SPARTA, Ky. (June 14, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team was steady under the lights in the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night. The Discount Tire team had another solid run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series on a night when Kentucky Speedway produced another first-time winner and the eighth different race winner in as many races. Ragan qualified 26th and slowly made his way to the front for the remainder of the evening, picking up an seventh-place finish. It was Ragan’s ninth top-10 finish of the season.
Ragan, pulling double duty for the second straight weekend, did not have a chance to practice the Discount Tire Ford Fusion due to obligations with the NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan. Ragan struggled in qualifying but the team was optimistic about their car when the green-flag flew.
The race started very slowly, when a debris caution flew on the very first lap. Ragan spent the early part of the race trying to survive in the back of the pack. It was clear from the start that Ragan had a fast car, but his patience was tested early while trying to work his way through traffic. Ragan was able to gain 12 positions the first 35 laps of the race even though he had minor handling problems. On lap 21 Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was tight through the corner and bouncing really bad in turns three and four. On lap 57 crew chief Mike Kelley ordered Ragan to the pits for their first pit stop under a green-flag. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment in the right rear. The adjustments seemed to pay off and Ragan was able to move into the 13th position by lap 75.
The caution flew for the third time of the evening on lap 80. On lap 81 Kelley ordered Ragan to the pits again for fuel and four tires. The Discount Tire pit crew had an amazing stop, getting Ragan back on the track in just 13.9 seconds. On the restart on lap 84 Ragan was in the eighth position. He was becoming a major factor in the race after cracking the top 10. On lap 114 Ragan was the fastest car on the track. He gained four positions the next 30 laps and settled into the fifth position by lap 156. On lap 157 Kelley told Ragan he was the fastest car on the track again. Ragan was furiously gaining on the race leaders when the caution flew on lap 164 when Kyle Busch lost control of his Toyota on the backstretch, spinning and slamming the outside wall.
On lap 165 Ragan was called to the pit stall for a two tire stop. Ragan lost a few positions when the race leaders did not pit, but was confident he could get through lap traffic on fresh tires and contend for a top-five finish or a win. Ragan was able to get back to the seventh position by lap 175, but he was having trouble making passes the last 20 laps of the race. When the checkered-flag flew Ragan settled for an seventh-place finish. It was a solid points day for the Discount Tire team.
“Yeah, we had a third place car tonight. The 18 and the 20 were definitely the class of the field. We just couldn’t pass. The car was about as perfect as it could be back in traffic. I took a third place car and finished seventh. I’m disappointed. It could have been a lot better. But we still gotta keep working, man. We’ve got to work to where we can outrun those Gibbs cars. On a perfect night to finish seventh, that’s not good enough.”
The seventh-place finish leaves Ragan seventh in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action next Saturday, June 21st at The Milwaukee Mile.
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.