This Week In Ford Racing
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion, was in contention to win the Daytona 500 earlier this year until a penalty late in the race took away his chance. Ragan talks about returning to Daytona International Speedway for this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 and what kind of racing can be expected.
NOT TO OPEN OLD WOUNDS, BUT HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET OVER WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE DAYTONA 500? “I pretty much got over it the next week. Obviously you have to move on to the next race, but that doesn’t mean I have totally forgotten about it. I still think about it a lot. It was a good lesson learned, just not a very fun way to learn it.”
WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM THAT RACE THAT YOU CAN APPLY TO THIS RACE AND THEN AGAIN NEXT FEBRUARY? “There were a lot of great things that happened in that race. Communication between me and my teammates was great. Also, how to manage our temperatures while we were pushing and our pit strategy. I think we had a great pit strategy all day. Those four or five things are going to be some of the same things that will allow us to be competitive and have a shot to win this race and also the race next February. I think we have to remember that. We have to remember that if it comes to one of the last restarts and you are on the front row, don’t change any lanes before you get there.”
HOW DO YOU THINK THIS NIGHT RACE WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN THE 500? “The track is going to have a lot less grip. I think it will be probably 75 or 80 degrees at night, so it will be interesting to see how well people can push and how aggressive they can be. I think we had a record number of cautions there in February and if people are as aggressive in July, I don’t think the cars will be able to handle it. It will be interesting to see how hard and how aggressive everybody can be.”
DO YOU LIKE THAT TWO-CAR TANDEM RACING THAT WE WILL SEE AGAIN THIS WEEKEND? “I don’t really like it, but that is the fastest way around the track now, so we are forced to do it. You know, it is what it is. Nobody makes us do it, it is just the fast way around you know? It is like if you don’t like running the bottom at Martinsville, but that is just the fastest way around. It is cool to be able to go there. It is a different style of race, even though it is frustrating at times, it is still a race and the best man is going to win.”
BECAUSE YOU WERE UP FRONT TOWARD THE END OF THE 500, DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE POPULAR IN THE GARAGE FOR GUYS LOOKING FOR PARTNERS? “I hope so. I think our car is going to be fast. Everybody see’s that the FR9 engine is good and they can race with me, but we have a plan to work with our Ford teammates and get a Ford in victory lane. I look forward to having our Ford guys working together all day.”