FONTANA, CALIF. (February 22, 2009) – David Ragan and the No. 6 America’s Tire team battled a star-studded field and a dominating performance by Kyle Busch to capture a top-five finish in the Nationwide Series Stater Bros. 300 at Fontana. Ragan and the America’s Tire team qualified in the eighth position and stayed in the top 10 before making a move to the lead pack after a restart on lap 95. Ragan ran as high as third on lap 107, before finishing the race in the fifth spot. This was Ragan’s first top-five run of the 2009 season.
Ragan and the No. 6 America’s Tire team started the race very steady, running in the eighth position the first 40 laps. Ragan ran the low line of the track early on, pushing Joey Logano for the seventh position. Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was handling good, but was tight late exit. The slight handling problem did not affect Ragan’s concentration at all. Crew chief Mike Kelley instructed him to go after as many cars as possible, and to be aggressive while he was comfortable with the track conditions.
During a long green-flag run, Ragan continued to run fast laps, but Busch opened up an eight second lead over Kevin Harvick and continued to obliterate the field. On lap 40, Ragan was called to the pits for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. After the cycle of green-flag stops, Ragan was in the ninth position. By lap 57 there were only 15 cars on the lead lap and Busch’s lead seemed insurmountable. Ragan decided to take a chance and move around the race track, running different lines each lap. Ragan gained two positions the next 20 laps, but his momentum was halted by the second caution of the evening on lap 90. Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was free on entry and needed a little grip.
Kelley called Ragan to the pit stall for minor adjustments on lap 92. Ragan entered the pit stall in the seventh position. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. A stellar effort by the pit crew allowed Ragan to gain three spots upon exiting the pit stall.
When green-flag racing resumed on lap 95, Ragan was in the fourth position. Ragan battled Jeff Burton for the third position the next 10 laps and by lap 107 he streaked past him to secure the position. The fourth caution of the night flew on lap 128 when Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle spun out in turn three. On the restart on lap 135, Ragan ran in the fifth position behind Logano.
The drama set in when Busch, Harvick and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards were three-wide going into the corner before Busch pulled away. Ragan created his own dramatics after moving to the high side of the track, passing Edwards and challenging for the third position. In the end, Ragan battled the leaders for the last 15 laps and secured an amazing fifth-place finish.
"Our America’s Tire Ford Fusion was good all night,” said Ragan. “I'm a little disappointed in our finish, I felt like we could have had a higher finish. I don’t think anybody had anything for the No. 18 tonight. We have to stay aggressive like that all year long. Competing with a field this strong can bring out the best in all of us. If we keep knocking on the door, it will open for us and we will be in victory lane.”
Ragan and the team will return to action next Saturday, February 28th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.