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February 16, 2008 10:26 AM

Ragan Finishes Strong in Season Opener at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 16, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team had a hard fought top-10 finish in the season opening race at Daytona International Speedway. After an average qualifying effort, Ragan and the young team rebounded to finish ninth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 300 on Saturday afternoon.

Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team wanted to start the season with a bang in the Camping World 300. Ragan was instructed by crew chief Mike Kelley to hang back early and let the race come to him. It was clear that Ragan was doing just that, running in the 23rd position the first 20 laps. On lap 13, Ragan said his Ford Fusion was free on entry into the corners and tight on exit. The handling problems did not affect his performance. Ragan had moved into the 19th position by lap 35.

Ragan and the team made their first pit stop under a green-flag on lap 39. Crew chief Mike Kelley ordered four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Ragan exited the pit stall in the 18th position.

The race was caution-free until lap 55, when a three-car wreck in turn two slowed the action. Ragan was called to the pits on lap 56 for minor adjustments. Kelley ordered four tires and fuel. A great effort by the pit crew allowed Ragan to gain two spots upon exiting the pit stall. The great pit stop seemed to ignite Ragan and the Discount Tire team. Ragan managed to weave his way through traffic and use the draft wisely to secure the 13th position by lap 63.

During a 15 lap green-flag run, Ragan fought an ill-handling race car. Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was tight into the center. A much needed caution flew on lap 78. On lap 79, Ragan was ordered to the pits for adjustments. Kelley called for fuel, four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Ragan exited the pit stall in the 15th position.

Green-flag racing resumed on lap 81. Ragan gained five positions over the next 10 laps and was in the top 10 when an untimely caution flew on lap 96. Kelley called Ragan to the pits on lap 96 for the final time of the race. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment.

When green-flag racing resumed on lap 107, Ragan was in the 15th position
The last 13 laps of the race were some of the most exciting laps in Ragan’s career. On lap111, Ragan tried to maneuver to the bottom of the track, out of the draft and nobody went with him. This move cost him five spots, and a caution flew one lap later. The race went green on lap 114 and Ragan still fuming from his gaffe made his move. He fought through traffic with aggressive and daring moves. By lap 119 he was in tenth, and when the checkered flag waved he had a ninth-place finish.

Ragan claimed his 10th top-10 finish of his Nationwide Series career.

"Everybody there at the end is trying to pick-up that extra spot. We drove 99% conservative the whole time from the first lap to 120. Everyone is racing hard and everyone still wants to take care of their race car. They get excited and I think I'm right there with them. You're pushing and beatin' and bangin' and taking your car to the limit. That's what it's all about. We put on a good show for the fans and I wish I could have had a little better track position and contention for the win. It's a top-10 finish and we'll take it going to California."

About Roush Fenway Racing

Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; seven in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Braun, Darnell and Joey Clanton; and one in the ARCA/REMAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

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