David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion
BRISTOL, TENN. (March 15, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team battled mother-nature once again in Saturday’s Sharpie Mini 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. For the third time this season inclement weather forced NASCAR to cancel a practice and qualifying leading up to the race. The lineup was set by owner points from the 2007 season. On lap 164 the seventh caution of the day flew when light rain turned heavy. Ragan and the Discount Tire team, running eighth, stayed out during the caution, a gamble that paid major dividends moments later. NASCAR red-flagged the race and eventually called it after a 45 minute delay. The eighth-place finish is Ragan’s third top-10 of the season.
The fireworks started early in the Sharpie Mini 300. Ragan rolled off the starting grid in the 11th position behind the likes of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. Ragan’s Discount Tire Ford Fusion took off like a rocket, maneuvering through traffic and gaining valuable track position almost immediately. Ragan gained two spots in three laps and cracked the top-10 eight laps into the race. On lap 13 the No. 5 of Martin Truex Jr. spun on the backstretch, collecting the No. 32 of Kyle Busch. Ragan was able to miss the crash and settle into the eighth position when the caution waved moments later. The race went green on lap 21.
Ragan ran comfortably in the eighth position for the next 25 laps. A competition caution was set for lap 45. On lap 45 Ragan radioed to Crew chief Mike Kelley that there was a lot of wreck less driving going on from the cars a lap down. He also said his Ford Fusion was a little free. On lap 47 Kelley called Ragan to the pits for minor adjustments. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The Discount Tire pit crew ripped off a blazing pit stop. Ragan was able to gain three spots upon exiting the pit stall.
On the restart on lap 51 Ragan ran in the fifth position.
Ragan ran in the top five for the next 40 laps. The caution flew two times over that period for major wrecks in turn one and two. Ragan was able to avoid trouble and race his way to fourth place when the caution came out on lap 92. Ragan was called to the pit stall on lap 93 for four tires and fuel. The quick stop enabled Ragan to keep great track position and stay in the sixth position on the restart on lap 94.
During a 60 lap green-flag run, Ragan fought an ill-handling race car. Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was vibrating and bouncing all over the track. On lap 143 Kelley told Ragan to stay focused and hang on.
On lap 161 a steady down pour of rain ensued. The caution flew on lap 164. After seven more laps under caution the race was red-flagged. After a 45 minute delay NASCAR officials called the race and declared driver of the No. 2, Clint Bowyer the winner. Ragan finished in eighth-place
Ragan claimed his third top-10 finish of the season.
"We raced hard all day,” said Ragan. “We had a few close calls early, but all in all it was a good run. I wish we could have finished the race because our Discount Tire Ford Fusion was very fast. The car got a little loose there at the end, but I believe we had the right strategy to take care of that. I think we needed one more pit stop to make adjustments and it might have been us in victory lane. It's a top-10 finish and we'll take it going to Nashville."
Ragan will compete next at Nashville Superspeedway on March 22nd in the Pepsi 300. Ragan is currently fourth in Nationwide Series Championship standings.
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. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645. www.RoushFenway.com.