Kansas Race Report: Gilliland Earns Top Finish of Season

David Ragan, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford
Starting Position: 26
Finishing Position: 30

David Ragan started Sunday’s race in 26th in a pretty strong No. 34 Ford, pushing his way up to 23rd by the race’s first yellow flag at Lap 6. The early speed gave way to concern just a few laps later, when the driver reported a fuel pressure issue. A second caution gave the team the opportunity to bring the car to pit road on Lap 40 to try to fix the problem.

But after returning to the track, Ragan reported he still wasn’t getting full fuel pressure. Thirty laps later, the third caution flag flew, allowing the team to bring their car to the pits once more. After multiple stops and replacing several parts around the fuel cell, the team was able to fix the problem and return their driver to the track.

Back on track on Lap 77, Ragan was in 40th and two laps down due to the time needed to make repairs. But, at full power, his car was taking to the track fairly well and he began to advance. At the half-way point of the race, he was up to 35th, and reached 30th with less than 50 laps to go. With no other cars to race on his lap, he maintained that position for the remainder of the race and crossed the line in 30th.

Comments from Front Row Motorsports team driver David Ragan after the Kansas race:

“Our car was pretty good. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to show it very well because of the fuel pressure issue early on. But it was a pretty good car after that and we made up some of the lost ground. We definitely learned a lot, which will help us when we come back to Kansas the second time.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 28
Finishing Position: 23

David Gilliland took the green flag from the 28th position. His No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford was stout, but too loose through the corners. Gilliland asked crew chief Frank Kerr for help getting back to the gas as he rounded the 1.5-mile speedway. “If we can get that taken care of, we’ll be really good,” commented Gilliland. The team zeroed in on the handling of Gilliland’s car, making three pit stops during the first 157 laps. The Long John Silver’s Ford responded positively to the crew’s handy work. Gilliland ran as high as 15th and was in 23rd place just after the halfway point of the race.

Just when things were looking up for Gilliland, he ran into trouble, literally. On Lap 173, The No. 9 car spun and triggered a multi-car accident. Gilliland ran into the back of the No. 13 car and damaged the right-front fender of his car. The team used the ensuing caution period to reshape the wheel well and bumper of the car. The team was able to make the repairs and keep Gilliland on the lead lap.

Following the accident, Gilliland lined up in 24th place. Despite the damage to his car, Gilliland hung strong for the remaining 78 laps and picked up one position to take the checkers in 23rd place. The performance marked Gilliland’s best finish of the 2013 season.

Comments from Long John Silver’s team driver David Gilliland after the Kansas race:

“We felt like we had a good car today. We were on the lead lap for about 90 percent of the race. It looked like we had a top-20 in our reach for sure, maybe even a top-15. The 9 car spun coming off Turn 2 and I ran into the back of the 13 car. It tore up the front of my car. The guys did a great job repairing it. It didn’t drive quite the same after that, but I’m definitely proud of my guys and the work they did today. We needed a good run this week and everyone fought hard to earn it.”

 

Josh Wise, No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
Starting Position: 36
Finishing Position: 26

Josh Wise equaled his best finish of his young Sprint Cup career Sunday with a 26th-place run at Kansas Speedway. Racing on the 1.5-mile oval for just the second time as a Cup driver, Wise had a solid day in which he made good gains as the race progressed and avoided trouble for all 400.5 miles.

Wise started the afternoon’s race in 36th and saw quickly that he had a pretty fast MDS Ford, jumping up six spots in the opening five laps. He told crew chief Derrick Finley, though, that the car was loose through the turns – a handling issue that quite a few drivers were experiencing.

With eight caution flags on the day, the No. 35 team had plenty of opportunities to adjust their car on pit road, and by the halfway mark of the 267-lap event, Wise said his car’s handling was as good as it had been all day. By Lap 200 Wise had climbed up to 26th and then inside the top 25 just 18 laps later.

With just 20 laps to go, Wise was once again in 26th and needing a yellow flag to close the gap between himself and the 25th-place car. The caution never came and Wise maintained his position to the finish, equaling the best result of his 42-race Cup career.

Comments from MDS Transport team driver Josh Wise after the Kansas race:

“I’m pretty proud of our team and the day we had. The new track pavement has come in really well and gives you two or three lanes for racing. The car’s handling would change a lot over the course of a run, but Derrick (Finley) did a great job from the box and so did the guys in the pits. We’re making good progress, we tied our best finish of the year and we’ll work on topping it next week.”