CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2008) – David Ragan survived the 600-mile marathon that makes up the Coca-Cola 600 to finish 12th, while Kasey Kahne took the checkered flag. Lowe’s Motor Speedway is a place where track position is everything and Ragan just wasn’t where he needed to be at then end. The No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion was fast in the practice sessions for the race, qualified fifth and ran in the top 10 the majority of 400-laps and even made up ground at the end, but it wasn’t enough to earn the finish they deserved.
David Ragan and his teammate Greg Biffle were at the top of the speed charts in practice and continued that trend in qualifying. Biffle qualified fourth with Ragan starting right behind him in fifth. With 600-miles ahead of him Ragan settled in for the “marathon” and consistently turned solid lap times while avoiding any on-track incidents.
Ragan held his own in the top 10 for the first 50 laps and continued the same effort during his green flag pit stop on lap 53. The No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion was handling well so Ragan requested no changes. His team obliged, giving him only four tires and fuel. Ragan returned to the track and cycled back to eighth by the time the first caution came out on lap 62. Under caution crew chief Jimmy Fennig called Ragan down pit road for fuel only and returned to that track seventh for the restart on lap 67.
The second caution came out on lap 161 and Ragan’s Ford needed to be tightened up a little bit. Ragan came down pit road in fifth for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, but had to come back down pit road under the same caution to make sure the left-rear lugnuts were tight. The extra trip down pit road cost Ragan valuable track position leaving him starting 14th for the restart on lap 167.
Ragan was relegated to the back, but would soon make a come back. He pitted under caution on lap 186 while running 17th for four tires and fuel. His team turned out a fast stop setting him up 12th for the restart on lap 192. Ragan was back in the top 10 by lap 205 and up to sixth eight laps later.
“I hope we’ve got some tires like this for the last run,” said Ragan. “The car is really good right now.”
With the motivational words from their driver the team cranked out another fast stop, gaining Ragan another spot on pit road during their next pit stop. By lap 325 Ragan was running third and was turning out solid lap times. Ragan pitted on lap 331 and took four tires and fuel. A few other competitors took two tires or fuel only which restarted Ragan in 10th and having to deal with lap down traffic.
In the closing laps Ragan came down pit road for a splash of fuel to make it to the end. Others did the same, but a few gambled and stayed out. The mix of strategies resulted in a 12th-place finish for Ragan.
“We had such a good car that it’s kind of a disappointing finish,” said Ragan. “It’s not a bad finish, but our car was much better than that. Track position is everything and we just got behind there at towards the end and couldn’t get back up to the front.”
Best Buy 400
1.0-mile Dover International Speedway
Sunday, June 1, 2008
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 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; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.