MEMPHIS, Tenn. (October 25, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team had a solid run in the Kroger 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park on Saturday afternoon. Ragan, pulling double duty in both series, did not make it for practice or qualifying, because of the logistics of shuttling from Atlanta Motor Speedway; site of Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup series race. Ragan had to start in the rear of the field, but managed to work his way through to claim a solid eighth-place finish. It was Ragan’s 20th top-10 of the season.
Ragan was determined to make his way to the front from the outset of the race. He gained 10 positions in the first 20 laps of the race. On lap 22, crew chief Mike Kelley told Ragan he was the fastest car on the track. The Discount Tire Ford Fusion effortlessly moved through the pack and it appeared that he was the class of the field. A caution on lap 27 slowed Ragan’s momentum. After electing to stay on the track, Ragan continued to charge through the field.
When green-flag racing resumed, Ragan was in the 13th position. On lap 41, Ragan cracked the top 10, and for many laps it seemed he was going to stay there for the remainder of the race. On lap 76, Ragan commented his Ford Fusion needed more rear grip. He also said the car didn’t role through the center. Ragan’s handling problems were evident when he dropped two spots the next 20 laps. Ragan managed to hold on to the 12th position during a 82-lap green-flag run. During the run, Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards began to pull away from the field. Ragan tried to keep up on old tires, but had to make a pit stop under a green-flag on lap 109. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew had a great effort on pit road, getting Ragan back on the track in under 13 seconds. Ragan was two laps down when the caution flew for the third time on lap 127. Kelley called Ragan to the pit stall on the same lap for major adjustments. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel, track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. Ragan secured the 15th position when green-flag racing resumed on lap 137.
For the next 50 laps, Ragan remained poised and began to pick off cars in the top 10. On lap 202, Ragan moved into the 10th position. Ragan was able to take advantage of his fellow competitors’ mishaps and by lap 210, he ran in the eighth position. Ragan was set to take over the seventh position, but a caution with three laps remaining in the race slowed his momentum. At the end of the day, Ragan and the Discount Tire team brought home an impressive top-10 finish.
“Our Discount Tire Ford Fusion had good speed,” said Ragan. It was just a matter of fine-tuning it a little bit. Track conditions and the number of cars on the track changed things early in the race. Our Ford Fusion was fast. We did what everybody else did on the second caution and got caught two laps down, and had our hands tied the rest of the day. We had a car that could have won, if we were in the right position. For the most part, it was a good day for the Discount Tire team.”
The eighth-place finish leaves Ragan fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action Saturday, November 1 at Texas Motor 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.