MADISON, ILL. (July 19, 2008) –David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team had another solid run in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday night. Ragan qualified 10th and ran in the top-10 for most of the race. He overcame major handling problems halfway through the race to claim a 10th-place finish. It was Ragan’s 13th top-10 finish of the season and helped Ragan move into fifth place in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings.
Ragan and the Discount Tire team started the race in the 10th position but quickly moved into the eighth position by lap 15. On lap 19 Ragan commented his Ford Fusion needed more rear grip. He also said the front end needed to cut a little better. A much needed competition caution flew on the same lap for a partial failure of lighting in turn one and two. Crew chief Mike Kelley called Ragan to the pit stall for major adjustments on lap 22. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew had a blazing 13.8 second stop, but many other teams opted to take two tires instead of four, putting the Discount Tire team behind slower cars on the restart on lap 25.
When green-flag racing resumed Ragan overtook the ninth spot within a few laps. He was able to maintain this position for the next 25 laps despite an ill-handling racecar. On lap 44 Ragan said the car was bouncing really bad and the front end would not turn. The second caution of the evening flew on lap 62 for a wreck in turn one. Ragan was called to the pits two laps later for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a spring rubber taken out of the left rear. The many adjustments cost Ragan valuable time getting out of the pit stall. Ragan was 12th on the restart on lap 71.
Ragan managed to stay in the top-10 for the next 75 laps despite the cars handling woes. A pile-up several moments after a restart on lap 116 wiped out a handful of strong cars and stopped the race for nearly 25 minutes. Ragan managed to avoid much of the wreck, but did have some fender damage that caused little concern. Ragan managed to get as high as ninth before running out of green-flag laps.
Overall, it was a solid points night for Ragan and the Discount Tire team. The finished was not what they were looking for, but the patience and consistency shown thus far in the season has been a breath of fresh air for the team.
“Our car was pretty good in practice, but very inconsistent during the race,” said Ragan. “We would have liked to been up there battling my teammate Carl Edwards for the win, but I will take this hard fought top10. It’s definitely frustrating when you have a good car that for whatever reason doesn’t respond to the changing race conditions. We worked on a lot of things during our pit stops. I feel like we were always one adjustment a way from getting it right. At the end of the day we were a little off, but we’ll take it and move on to next week.”
The 10th-place finish leaves Ragan fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action next Saturday, July 26th at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.
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.