Randy Hill Racing press release
Randy Hill Racing’s Nationwide Debut Halted With Mechanical Failure
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 5, 2011) - - Randy Hill Racing (RHR) and driver David Ragan in the No. 08 Texas Tech University Ford Mustang appeared to be well on their way towards a top-20 finish in Saturday afternoon’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) but an engine failure shortly after the halfway mark brought the team’s debut to an immediate halt.
Ragan started the 200-lap contest from the 24th position and immediately began flirting for a spot inside the top-20. Moving up to the 21st position by lap five, Ragan informed crew chief Jeff Spraker under the first yellow flag of the day that the No. 08 Texas Tech University Ford Mustang was a little loose off (the corner) but drivable.
When racing resumed on lap seven, Ragan had moved himself into the 19th position before settling into a long green flag run that saw the No. 08 Texas Tech University Ford Mustang hover between 21st and 23rd.
Spraker informed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran to bring his blue oval to pit road under green on lap 45 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. A strong stop by the RHR bunch returned their driver back into the top-25 but one lap off the pace because of the leaders’ torrid pace.
While remaining one lap off the pace, Ragan’s car continued to improve as it slowly crept back towards the top-20. By lap 75, the Unadilla, Georgia native informed his team that the water temperature had climbed and believed he had a piece of debris on the grill. Thankfully, the debris floated away allowing the oil temperatures to cool the racecar.
Spraker informed his driver again that they would have to make a green flag pit stop within three laps, just 12 laps from the halfway point, but thankfully, the second caution flag of the day waived for debris which proved for the moment to be a saving grace for the newly formed team.
Four tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment were made to the No. 08 Texas Tech University Ford Mustang with the 25-year old returning to the track still just one lap off the pace.
On the restart, Ragan’s car showed signs of life as he began hustling his way forward by the half-way mark. Still secured inside the top-20, Ragan was attempting to make a pass on the No. 81 of Blake Koch on lap 115 when he keyed the radio and informed his team that the motor had seized.
Ragan was able to coast his No. 08 Texas Tech University Ford Mustang to the garage area where the team deemed the failure as terminal forcing a disappointing 35th place finish in the team’s inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series debut.
“I want to thank Randy Hill and everyone on the Randy Hill Racing team for the opportunity,” said Ragan, who drives the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “We were making some major gains as the race pressed on and I feel that with what we were going to do on the final pit stop, it would have put us in contention for a solid finish.”
He added, “Overall, I think the team learned a lot this weekend and they’re going to be fine moving forward.”
For Hill, a Texas entrepreneur, he had hoped for a top-15 finish but understands the risks in racing. “I am extremely proud of the team for their efforts,” he said. “You cannot control situations like we experienced today. Everyone was doing their job and sometimes it’s just not mean to be.”
The Baird, Texas native continued, “We were able to make some strides during the race which saw our No. 08 Texas Tech University Ford Mustang racing with some of the Nationwide’s finest operations. We’ll pick up the pieces and move forward with our heads held high.”
Randy Hill Racing has yet to make a decision if they will compete in the Ford 300, the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in two weeks. A final ruling is expected within the week.