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team rolled off the starting grid in the 12th position. Ragan got off to a fast start, passing cars effortlessly going into turn one.  Ragan was in the top five by lap 13, threatening the race leaders. The race was slowed with four cautions the first 27 laps of the race. One accident brought out the red-flag on lap 24 when the No. 18 and No. 99 got tangled up in turn four. Ragan was caught up in the aftermath of the wreck, loosing control of his Ford Fusion and spinning through the grass.  Ragan suffered damage to the front valance of his Ford Fusion.  This was a major problem because Ragan was not able to turn his machine through the corners like he wanted.  Crew chief Mike Kelley ordered Ragan to the pit stall after the red-flag was lifted for major repairs.  The Discount Tire team took a pit-road closed penalty to fix the damage and get four fresh tires and fuel.  When green-flag racing resumed Ragan was scored in the 23rd position.

Ragan picked his way through the field methodically, gaining valuable track position each lap. By lap 66, Ragan gained 10 positions, despite fighting an ill-handling race car.  Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was loosing rear grip and needed to rotate a little better.  The caution flew on lap 67 and Kelley decided to take another pit-road penalty to bring Ragan to the pit stall.  Kelley called for four tires, fuel and more work on the valance.  Ragan restarted the race in the 16th position.

By lap 80, Ragan was threatening to crack the top 10 despite lingering handling problems.  After three more cautions and another red-flag, Ragan was shown in the 11th position with the race nearing the halfway point.  During the caution period on lap 99, Kelley told Ragan to stay on the race track while the race leaders chose to pit.  When green-flag racing resumed Ragan was in the third position. 

Ragan and the Discount Tire team settled into the third position during an unexpected long green-flag run.  Radio communication was silent as Ragan inched closer and closer to race leader and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle.  A scheduled green-flag pit stop loomed large for the Discount tire team.  Ragan was ordered to pit road on lap 160 four for fresh tires and fuel.  After cycling through, Ragan was shown as the race leader.  The excitement was short-lived. On lap 169, Ragan tried to move up the race track to pass a lap car, but lost control and slammed into the wall. Ragan finished in 26th-place.

Ragan and the team will return to action Saturday, March 21st at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"I am very disappointed in our finish,” said Ragan. “We battled all day and have nothing to show for it.   It was wild race out there today and our Discount Tire crew deserves better than that.  We had a shot at this one and I let it slip away.  This one will be tough to get over.”

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.

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