Simple Raganomics; Don't Forget Your Roots David Ragan Tests at Toledo for Sunday's ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 TOLEDO OH (10-7-08) -- David Ragan charged from 43rd to 27th on the first lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this...
Simple Raganomics; Don't Forget Your Roots
David Ragan Tests at Toledo for Sunday's ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200
TOLEDO OH (10-7-08) -- David Ragan charged from 43rd to 27th on the first lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this past Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
"Then I looked up at the scoreboard on lap 20 and we were leading; I couldn't believe it," said Ragan, who eventually finished third at Talladega behind winner Tony Stewart and runner-up driver Paul Menard.
"We had a really good car (at Talladega). We were fortunate to miss all the big wrecks. I enjoy the restrictor plate races. It was a little frustrating at the end, no Fords or teammates left to help. Kevin Harvick worked with me some and Dale Jr. helped too during the race. They'll help you as long as it helps themselves -- you know how that is."
Ragan will have to race from the tail-end again this Sunday at Toledo Speedway where the Unadilla, Georgia driver will join fellow Cup star Ken Schrader at the back of the field for the start of the Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care.
Both drivers are competing in the Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina Saturday night.
"I talked to Schrader yesterday at Talladega about the ARCA race at Toledo. Since we're both coming from the back of the field, our plan is to help each other get to the front; basically, that means don't wreck each other.
"Certainly if I have the opportunity to help my teammate Ricky Stenhouse during the race, we'll do what we can. He's racing for a championship so we're certainly rooting him on," added Ragan who drives for the same Roush Fenway Racing organization on the Cup side that Stenhouse, Jr. does on the ARCA RE/MAX Series side. Stenhouse is second in points headed into ARCA Championship weekend at Toledo, 85 points away from championship leader Scott Speed.
"Shriners Hospitals, my official charity, is going to be on our car so that worked out good to help promote those guys. We'll have some fun and help create some awareness for the Shriners Hospitals."
Ragan spent the entire day Monday testing the no. 39 Roulo Brothers Shriners Hospitals Ford at Toledo in preparation for this Sunday's race.
"I left Talladega and flew back to Charlotte Sunday night, got in about 10 o'clock. Went straight home, unpacked and packed. Ran by the race shop Monday morning to make sure we're all on the right schedules, then I flew up (to Toledo) this morning."
Ragan, at his own expense, rented a plane to come to Toledo for the test.
"It was the coolest thing, I got off the plane in Toledo and there was a red mustang waiting right there where the plane pulled up for me to drive. Don't know who arranged it; heck, for all I know I'm probably paying for it," added Ragan with a grin.
Having said that, it's pretty safe to say that Ragan, who has 30 career ARCA RE/MAX Series starts before getting his big break with Roush Fenway Racing, is pretty serious about racing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
"Test has been good. We started with our spring set-up and worked from there."
Ragan, who committed early in 2008 to running both ARCA RE/MAX Series events at Toledo, finished fifth from the tail-end at Toledo back in May. Racing in the Cup race at Lowe's will prevent Ragan from qualifying for the ARCA race, so, like he did back in May, Ragan will have to start from the tail-end.
"We felt we could have won the spring race, but things just didn't quite fall our way, so we thought we needed this day to test to fine tune things a little better.
"But we're coming to Toledo to win the thing. We want to have some fun, put on a good show for the fans, but, bottom line, we want to win.
"We'll have plenty of cautions, so we should have time to get there. I mean, it'd be fun to start up front and have the advantage of track position, but it'll also be fun to start in the back and pass everyone. Main thing is, we want to put on a good show for the fans."
And it's Ragan's commitment to the fans and the sport of auto racing that will most assuredly keep his star on the rise.
"I just have enormous respect for guys like Schrader, my Dad, Donnie and Bobby Allison and the champ Frank (Kimmel). They came up the hard way, earned their way in. Schrader's always giving back to the sport. These guys paved the way for us, the new guys coming up. We have it so good in this sport; it wasn't that way for a lot of the guys before us.
"I made more when I finished fifth at Daytona, in one race, than my dad did in 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts throughout his entire career.
"And certainly for the Roulo Brothers, who have been racing forever. They worked with me in the ARCA series some, really helped me with my career, and we've been working together ever since. Looks like I'm going to be working with them next year too. We'd like to bring Chris Buescher over here in the ARCA series and run him on the short tracks. He's not quite 16 yet, so he can't run the speedways; but I think you'll see us over here next year more.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without people like the Roulo Brothers. I have a lot of respect for those guys. And, truthfully, I doubt I'd be where I am today without ARCA -- it's great little series to get experience -- tough competition and getting tougher all the time by the looks of it."
The Roulo Brothers have been synonymous with the ARCA RE/MAX Series for more than 20 years, winning with drivers like Schrader, David Green, Joe Ruttman, Dave Weltmeyer and Bob Strait to name a few.
After testing with the Roulo Brothers all day at Toledo, Ragan hopped in the red Mustang and made fast-tracks toward Toledo Express Airport where the plane he rented carried him off back to Charlotte.
"There's a promotion I'm doing with the FBI in Charlotte Tuesday, so I'm going to go hang out with all the guys over there. I've got a Discount Tire autograph session Wednesday afternoon and an open house at Roush Fenway Thursday morning. Then from there, we go out to the track (Lowe's Motor Speedway), Cup qualifies Thursday evening."
Ragan plans to sleep in his own bed Saturday night after the Cup race, and then get up with the roosters Sunday morning to fly back to Toledo for Sunday's ARCA race.
"Not exactly sure how I'm getting to Toledo Sunday morning yet. May share some space on Schrader's plane, or maybe he'll hitch a ride with me, not sure. Maybe, I can talk Jack (Roush) into coming up and we can all ride on his plane, wouldn't that be neat."
The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will join the festivities with the K-100 presented by Champion Credit Union 50 lap feature event Saturday, October 11th, the same day the ARCA RE/MAX Series cars practice and set the starting field in SIM Factory Pole Qualifying. The Hantz Group 200 by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care is scheduled to roll off Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET.
Grant Enfinger Also Tests
ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Grant Enfinger, in a car he purchased from Roush Fenway racing, was also on hand for the private test at Toledo Monday.
"We're just trying some different set-ups, trying to get me comfortable," said Enfinger. "I've never been on this track before, and I don't have a lot of experience in these heavier cars. We shook the car down at Caraway last week. But I'm used to driving a super late model and they're much lighter than these cars. These things (ARCA cars) are like driving a dump truck compared to the super late model."
Ragan, who used to race with Enfinger in Legends Cars, helped the Fairhope, Alabama driver on set-ups and advice. Enfinger works fulltime for Andy Belmont Racing as a mechanic, fabricator and sometimes transporter driver.