This Week in Ford Racing David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 AAA Insurance Ford Fusion, has had a very impressive second full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He leads ALL drivers in the series in laps completed (10,395 of 10,459) ...
This Week in Ford Racing
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 AAA Insurance Ford Fusion, has had a very impressive second full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He leads ALL drivers in the series in laps completed (10,395 of 10,459) and percentage of laps completed (99.39%), and leads all non-Chase drivers in points (13th in the standings), top-fives (6) and top-10s (14). Last weekend, at Phoenix, two-time series champion Tony Stewart even said that, if there was one, Ragan would get his vote for Driver of the Year. Ragan is one of four Ford Racing drivers in the top 10 in laps completed this year, joined by Carl Edwards (5th), Travis Kvapil (8th) and Greg Biffle (9th).
IS IT A SURPRISE TO YOU THAT YOU LEAD THE CUP SERIES IN LAPS COMPLETED THIS YEAR? "Yes and no. A couple of things, also we've been real consistent, and we haven't had any engine failures or parts failures. Our AAA team does a good job at making sure everything tight and aligned up, and don't have faulty parts, so we're fortunate to have good equipment, but at the same time, it's been one of the things that I've tried to really work on this year, is running all of the laps, having a lot of give-and-take, having a lot of patience, and I guess that it's paid off."
TRADITIONALLY, DRIVERS GET TO THE CUP SERIES BY SHOWING THAT THEY DON'T TEAR UP A LOT OF EQUIPMENT, SO RUNNING THE MOST LAPS AMONG A GROUP THAT DOESN'T TEAR UP EQUIPMENT SHOWS QUITE A BIT. "It just shows that you have the patience and also that you have a fast-enough car that you're staying up front and staying out of a lot of trouble. We've been involved in a couple of accidents this year, and it just gives a lot of credit to the guys that are building the chassis parts back home, the engine shop, for everyone who makes the AAA Ford go fast. Riding up, it takes the total package - you need good pit stops, not getting wrecked on pit road. It's very important to run all of the laps and be as competitive as you can, and I think our laps-completed definitely shows that."
BY BEING 13TH IN THE STANDINGS, AND PRODUCING SIX TOP-FIVES AND 14 TOP-10S - TOPS AMONG NON-CHASE DRIVERS - HAS THIS TEAM TAKEN THE NEXT STEP THIS SEASON, OR MAYBE EVEN TWO STEPS? "Yeah, I think we took a couple of steps this year, to being a contender for top-10s, very consistent, a good team every week, but we still have another step to take in order to lead laps and dominate races and win races, and, ultimately, lead the championship. I think there's six or seven guys in this series that are at that next level, guys like Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson, those guys, who can lead laps, win races, and realistically can contend for a title. And then you have the rest of everybody, you know, that's, say, from sixth to 15th, that are just in that stage that they're consistent, they're fast, but they still need a little bit more to get those points and win championships. That's where we're at. We're in that middle stage, but we've got a good game plan and I think with another year's experience that we'll be able to be able to find our way to the top."
ROUSH FENWAY RACING HAS WON FOUR STRAIGHT AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY. WHY DOES THIS ORGANIZATION DO SO WELL THERE? "This organization is good at all the mile-and-a-half tracks. We've got good downforce cars. We've been very fast on all the mile-and-a-half tracks this year, and that track just fits the style - progressive banking, it's fast, it's everything that we're used to. The afternoon-to-evening race - I think we're real good at adjusting our race cars to that. We finished 10th, I think, there last year, so it should be a good weekend. Our Nationwide car, we sat on the pole there last there, and there's no reason we can't contend for a win in both series."
DOES IT SEEM LIKE THE SEASON WENT BY RATHER FAST? "Yeah, the season went by incredibly fast. It felt like we were just in Daytona in July just a few weeks ago, and here we are with one race to go. We're always looking forward to Homestead and finishing on a good note, giving these guys on the road a little bit of time to spend with their family, and I'll go back home to Georgia and spend a couple of weeks with the grandparents and do a little hunting and fishing in the offseason and get geared up for the UPS family - I'm starting to meet the UPS guys. We'll have a busy offseason, but we'll try to take a week or so off."
-credit: ford racing