DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 10, 2008) – This weekend NASCAR headed to Darlington Raceway, dubbed as “The Lady in Black,” for a 367-lap Saturday night race under the lights. Darlington lives up to its nickname leaving multiple “Darlington stripes” on the side of almost the entire field. David Ragan was no exception, earning a “stripe” in practice and then a few during the race. Many competitors who earned their “stripes” either pulled out their backups or went to the garage for multiple repairs. Ragan’s brushes with the wall were superficial and didn’t affect the handling of his Ford. Ragan qualified 15th and finished fifth on the historical track, while Kyle Busch went on to win.
The green flag dropped at 7:38pm on the eve of Mothers Day and Ragan rolled off from the 15th starting position. With his family on hand Ragan was looking to maintain track position and have another strong run. Darlington is known for being “too tough to tame,” but Ragan was up for the challenge. From the start Ragan maintained his track position for the first 50 laps until the entire field started green-flag pit stops. Ragan’s No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion was handling well so when it came time for Ragan to make his green flag stop on lap 59 he didn’t want any changes, just four new tires. His team gave him new tires, filled his Ford up with gas and sent him on his way.
Around 20 laps later Ragan cycled back through to the top 15, just to have green flag pit stops start all over again around lap 114. The car was still handling really well so Ragan again told crew chief Jimmy Fennig he didn’t want any changes. Under green flag racing conditions on lap 119 Ragan pitted for four tires and fuel. Ragan cycled back around to the top 15 by lap 126.
The third caution of the event was displayed on lap 139 for debris. Ragan was sitting 15th and pitted under caution for four tires and fuel. His crew gained him one spot on pit road, setting him up 14th for the restart on lap 144. Next up was a long green flag run which would eventually lead to another green flag stop. Ragan had a fast Ford and cycled his way all the way up to the lead. A position he held for two laps until it was his turn for a green flag stop. The balance was still good, so he came down pit road under green on lap 205 for four tires and fuel.
The next caution came on lap 235 and was just what they need because Ragan had gotten into the wall and earned a “Darlington stripe.” The contact with the wall slightly affected the handling of his Ford, so Ragan pitted on lap 236 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. His team had another fast stop and gained him two spots, setting Ragan up 10th for the restart on lap 240.
From here on out Ragan pitted a total of three more times in which his over-the-wall pit crew gained him spots every time. Ragan did his job on the track and his crew pulled through on pit road. Ragan held off a hard-charging Matt Kenseth at the finish line to earn his fifth-place finish. The finish is Ragan’s second top five and third top-10 finish so far this season. The finish advanced Ragan to 12th in the season long point standings.
“That’s an awesome run,” said Ragan. “Whether we were at Daytona, Talladega or Richmond or Bristol, that would be great but to do it at Darlington is just something special. Darlington is an awesome track. You’re running laps out there and you think about the guys that made this place famous like Cale Yarborough and Elliott and David Pearson and people like that. It just makes you realize how fortunate we are to come out here and race at such a cool track. It’s definitely one of the best tracks on the circuit. We had a lot fun. Our pit crew did an awesome job today. We picked up spots everytime and it was an overall great run. We’re getting this deal somewhat figured out. We’ve had some good race cars, we just have to fine tune a little bit to try and win one of these things.”
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
1.5-miles Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Saturday, May 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, Travis Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.