This Week in Ford Racing April 25, 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Talk about pressure: David Ragan is set to make his debut behind the wheel of the points-leading No. 6 Ford F-150 this weekend at Gateway International Raceway. Ragan,...
This Week in Ford Racing
April 25, 2006
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Talk about pressure: David Ragan is set to make his debut behind the wheel of the points-leading No. 6 Ford F-150 this weekend at Gateway International Raceway. Ragan, who has two starts this season in the No. 50 Ford F-150, will pilot the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford in the 11 races in which Mark Martin is not scheduled to compete. Ragan spoke about the pressures of stepping into the points-leading truck and his expectations for this weekend's event.
DAVID RAGAN--6--Scotts Ford F-150
HOW MUCH PRESSURE ARE YOU FEELING GETTING INTO THE CHAMPIONSHIP-LEADING TRUCK THIS WEEKEND? "There's a lot of pressure just being on the Roush team. There's a lot of pressure being the driver for Mike Beam (crew chief) and being a teammate to Mark Martin. There's always a little bit of pressure, but I think I can handle it and definitely look forward to the challenge."
HAS MARK MARTIN OFFERED YOU ANY ADVICE HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND'S EVENT? "I talked to Mark some after the Martinsville race, a little bit about the race and a little about going on to Gateway. We talked a little bit at the last couple of Busch weekends. I spotted for Mark out in Phoenix last weekend, and I really learned a lot from going out there and being part of the team and being part of the show out there. We talked a little bit about it, some of the pros and cons from Martinsville, a couple of mistakes on my side and a couple of good ideas to keep in the back of my head for Gateway. We've talked about it a little bit, and I'm sure after we get out there and practice I'll give Mark a buzz in Talladega and keep him up to date because he's all for this truck program, and this really means a lot to him. I'm definitely going to keep him involved and keep him updated."
YOU WERE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LAST TWO TRUCK SERIES EVENTS IN A THIRD ROUSH RACING FORD. HOW MUCH HAS THAT HELPED YOU GET ACCLIMATED TO THE SERIES AND THE VEHICLES? "It's been a huge help. Everybody at Ford and Roush, and everyone that put this deal together, it was really heads up, something that any race-car driver wants to do. He wants to stay behind the wheel. I know some of these guys enjoy having the weeks off, and it's good for them, too, but I'd just as soon be racing every single week. I'm taking a Legend car out to Lowe's on Monday night to make some hot laps. I'm a racer and I want to be behind the wheel very often. It definitely helped me out a lot to be able to work with the guys at Martinsville, and we are taking our same truck we ran at Martinsville to Gateway, so definitely that's going to pay off."
YOU ARE RUNNING THE SAME TRUCK YOU RAN AT MARTINSVILLE? "The one that I ran at Martinsville. Originally, we really didn't know, but we just felt that was the best move for us. I've driven that truck, and Mike and our engineer Hal (Ralston) worked with it last year some with Todd (Kluever), so they know the truck and I think it will be a good choice for us."
YOU MENTIONED RUNNING A LEGENDS CAR. WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER RACING PLANS THIS YEAR? "Like I said before, I'm a racer and I like to be doing anything race related and that's why I wanted to get hooked up with Mike and Mark when they run the Busch car. For me to get to go with those guys and be part of the team and have a radio on, I can pick up on a lot of things listening and get to see a lot of tracks that we're going to be racing the trucks at later on this year. I still have a couple of my race cars from the last few years, an ARCA RE/MAX car that I've got and a couple of Legend cars, so I plan to run some of the Legend car races this summer at the Lowe's Summer Shootout Series, and plan to enter a few ARCA races with my Ford that we raced last year. Between some truck races, which is my number one focus this year, and a couple of ARCA races and a few Legend races, I should have a busy summer."
ARE YOU ENTERING THIS WEEKEND'S RACE WITH THE MINDSET THAT YOU WANT TO CAPTURE THE OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP WITH THE NO. 6 FORD? "Yes, especially after Mark took off in the first few races of the year. It's definitely in our grasp, and I think they have confidence in me to go out and uphold my end of the deal. I don't think they would put me in this situation if they didn't feel I could go and continue getting the job done. I'm not going to say that I'm going to go and dominate like Mark has, but I feel that I can go and run in the top 10 and qualify in the top 10 and have a good run. I have to be on my toes. I can't make any mistakes. I can't do anything crazy and I have to respect what Mike Beam and Mark have done with the points this year in the 6 truck, so I can't go out and throw a good finish away by doing something foolish within the last few laps. We're going to go to St. Louis and go for the win, but if we're running third with 10 laps to go, I'm not going to make a crazy move to try to win the race. We'll be happy finishing third and bringing home some good points."
YOU'RE NOT A ROOKIE IN THE SERIES, BUT YOU ONLY HAVE 12 STARTS, AND YOUR TEAMMATE ERIK DARNELL IS A ROOKIE. IS IT TOUGHER ON YOUNG DRIVERS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A VETERAN LIKE MARK MARTIN TO LEAN ON AT THE TRACK? "It will a little bit, but a big advantage that Erik and I are both going to have here, we both ran the ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Gateway last year, and we both ran in the top five and had a lot of fun. I think we're going in with some experience and also some confidence. We feel like we've raced pretty good the last week or two. Erik has had some awesome runs. We're going in with some confidence. Our short-track program is up to speed and I think we'll be all right. Mike Beam and John Quinn, the two chiefs, have a lot of experience. It will be a little different not having Mark there to go holler at between practices, but he's just a quick phone call away."