Dover Race Report: Ragan, Wise Earn Top-25s, Gilliland’s Top-20 Effort Wrecked

David Ragan, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford
Starting Position: 35
Finishing Position: 22

David Ragan took the green flag for Sunday’s FedEx 400 in the 35th spot, but gained seven spots in the first 78 laps with his only complaint being a slight loose condition in his No. 34 Ford.

As the day went on and clouds produced some shade, the handling of Ragan’s car changed. The driver also reported that the handling would change over the course of a run, making an ideal set-up a bit of a moving target. At the half-way point, Ragan was in 28th and still looking to gain more ground.

The second half of the race brought more sun and more opportunities to advance. By a Lap 318 restart, Ragan was up to 25th but running close on fuel to make it to the end of the race. A yellow flag on Lap 378 helped Ragan save fuel and gave him the assurance he could make it to the end. He restarted in 23rd for the final 19 laps and was able to pick up one more position to finish in 22nd.

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

“Overall it wasn’t a bad day for our Front Row Motorsports team. If it had stayed sunny the whole race, I think that would’ve helped us more. But the guys made some good adjustments about half-way through the race that really helped and let us gain a little more ground. We learned some things that will help us next time, too.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 28
Finishing Position: 37

David Gilliland had a fast Long John Silver’s Ford all weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, lining up 28th for the start of Sunday’s 400-mile race.

He quickly moved up into the top-25 and stayed there, despite having a radio issue that hindered his communication with his crew. But it didn’t matter because he didn’t need to provide much feedback. A thumbs-up out the window to crew chief Frank Kerr during his first stop told the team all they needed to know.

Gilliland cracked the top-20 just past the half-way mark and was even told at one point he was faster than the leader. Unfortunately the forward momentum ended as the race approached the 300-mile mark. Ryan Newman was racing Gilliland for position when Newman gave a shove from behind to the 38′s left rear, sending Gilliland into the wall. The car caromed back down the track and went nose first into the inside wall, bringing Newman along with it.

After exchanging words with Newman, Gilliland was taken to the infield care center where he was evaluated and released. The No. 38 Ford suffered too much damage to return to the track. The team was credited with a 37th-place finish, an inaccurate indicator of the day’s performance.

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

“We just got wrecked. It is a shame. I am real proud of Front Row Motorsports and Frank Kerr, my crew chief. We had a fast race car and a great run going and unfortunately someone lost their patience a little bit and we got wrecked. It is too bad but that is just the way it goes, I guess.”

 

Josh Wise, No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
Starting Position: 41
Finishing Position: 25

Josh Wise and his No. 35 MDS Transport team started the day in 41st, with a tight-handling car. Some long green-flag runs in the first half of the race stretched out the field, but they allowed Wise to test out where his car ran best around the one-mile oval. Finding the best groove paid off in those long runs, but the car was more challenging to handle in traffic.

Despite being on an off-sequence pit cycle for part of the race, the team persevered and gradually gained ground, with Wise in 30th just before half-way. And as the track conditions changed, so did the car’s handling. Around the Lap 300 mark, Wise said his Ford Fusion was now loose.

For the final 100 laps, the team played the yellow flags wisely, coming down pit road when necessary and staying out for track position when conditions allowed. By the race’s final restart on Lap 382, Wise was in 26th. He was able to pick up one more spot in the final laps to come home 25th, earning his second-best finish of the season.

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

“We’ll take a top-25 out of that. I love Dover. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a tough track. And it’s really a tough track when you’re in traffic. But the team did a good job on pit road, we had good stops and we held our own against the Monster all day. I’m proud of our effort.”

 

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