This Week in Ford Racing: October 19, 2010 David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion, is coming off a 10th- place finish in Saturday's Bank of America 500. Ragan spoke about the team's improved performance since the arrival of Drew ...
This Week in Ford Racing:
October 19, 2010
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion, is coming off a 10th- place finish in Saturday's Bank of America 500. Ragan spoke about the team's improved performance since the arrival of Drew Blickensderfer as crew chief and what his hopes are for the rest of the season.
THERE MUST BE A GOOD FEELING AROUND THE 6 SHOP THESE DAYS? "Yeah, it feels good. As a whole, our company is better and certainly the 6 car in the last four or five weeks has qualified better and raced a little better. We don't have all the finishes to show for it, but our on-the-track performance has been more competitive and that certainly feels good."
SINCE DREW HAS JOINED THE TEAM SOMETHING HAS CHANGED. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN POINT TO? "I can't pinpoint one thing, but I think it's a combination because Drew brings some good energy to the team. He's certainly passionate about running well. He's not afraid to make some changes and I think when someone new comes in, everybody is a little more aware of what's going on and we all step our program up. Donnie did a great job and when we made the change we couldn't really pinpoint one thing where we were making mistakes or that Donnie wasn't doing, but sometimes a new face gives us a new perspective and things tend to change a little bit. This sport that we're in, it's a team sport. If you change a couple pieces to that puzzle, sometimes you get different results. Everyone has worked hard all year long, so it's good that we've got a little momentum and hopefully we can carry it on for a few weeks."
DO YOU FEEL THE FACT YOU AND DREW ARE SIMILAR IN AGE HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE? "It does. That's really the first time I've worked with someone younger. The process really isn't any different, but things just seem to flow better. Anytime it flows better that's less on your mind, you feel more comfortable with yourself, and things just work. I think we've hit our stride at a good point in the season. These are some of our stronger race tracks. Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks. We run well at Talladega. Texas is good and Charlotte has been good for us, so I think everything is just working in our favor and it's been something that we felt like we could do all year and finally it's coming through for us."
HAVE YOU DONE MORE INSIDE THE CAR AS FAR AS PROVIDING FEEDBACK OR SUGGESTING ADJUSTMENTS, OR DOES DREW HANDLE ALL THAT? "I think the biggest thing is that anytime you have somebody new coming in, I feel like I'm obligated to pay a little bit more attention and spend a little bit more time just to kind of make sure our transition happens a little more smoothly. So, I've found myself coming a little earlier to the garage, staying later, calling a little bit more, and just trying to make sure that I'm doing my part. I think Drew certainly has everything under control, but I think another key part is the chemistry between our team engineer (Derek Stamets) and Drew. Everyone always talks about the driver and crew chief, but I think the engineer and the crew chief has to really work and I think they balance each other out well. It's something that's been good so far. Hopefully, we can keep improving on it and then it will become even better in the future."
THERE'S SO MUCH ATTENTION ON THE CHASE GUYS NOW, BUT YOU'VE OPENED SOME EYES RECENTLY. THAT MUST FEEL GOOD. "We've just had a real up-and-down summer where we had a few good runs, but we just never could get on a roll. Finally, obviously a lot of eyes are on the guys in the Chase and now is an opportunity that if we can make a little bit of noise, guys will take notice. It's important for us to end the season on a good note. We're looking forward to these last few races, but we're looking forward even more to coming out of the gates strong next year. Obviously, myself and UPS want to get into Victory Lane as soon as possible, so we're gonna work hard these last few races, but we want to carry some momentum into the off- season so we can all be ready for Daytona."
WHEN DREW CAME ON BOARD IT SEEMED LIKE IT WAS ON A TRIAL BASIS AND MAY NOT BE PERMANENT. HAS ANYTHING CHANGED AS FAR AS THAT GOES OR CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE YOU GUYS TOGETHER FOR NEXT YEAR AND BEYOND? "We'll probably re- evaluate that after Homestead. I'm sure myself, Drew, Robbie Reiser, and Jack will talk about that, but as of right now, we've done great together and I think we'll only get better. A lot of things change in a big company like Roush Fenway Racing. There's always a lot of stuff that happens over the off-season, so time will tell, but we're really focused on Martinsville and then we're gonna be focused on Talladega. After the dust settles at Homestead, we'll look at everything and make that decision for our UPS team."
A COUPLE OF YOUR TEAMMATES DON'T CARE FOR MARTINSVILLE, BUT YOU SAID YOU LIKE IT. WHY? "I do enjoy it. It's one of my favorite tracks to go to. I like the town of Martinsville. I can drive from my home and be there in an hour-and-a-half. Everything is good about Martinsville and we seem to run well there. I know a couple of guys don't like it much, but I feel like if I go in with an attitude that I hate this place, then I'll be beat before I even get there. So I like it and try to see the good things about it."
DO YOU FEEL ROUSH FENWAY AS A GROUP IS MIRRORING WHAT RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING DID LAST YEAR, WHERE THEY STRUGGLED AND THEN CAME ON AT THE END OF THE YEAR? "Absolutely. As a whole I feel like our new engine program has helped. We're getting our cars lighter and better, and I've said it from day one - in this sport the teams go up and down in patterns to where you have some good years and you have some bad years. It's a cycle. Everyone seems to have forgotten about that cycle because the 48 has been so good, but the Childress cars, the Gibbs cars and even the other Hendrick cars go through that cycle. Mark Martin was a favorite for upsetting the 48 last year and he didn't even make the Chase this year. In this sport you have your cycles and the strong survive, so I think we're on the good side of the cycle and have some good stuff to come in the future."
-source: ford racing