Coca-Cola 600 Race Report: Gilliland Earns Team-Best 20th-Place Finish

David Ragan, No. 34 Dockside Logistics/Love’s Travel Stops Ford
Starting Position: 35
Finishing Position: 25

David Ragan came home with a top-25 finish in an event where patience and persistence paid off over 600 miles on the track and four and a half hours on the clock.

Ragan started from the 35th position in his Dockside Logistics/Love’s Travel Stops Ford and found the handling to be a handful in the early going. But as the sun went down and the track began to cool, he began to find better grip.

NASCAR’s longest race of the year went even longer when the event was red-flagged twice, first for a television camera cable that fell on the track and tripped up multiple cars, and later for a multi-car accident. The yellow flag also waved 11 times.

The numerous cautions gave Jay Guy and the crew plenty of opportunities to make adjustments for their driver, and they kept making improvements all night. Ragan was in the top 25 by Lap 332, and he stayed there to cross the finish line in 25th.

Comments from Dockside Logistics team driver David Ragan after the Charlotte race:

“That was a long night. I don’t think we’ve ever had a red flag for a camera cable before, so that was unusual. But it was otherwise a typical Coke 600, in that we had to keep adjusting as the conditions changed and waiting on the track to tighten up. Our car probably wasn’t the best car we’ve ever brought to the racetrack, but our Dockside Logistics team kept working on it and making it better and we got a top-25 finish out of it.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s/Kangaroo Express Ford
Starting Position: 26
Finishing Position: 20

David Gilliland and the No. 38 Long John Silver’s/Kangaroo Express team earned Front Row Motorsports’ best-ever finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a 20th-place effort in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600.

Gilliland’s car had good speed throughout the race weekend, putting the team in 26th to start the 400-lap event. Crew chief Frank Kerr built a lot of adjustability into the car to allow the team to make changes as the day turned to night.

Despite the changing conditions, the handling of the No. 38 Ford Fusion was never too far off. After slipping back to 30th position in the early part of the race, Gilliland began to climb over the rest of the event, thanks in part to some multi-car wrecks that eliminated competitors and forced Gilliland to take evasive maneuvers himself.

He spent the final 65 laps in the top 20 and ended his 600-mile night in the 20th position, his career-best finish at the 1.5-mile oval. The result bumped Gilliland up two positions in the championship standings to 29th.

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

“That was a pretty good day for our 38 team. We unloaded pretty well and worked on making it better throughout the weekend. I’m really proud of Frank Kerr and the guys. They brought us a great car, one that made us competitive, and kept adjusting as the night went on and as the track cooled off. We’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we were at the beginning of the year, and I’m really proud of our effort.”

 

Josh Wise, No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
Starting Position: 43
Finishing Position: 26

Josh Wise earned his best Cup career finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a 26th-place run on Sunday night. Like his teammates, he benefited from patience and a little luck in avoiding trouble on the track.

Wise and crew chief Derrick Finley worked throughout the race to make the No. 35 MDS Transport Ford get through the corners better. When they weren’t working on the car’s handling, they were steering clear of wrecks. Eleven yellow-flag incidents claimed plenty of victims, but the No. 35 team avoided the worst and came home relatively clean.

Wise gained the most ground in the final 100 laps, moving from 31st to 26th, where he held his ground until the checkered flag.

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

“That’s wasn’t too bad. We’ll definitely take 26th, considering we started from the back and there were certainly a lot of opportunities to get wrecked out of the race, as a lot of cars did. But we were fortunate, we stayed out of trouble and we worked on adapting the car as the night went on. Not a bad night for our MDS Transport team.”

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