CONCORD, N.C.(October 11, 2008) – Ragan had a fast AAA Ford in Saturday night’s race under the lights at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but had to spend the second part of the race battling back from lost track position. Ragan started the event 13th, due to qualifying getting rained out, and was running in the top five halfway through the race when he was told by NASCAR he was to fast entering pit road. Ragan had to serve a drive through penalty which put him a lap down to the field. Ragan made up the lost track position by the end of the 334-lap event to earn a tenth-place finish while Jeff Burton took the checkered flag.
Mother Nature seems to like to show up with precipitation when it comes time to Sprint Cup qualifying and this weekend at Lowe’s was no different. Practice and qualifying on Thursday was rained out, leaving NASCAR to set the starting grid on points and Ragan starting 13th.
From the drop of the green flag Ragan proved he had a fast AAA Ford despite a tight handling condition that developed over the opening laps. Ragan had advanced to 11th when the first caution of the day was displayed on lap 44. Crew chief Jimmy Fennig called Ragan down pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment in an attempt to correct the handling.
The changes seemed to help the handling and Ragan worked his way up to ninth by the time his next opportunity to pit came under caution on lap 104. Ragan wanted “more of the same” adjustments from the first stop, so Fennig and crew gave him what he needed. Ragan restarted the race seventh and quickly worked his way up to the top five.
Later in the race after a two tire stop the car returned to the tight side. Ragan didn’t want to make any changes; instead he wanted to see how it reacted to four tires at once instead of two. Ragan cycled through his green flag stop on lap 144 for four tires and fuel when NASCAR reported to the team he was to fast entering pit road. The excessive speed resulted in a drive through penalty for Ragan and put him one lap down to the leaders.
Two cautions later Ragan had gotten himself in position to be the “lucky dog” and was back on the lead lap, but was scored in the 20th position. Ragan began an uphill battle with a tight handling Ford to make up lost track position. He accomplished just that and earned a 10th-place finish at Charlotte, his 12th top-10 finish of the season.
“It was a good night in that we’ve got a car in one piece and we had a decent finish,” said Ragan. “But it’s disappointing in another sense where we had a top four or five car and we finished 10th with it, it’s good and bad. We’ll learn from it. I made a mistake getting on pit road under green that cost us, but we were fortunate that it was early enough in the race that we were able to bounce back. We had a car fast enough to get the lucky dog and we had a car with good speed. We’ve just got to take care of the details.”
TUMS QuickPak 500
0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway
Sunday, October 19, 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.