FONTANA, CALIF. (February 25, 2008) – David Ragan and the No. 6 America’s Tire team battled mother-nature more than their fellow competitors all weekend at Fontana. The Nationwide Series Stater Bros. 300 was delayed two days due inclement weather. All the teams had a limited practice schedule and the field was set by owner points standing from the 2007 season. The race finally started on Monday at 4 EST. Ragan and the America’s Tire team started in the 12th position and finished in a respectable 12th-place.
Ragan and the No. 6 America’s Tire team started the race with a vengeance gaining six positions the first 25 laps. Ragan commented his Ford Fusion was handling good, but was a little 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.
The first caution of the day flew on lap 22. Upon entering the pit stall on lap 23, Ragan was in the eighth position. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. A stellar effort by the pit crew allowed Ragan to gain two spots upon exiting the pit stall. The race went green on lap 25.
Ragan stayed in the sixth position for the next 20 laps battling some the best drivers on the NASCAR circuit. During a heated battle with the No. 38 driven By Jason Leffler, Ragan said his Ford Fusion was tight center off and the back-end was a little free. A much needed caution flew on lap 49. Ragan was called to the pits on the same lap for major adjustments. Kelley ordered four tires, fuel and a half round down in air pressure in the right rear. The pit crew executed a flawless stop and was able to send Ragan back out on the track in the third position. Over the next 20 laps Ragan ran up front with the class of the field.
On lap 85, Ragan commented his car was a little tight center off. At the time Ragan was in the ninth position. A green-flag pit stop loomed large. Aside from some minor handling problems Ragan and the America’s Tire team performed well throughout the day, but it seemed as if his Ford Fusion was not responding the latter part of the race.
On lap 97, Ragan was called to the pit stall. Kelley called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Once again the pit crew delivered when it mattered most, with a lightning fast 13 second stop. A debris caution flew nine laps later.
Ragan was called to the pits for the final time on lap 108. Ragan took fuel only, hoping another caution would allow the team to pit one last time for four tires. But that caution never came and Ragan ended up fighting for a top-15 finish.
It was solid point’s day for the America’s Tire team.
The 12th place finish leaves Ragan sixth in the Nationwide Series point standings. Ragan and the team will return to action next Saturday, March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"We felt like we started off real good. We had awesome pit stops all day and our America’s Tire Ford Fusion was good at the beginning and wasn't good at the end when we needed to be. We just got a little behind on adjustments. We probably should have taken four tires on that last stop. We just did fuel only and we didn't know it was going to go green the rest of the way. We just kind of took a gamble. We still had a solid run, a top-15 finish, but we need to be in that top five or top 10 every single week. I'm a little disappointed in our finish, I felt like we could have contented for a top-five finish with our teammates up there. Overall, a decent weekend, I'm ready to get out of here and get back to Charlotte for a day or two before Las Vegas."
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.