LAS VEGAS, NEV. (March 1, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team battled back from an unfortunate accident in Friday’s final practice to claim their second top-10 finish of the year in the Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For the second straight year the race turned into a wild shootout with only 14 cars finishing on the lead lap. In a war of attrition, it paid to be running at the end of the day. It was a workman-like effort for Ragan and the entire Discount Tire team.
Ragan and the No. 6 Discount Tire team started the race in the 27th position when the green flag dropped at 1:46 pm. Ragan was very aggressive from the outset of the race, gaining five positions the first 10 laps. The first caution of the day flew a lap later. Crew chief Mike Kelley told Ragan to stay out, a move that allowed Ragan to pick up valuable track position. But when the race went green two laps later the caution came out yet again for a two-car wreck on the front-stretch. Ragan was called to the pit stall for fuel and a fender adjustment on lap 14.
The race went green on lap 16, with Ragan in the 28th position. On lap 22, Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was a little free and bouncing around the track on the straight-aways. A debris caution flew on lap 23, halting the action for the third time of the day. Kelley told Ragan to stay out, improving track position yet again. On the restart on lap 28, Ragan was leading the race. By lap 40, Ragan was comfortably in the 10th position.
On lap 44, Ragan said his Ford Fusion was a little rough getting into the corners. The caution flew for the fifth time on the same lap. Ragan was ordered to the pits for major adjustments on lap 47. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and a spring rubber out of the right rear. Ragan exited the pit stall in the 14th position. The caution flew three more times the next 30 laps. There were nine lead changes the first 75 laps and 25 laps were run under caution.
On lap 89, Kelley told Ragan there was plenty of time to get back to the front. Ragan ran in the 17th position for the next 20 laps. It was evident Ragan and the Discount Tire team wanted to make sure they avoided the trouble that had victimized many drivers to this point in the race. On lap 102, the caution flew for a wreck in turn three. Ragan was ordered to the pit stall on lap 104 for another round of adjustments. Kelley called for fuel and four tires. The Discount Tire pit crew ripped off a blazing 13.8 second pit stop. Ragan gained seven positions upon exiting the pit stall, restarting in the 11th position on lap 118.
The pit stop reinvigorated Ragan as his Ford Fusion marched into the top 10. The caution flew again on lap 126, and once again Ragan was called to the pits for four tires and fuel. Another great effort by the pit crew enabled Ragan to stay in the top 15 when racing resumed on lap 129. The Discount Tire Ford Fusion came to life again and was among the fastest of the field for the rest of the race.
Ragan climbed to as high as seventh on lap 189. On lap 195, a three-car wreck involving the race leaders in turn one shook up the field and forced a green-white-checkered finish.
Ragan managed to hold on for a solid top-10 finish in a backup racecar.
The 10th place finish leaves Ragan fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action next Saturday, March 8th at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I am so proud of my Discount Tire crew,” said Ragan. “We battled all day and came away with a solid top-10 finish. It was wild race out there today. I am glad our racecar is in one piece. I thought we had a shot at a top-five finish at the end of the race, but we didn’t have the greatest handling those last three laps. Overall, it was a solid point’s day for the Discount Tire team.”
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.