WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 10, 2008) – Watkins Glen proved to be challenging for Ragan, but with a little help from his crew he was able to keep his AAA Ford in one piece and remain in chase contention. Ragan headed to Watkins Glen with little road course experience under his belt, but he forged ahead and seemed to be getting a hang for the course. Unfortunately in final practice he took an unplanned trip off track into a tire barrier, resulting in the team having to pull out the back up car. Qualifying was rained out on Friday starting the field by points, but using the back up car put Ragan at the tail end of the field for the green flag. Being in the back was where Ragan would spend the majority of his day, but he kept his AAA Ford on the track the entire 90-laps to earn a 30th-place finish.
With not a lot of road course experience under his belt David Ragan headed up to Watkins Glen early with fellow Ford Racing teammate Travis Kvapil to make a few extra laps around the track. They rented a local late model and logged some laps and the extra track time paid off during practice on Saturday. Ragan was starting to get a feel for the 2.45-mile road course and had everything dialed in where he wanted it until a misjudgment in final practice set him back to the beginning.
Towards the end of final practice Ragan took an unexpected trip off the track into a tire barrier. He had been loose in that location all day, but this time he couldn’t hold on to it. He radioed to crew chief Jimmy Fennig that they were going to need the back up. With time dwindling down in final practice the crew made record time getting the back up car down and back on the track for the last 10 minutes of final practice.
Qualifying on Friday was rained out which left NASCAR to set the field on points. Starting 14th would have benefited Ragan at a track where position is everything, but since he had to use the back up car he had to forgo the 14th-place starting position and start at the back of the field instead.
Right from the start of the race Ragan was focused on keeping his AAA Ford on track and making solid laps around the course. He did just that and advanced a few spots while stilling running towards the back of the pack. Watkins Glen is generally a two-stop race, but when you’re in the back with nothing to lose you tend to gamble more than others. Fennig called Ragan down pit road multiple times for four tires, fuel and slight air pressure adjustments to give Ragan more grip.
Under caution on lap 79 Ragan pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. A crew member jumped out onto pit road earlier than the NASCAR mandated one pit stall prior to pitting, resulting in a tail-end of the longest line penalty for Ragan. Being in the back already made the blow of the penalty not so hard on the team, the flat left rear that ensued on the restart was the icing on the cake. Ragan quickly came back down pit road for left-side tires and rejoined the race just in time to avoid the massive wreck involving nine fellow competitors.
The wreck caused NASCAR to throw the red flag so they could clear the track. The clearing process took 43 minutes and set the field up for a five-lap shootout until the end. Ragan did the best he could to bounce back from the penalty and the flat tire and ultimately finished 30th. The finish was enough to keep Ragan 14th in the point standing, but widened the margin to 12th. Ragan now sits 89 points out of 12th.
“That was a long day,” said Ragan. “We didn’t have the speed we needed to be aggressive on the track and we had a flat tire with a couple of restarts to go which cost us some track positions. I’ve just go to work on the road course tracks so we can be a top 10 car. We were no where we needed to be, but we didn’t loose that many points and I stayed on the track all day which was one of my goals. We have a couple of good tracks coming up so hopefully we can make up some points.”
3M Performance 400
2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, August 17, 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.