David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, is in a three-way tie for 11th place in the Busch Series driver point standings. A full-time competitor, and rookie, in both Nextel Cup and Busch Series competition this season, Ragan...
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, is in a three-way tie for 11th place in the Busch Series driver point standings. A full-time competitor, and rookie, in both Nextel Cup and Busch Series competition this season, Ragan spoke about adapting to three different cars and his season to date.
DAVID RAGAN-6-Discount Tire Ford Fusion
TALK ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS RACING EXPERIENCE HERE. "I've got some ARCA RE/MAX Series experience here and in the Craftsman Trucks. I've never made any laps in a Busch car here, but I think that this is probably one of the more fun tracks that we go to. Certainly, living here in the Nashville area a couple of years ago driving for the 31-W team in Goodlettsville (Tenn.), it's kinda like a second home to me."
DO YOU EXPECT TO TAKE IT EASY FOR THE FIRST COUPLE OF LAPS ON THE TRACK BECAUSE OF THE COOLER TEMPERATURES TODAY? "Well, not necessarily because of the weather. You'll take it easy because of the Hoosier Tire rubber that's out there now. That's kind of an iffy subject. I don't know if it's good to go out or if you need to wait a few laps and maybe get that top layer of Hoosier rubber off. We'll do the normal deal. We'll go out and run five or six laps and kinda feel the car out. We won't look to break any track records the first few laps. We think we have a real good Discount Tire Ford this weekend. I think that the second and third time out, we've got some things to try. We've got an extra 30 minutes of rookie practice this weekend, and I'm a little relieved that I'm not running the Cup car. It's nice to just focus on the Busch car."
HOW DIFFICULT HAS IT BEEN TO TRY TO LEARN AND ADAPT TO THREE DIFFERENT CARS THIS YEAR BETWEEN BUSCH AND CUP COMPETITION? "It's been tough at times. I try to keep good notes from race track to race track, keep some good notes on the cars to just try to help myself out before practice or before qualifying. But, it's been tough. In the past you just had to worry about the Cup car and then the Busch car, but now you throw the Car of Tomorrow in, and it definitely drives different than all of the cars. It's been tough, but it's been the same for everyone."
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU'VE GAINED SOME RESPECT FROM YOUR FELLOW COMPETITORS THIS YEAR? "You know, time helps everything. I'm sure that I have some more respect than I did a year ago at this time and than I did two years ago at this time. Hopefully we'll keep progressing as a race team and I'll keep progressing as a race car driver, and another year down the road when we're back here again next year, I'll have a little more respect. That just comes with time, and as long as I take care of the things that I can control, that will be all right."
WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT DARLINGTON WILL BE REPAVED IN THE FUTURE, TALK ABOUT GONG BACK TO A TRACK AFTER IT'S BEEN REPAVED AND HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LEARNING CURVE. "Las Vegas was one of the toughest races that I've ever been a part off this year. We had a real good test there and we went back and, obviously, the temperatures of the tires were a lot different. That was really a struggle for me; to just not overdrive the car and just trying to get everything I could get out of it. That was a struggle, but coming back to tracks like Nashville and Kentucky, places that I've really run a lot of laps with and ran well with in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, it' kinda like coming home. Going back to Martinsville last week was so much fun. That was a track that I've had a lot of laps on during the Gong Show, during truck races and practicing Carl's Busch car there last year. I felt normal going to Martinsville, but when we go to places like Texas or go to places like California, I've been there one time or maybe twice, and that makes it tough. But, it's the same for all of the rookies, and it's just a matter of finding our line and working hard to get faster."
"If we're going to a track that's freshly paved, it's new for everyone. I think that would be a plus. Going to Las Vegas for the test, it's a new track for everyone, so we were up to speed fast. We go to a track - I've run a lot of laps around Michigan - but when we go to Atlanta, it's a track that I've got a couple of truck starts at, but all of these other guys have been racing there since the early to mid-90s when they paved the place. Going to Darlington, I've got a few laps around there from the Gong Show in 2005, but I think it will even the playing field out a little bit."
OF THE THREE DIFFERENT CARS THAT YOU'VE RACED THIS YEAR, IS THERE ANY ONE THAT YOU FEEL BEST SUITS YOUR DRIVING STYLE? "I've really liked the Busch cars. I wish I had a little more time to spend with the Busch team, testing and talking setups and stuff. I feel like my focus is on the Cup car, not necessarily more than the Busch car, but it is a little more. The Cup car is number one and that's what we're working hard on. The Busch races have been so much fun and it's basically like Cup racing. The top 10 in the Busch race every week are the top contenders that you're racing on Sunday. I think it's equally as hard to run in the top 10 in a Busch race as it is a Cup race. You're racing the same guys. You're racing Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart; you're racing the same guys on Saturday and Sunday. I've really had a great time racing the Busch car this year. The Car of Tomorrow has definitely made me and Jimmy Fennig (Cup crew chief) work harder together to get them driving better. I've had a lot of fun in all three cars this year and I'm looking forward to going to Phoenix, the home of Discount Tire in Scottsdale, and really looking forward to the Talladega race in a few weeks."
-credit: ford racing