Indy Race Report: Ragan Takes ‘Play It Safe’ Message to Brickyard

David Ragan, No. 34 CSX “Play It Safe” Ford
Starting Position: 36
Finishing Position: 34

David Ragan and the CSX Ford brought the “Play It Safe” railroad safety message to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. The campaign efforts included a decal with signatures of fans who promised to brake for trains adorning the hood of the No. 34 Fusion.

Starting in 36th, Ragan learned early in the 400-mile race that he and his team would be chasing the car’s handling on the big, flat track all afternoon. The car would be tight-handling in the early laps of a run, and then get looser and looser as it ran. Ragan also dealt with a brake issue that prevented him from running the line around the track that he wanted to.

The CSX crew worked hard on improving their Ford Fusion all day, making quick work of their pit stops as they made adjustments on each stop. But the race saw only three cautions for 14 yellow-flag laps, stringing out the field for much of the race and making it difficult to gain track position.

Ragan grabbed opportunities where he could and crossed the finish line in 34th.

Comments from CSX team driver David Ragan after the Indianapolis race:

“It was a challenging day here at Indianapolis. We didn’t start off that great, had some handling problems and some brake issues throughout the day. But we kept it one piece all day, the CSX team did a great job and we had a good day on pit road. We just didn’t have the speed in the car. So we’ll go back to the drawing board and work on it and get ready to head to Pocono.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 42
Finishing Position: 35

David Gilliland took the green flag with two straight top-20s in the series’ last two events. But he had his work cut out for him at the start of Sunday’s 160-lap race. Lined up 42nd on the starting grid, he had plenty of ground to gain.

Like his teammate Ragan, he fought handling issues throughout the day. But the No. 38 team worked hard on every stop to help the Long John Silver’s Ford better navigate the 2.5-mile track.

With none of the 43 cars in the field dropping out the race and few caution flags, positions up the leaderboard were hard to come by. But Gilliland fought for spots he could get despite the car’s handling and finished the day in 35th.

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

“That was a long day. We threw everything at it but the kitchen sink and it was just a tough-handling car all day. We had top-20 finishes the last few weeks, so we know we’re going in the right direction. This was a setback but we’ll put it behind us and get back into our rhythm.”

 

Josh Wise, No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
Starting Position: 32
Finishing Position: 38

Josh Wise started 32nd in Sunday’s line-up at the historic “Brickyard.” In the early laps of the event, he only reported a bit of a tight condition on his No. 35 MDS Transport Ford.

But the track would change as the sun went in and out of the clouds, and cars would change over the course of a tire run, too, making the perfect set-up a moving target. The No. 35 team kept at it, trying to adjust for the changing conditions.

As the laps ticked down with about 15 to go, Wise was in 33rd when he made a final trip to pit road. After his stop, he was assessed a speeding penalty, requiring a pass-through trip down pit road on the following lap and knocking him back to 38th. He maintained that position until the checkered flag.

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

“It’s such a cool feeling to race at the Brickyard, but it’s a long day’s work. My guys worked hard all day and all weekend, adapting to the changing conditions. It was tough to get it exactly right and, unfortunately, we had that penalty near the end, too. But we learned a lot and that will help us in the future.”