Tough Finish, Good Learning Experience for Ragan CONCORD, N.C. - David Ragan came to Gateway International Raceway as the driver of the No. 6 Scotts Ford F-150 for the first of 11 races in 2006, hoping to have a solid finish and keep the No. 6...
Tough Finish, Good Learning Experience for Ragan
CONCORD, N.C. - David Ragan came to Gateway International Raceway as the driver of the No. 6 Scotts Ford F-150 for the first of 11 races in 2006, hoping to have a solid finish and keep the No. 6 on top of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner points. While the result was not what he was looking for, Ragan left the track with what he considers a great learning experience.
With the weather playing a factor and abbreviating the schedule, the No. 6 would start on the pole, as the lineup was set by 2006 owner point standings. The Scotts team had only one hour of practice to fine-tune the chassis and get Ragan a comfortable setup to keep the Ford F-150 at the front of the pack.
Ragan struggled with handling issues for the first green flag run, reporting to crew chief Mike Beam that the truck felt good entering the corners, but had no front grip. As the laps clicked off, the No. 6 Ford settled into a rhythm, working his way back towards the top five. The Scotts crew would take advantage of a caution period at lap 29 to service the F-150, bringing it to pit road for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment..
Ragan restarted the race in the 19th position, and reported to the crew immediately that the changes made were a big help. "I'd like a little more of the same next time in," said Ragan. "Free it up just a little more, and we should be in good shape."
NASCAR threw a competition caution at lap 45, and the Scotts crew took advantage of it. Ragan brought the truck down to top off on fuel and make a slight chassis adjustment, and would be ready to go for a long run.
Ragan showed 13th on lap 57, and would hold steady for the next long run. The Scotts crew called Ragan to pit road when the caution flew again at lap 88, but a miscue on pit road would cost the No. 6 several positions. He would restart the race at lap 93 in the 20th position.
When the caution flew at lap 105 for a wreck involving teammate Erik Darnell, Ragan made contact with another truck when he attempted to make an evasive move to prevent getting caught up in the melee in front of him. He would bring the truck to pit road for repairs and the final adjustments to get the No. 6 Scotts Ford to the end of the race, but the efforts would in vein, as shortly after the restart an incident with the No. 11 of David Starr ended the night early for the Scotts Ford.
"It was just one of those racing deals," said Ragan. "The 11 and I were racing pretty hard. I knew he was on fresher tires than I was. It happened a few times tonight between some guys in front of us, and it's just short track racing. It was just two of us racing hard for the same spot and I just came out the unfortunate one. Realistically, we had a 10th-place truck. Mike Beam made some great calls, but I wasn't able to tell him what we needed to do to make the truck better. I wish we would have had a long run, I think we were a little better once we got some heat in the tires and once we got going. I hate it especially for the guys; they work real hard. We have an awesome race team here and this is nothing that is going to slow us down. We'll keep digging. It's a shame it happened, but we have a lot more to look forward to."
Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Enterprises which operates 14 motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, six in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, Todd Kluever and Danny O'Quinn, Jr., and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with Martin, David Ragan and Erik Darnell.