DOVER, Del. (September 21, 2008) – The AAA Ford was solid through most of the weekend in Dover, but when it came time to race the handling went away. Ragan qualified 23rd and struggled with grip over most of the 400-lap event. Ragan managed to avoid getting caught up in any of the 10 cautions and over multiple pit stops for wedge and air pressure adjustments got the AAA Ford handling how he needed it to. Unfortunately the grip came to late in the race for him to make up much track position, leaving Ragan with an 18th-place finish while teammate Greg Biffle went on to win his second race in a row.
Throughout practice on Friday the team knew they had a pretty fast Ford, but struggled a little with the setup. A red flag during practice cost them valuable track time and they weren’t able to make more than one qualifying run to get the car tuned in. When it came time to qualify Ragan made his way around the 1.0-mile track fast enough to start 23rd for the race. The team used final practice on Saturday to continue tweaking on the AAA Ford and thought they would be pretty competitive.
From the drop of the green flag Ragan seemed to hover in the top 20 and was running 20th when the second caution came out just 12 laps into the race. With so few laps on his tires it was hard to say how his Ford was handling so crew chief Jimmy Fennig left Ragan out on the track to feel it out and see what they had. The decision gained Ragan spots on the track, leaving him restarting 18th on lap 17.
Ragan continued to stay between 15th and 20th over the next long run and was silent over the radio until the next caution came out on lap 64. Ragan reported to Fennig that the car was really tight through the center of the turn and off. Fennig called Ragan down pit road for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a wedge adjustment. His team made the multiple adjustments quickly and gained him four spots on pit road. Unfortunately this would be the first of many pit stops for wedge and air pressure adjustments to attempt to give Ragan more grip on the track.
Ragan kept avoiding caution after caution, but kept complaining to his team that he was lacking grip. Ragan continued to stay around 20th position throughout six more stops where Fennig threw all he had at the car to improve the handling. The final stop of the day came under caution on lap 353 where Ragan came in 21st and returned to the track 19th. From here he was on his own until the end. The AAA Ford had finally come around, but by this time Ragan was one lap down to the leaders and had to settle for an 18th-place finish.
“Certainly it was a long day for us,” said Ragan. “Our AAA Ford just wasn’t handling as well as we needed it to. We worked on the car every stop and made it better and finally got it better there at the end. It was an okay day in the points for us, but I wish we had a chance to race up front. We’ll regroup and go to Kansas next weekend and get a better finish.”
Camping World 400
1.5-mile Kansas Speedway
Kansas City, Kan.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
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.