David Ragan, driver of the No. 06 Sharp Aquos Ford Fusion, will be making his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut in tomorrow's Dover 400. The 20-year-old Ragan spoke about qualifying and the opportunity in front of him with Roush Racing. DAVID...
David Ragan, driver of the No. 06 Sharp Aquos Ford Fusion, will be making his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut in tomorrow's Dover 400. The 20-year-old Ragan spoke about qualifying and the opportunity in front of him with Roush Racing.
DAVID RAGAN -- No. 06 Sharp Aguos Ford Fusion --
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU MADE THE RACE? "In one sense I was disappointed because I think I could have gone a little faster. I think I gave up a tenth-and-a-half or two-tenths out there, but, at the same time, it was a sigh of relief like, 'Hey, we're in. That's what we wanted to do.' Now we've got to get our car driving good in race trim to where I can get out there and hold my own and pass some guys. So it was cool to make the race, but in another sense as far as our drive to be a competitor and all, I think I could have gone a little faster."
MARK MARTIN CAME UP AND SHOOK YOUR HAND YESTERDAY AFTER YOUR QUALIFYING LAPS. WHAT IS THAT LIKE TO HAVE SOMEONE LIKE HIM IN YOUR CORNER? "That was pretty cool because just a year or so ago I was wanting his autograph. I feel like at driver intros I should go out and get some autographs, but it's pretty cool just to be on the Roush Racing team and to have some teammates like that. Truly, they've helped me out a lot and I think this is an awesome opportunity to get to come to Dover for your first Cup race and my second Busch race of the year. I owe it all to Jack and the guys at Roush Racing to give me this opportunity and, hopefully, I can make the best of it."
IS IT TRUE YOU HAD NEVER BEEN IN A CUP CAR BEFORE YESTERDAY? "Yeah, until yesterday, so officially I've got about 16 laps in a Cup car so far. I wish we could have got to go and test, but it was very last minute. I ran a lot of laps in my head and getting to run the Bar None Ford Fusion in the Busch Series really helped out a lot and gave me some good track experience because I have never been to Dover either. The Busch car was really a good help and it's pretty fast, but to get in this Cup car was a little different, but I just had to adapt as quick as I could."
HOW DOES THE CUP CAR FEEL IN COMPARISON TO THE TRUCK OR BUSCH CAR? "It's got a lot more horsepower. I think the aero balance is more on the front end -- somewhat similar to how a truck feels. The back of the car feels a little unstable at times because of the small rear spoiler and less rear downforce, but there's not a lot of difference. There's not as much difference as I thought. The biggest thing is just the horsepower and then getting in from your Busch car to your Cup car and trying to get those cars to feel the same and drive the same."
YOU'LL BE RACING AGAINST THE LIKES OF JEFF GORDON AND TONY STEWART TOMORROW. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES? "Just to be able to race with those guys. I know we're not gonna be a car that can go out and lead laps and run in the top five, but if we can finish all the laps, have good pit stops and not make any major mistakes -- just go out and run all the laps and be competitive. If we could finish in the top 25, I think that would be a victory for us. At the same time, we want to get out and race some guys. We don't want to be riding in the back and be in anybody's way. We just want to get out and I feel like we can very seriously race in the top 25 and top 30 and be able to have a good, clean race."
MARK WAS ASKED ABOUT HIS THOUGHTS ON THE 6 CAR FOR NEXT YEAR. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS IS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO POSSIBLY MOVE UP QUICKER THAN YOU ORIGINALLY THOUGHT? "I think so. I think just being at Roush Racing you always have to be on your toes. Jack does an excellent job of putting the right people in the right place to move up in the motorsports world. >From a crew guy's perspective and from a race car driver's perspective, we work as hard as we can to try to get good at what we're currently doing in hopes that a position will open up in a Busch car and a Nextel Cup car and, hopefully, we'll be ready when the situation arises. I also think that being in our Craftsman Truck is just as big of an audition as here today."
YOU SAID THIS DEAL CAME UP ON SHORT NOTICE, BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE PLANS ARE FOR YOU OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS? "Hopefully there will be another Busch race or two. I'm not too sure about the Cup side of things and then I really want to get a win for our Craftsman Truck Series team. I think that I'm ready to win in the 6 truck and the 50 team, we're ready for some good top fives and then possibly even a win at Talladega in a couple of weeks. That first win would be special to get this year, especially with those guys and the 6 team fighting for the owner's championship. I think that's a realistic goal and just continuing to get some good seat time in any other series that Jack lets me come out and run."
-credit: ford racing