HAMPTON, Ga. (March 9, 2008) - David Ragan headed home to Atlanta Motor Speedway and wanted to earn a top-10 finish in front of his hometown crowd, but things didn’t work out as planned. Ragan struggled with the handling on his No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion throughout the weekend, while the team worked diligently trying to make improvements. Thanks to great pit stops and careful driving by Ragan he was able to leave Atlanta with his car in one piece and earn a 23rd-place finish.
Mother Nature definitely tested everyone this weekend, from crew members to race fans. Friday was NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying and the Craftsman Truck Series race, both of which were threatened by rain. Sprinkles came during qualifying, but Ragan was able to complete his two laps and lay down a time quick enough to start 14th. From there his battle began.
Ragan quickly lost track position from the drop of the green flag due to a lack of grip. His first opportunity to pit came under caution on lap 38 with Ragan running 21st. His over-the-wall team gave him four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment all while gaining four spots on pit road. His team’s fast work on pit road set Ragan up 17th for the green-flag restart on lap 42, but from there the struggle continued.
Once again the car kept getting freer and was lacking the grip that Ragan desperately needed. By lap 77 he was back in the 21st-position and being scored one lap down to the leaders. His next opportunity to pit for changes came under caution on lap 86. This time around he got four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. His team once again gained spots for him on pit road, but the lack of grip kept Ragan from gaining spots on the track.
Multiple efforts to correct the handling kept Ragan hovering around 23rd for most of the race. His team kept making air pressure and track bar adjustments and eventually got the No. 6 AAA Ford handling better, but still not where it needed to be. Ragan ultimately finished 23rd, two laps down to race winner Kyle Busch.
“It really hurt us getting down a lap early on,” said Ragan. “We got it decent there about the midway part of the race, but, for the most part, it was just a struggle. We tried everything with our AAA Ford. One bright point of the day is that we didn’t put a scratch on it and the pit crew did an awesome job. It was just a real long day. We fought no grip. I was real free all day, but to salvage a top 25, we didn’t lose a lot of points. We didn’t gain a lot, so it was just kind of a cross off race. I’m just looking forward to Bristol next week.”
Food City 500
0.533-miles Bristol Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 16, 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.