LEBANON, Tenn. (June 7, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion team looked very strong going into the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday. Ragan flew to Nashville to compete in Saturday’s race after taking part in NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Ragan started the race in the 21st position and quickly made a move to the front. Ragan was able to crack the top 10 on lap 93 and ultimately finish the race with an amazing fifth-place finish.
It was a hot day at Nashville Superspeedway. The temperature at the start of the race was 96 degrees. The Discount Tire team was confident Ragan’s experience on the track and its set-up could make for a great run, and a possible breakthrough victory for the team.
Ragan got out to slow start when the checkered flag fell. Ragan said his Ford Fusion was good but he couldn’t make any passes early. Crew chief Mike Kelley told Ragan to be patient and to not press the issue early on. Ragan responded by slowly picking off cars, and by lap 40 he had gained seven positions and settled into the 14th position. On lap 48 Ragan commented the Ford Fusion needed to cut a little better. Ragan continued to put pressure on the competitors in the top 10, running 12th by lap 55. On lap 60 the Discount Tire team made their first pit stop under a green-flag. Kelley called for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. Ragan exited the pit stall in the 14th position.
The caution flew 17 laps later for a multi-car wreck. Ragan was called to the pit stall on lap 79 for more adjustments. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew ripped off a solid stop that put Ragan back on the track in the 13th position on the restart on lap 82.
The adjustments were exactly what Ragan needed. By lap 93 he had cracked the top 10 and was threatening to crack the top five. The fifth caution of the night flew on lap 104. Kelley decided to call Ragan to the pits for the third time for fuel and another track bar adjustment. The pit strategy paid off in a big way. Ragan was able to gain valuable track position and restart the race in the sixth position. Ragan never looked back from there.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 109 and the Discount Tire Ford Fusion was a rocket the rest of the evening. Ragan managed to overtake the No. 47 for the fifth spot on lap 153 and challenge the eventual race winner Brad Keselowski for the fourth spot on lap 182. Ragan posted some of the fastest times of the evening the last 30 laps and was able to secure a fifth-place finish when the checkered waved. It was Ragan’s third top-five finish of the season
“It was definitely a great points day for us,” said Ragan. “I feel like we were maybe one adjustment away from a win. Our Discount Tire Ford Fusion was fast all night and I knew if we got in the top five we were going to stay there. I want a win so bad I can taste it. The No. 88 was great tonight and my hat goes off to that team. Our time is coming very soon.”
The fifth-place finish leaves Ragan seventh in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action next Saturday, June 14th at Kentucky Speedway.
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.