Daytona 500: David Ragan Media Day interview

DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion HOW DO YOU FEEL TO FINALLY GET BACK ON TRACK? "Eventually you can only talk so much about testing and what everybody thinks is gonna happen and I'm ready for the green flag to drop. I think we've got some...

DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion

HOW DO YOU FEEL TO FINALLY GET BACK ON TRACK? "Eventually you can only talk so much about testing and what everybody thinks is gonna happen and I'm ready for the green flag to drop. I think we've got some great AAA Ford Fusions and certainly there's a lot of time between the qualifying day and twin races on Thursday and Daytona 500 on Sunday, so we've got a lot of stuff happening. It's just very comforting to know that we're down here and we've got some good race cars and we're ready to go out and show everybody what we have."

LAST YEAR WAS ABOUT LOGGING LAPS AND EXPERIENCE. THIS YEAR IT'S MORE ABOUT RESULTS? "Yeah, certainly. Performance has got to improve and results have to improve. Everything your second time around should be a little better. We understand that we can't prevent the unpreventable from happening. We're gonna have some tires blow. We're gonna have some engine failures. We're gonna be caught up in some other people's wrecks, but, for the most part, we're gonna have to qualify better. We need to run better, be more consistent, less mistakes, so I think we're going to see that that will come easier, but we've got to keep working hard and make these things happen."

DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE THE RESPECT OF YOUR COMPETITORS BECAUSE YOU NEED HELP HERE? "It's still gonna take some time. It doesn't just happen in one year. I think it takes several races and several years to earn the complete respect that guys like Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon have for each other. In one year, I'm not gonna get that done, but it's important to go out and race hard with those guys and show them I can race with them and not be a weapon on the race track and do crazy things to jeopardize their car and my car. So it will be better than last year, but not as good as five years for now."

YOU RAN FIFTH IN THE 500 LAST YEAR, SO YOU'D LIKE TO IMPROVE ON THAT. "Yeah, and I think we can. We showed everyone last year that if you take care of your race car throughout the 500 miles and you make the right call on your last pit stop and have good track position, you can finish in the front. Anything can happen here at Daytona and I think that's something we've shown on a few occasions and that I've learned. At Daytona, you have to race a little different here than you would at a Bristol or a Richmond, so we'll just take the things we learned last year and go out and do the best we can. Hopefully, we'll get another top five or top 10 to start the year off."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , David Ragan