Pocono Race Report: Ragan Earns Top-25

David Ragan, No. 34 Taco Bell Ford
Starting Position: 30
Finishing Position: 21

David Ragan and the No 34 team earned a hard-fought top-25 finish in the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.

When the race got underway, Ragan’s Taco Bell Ford was pushing through the three unique turns that comprise the “Tricky Triangle”. Crew chief Jay Guy made several adjustments to the vehicle’s handling, but none seemed to loosen up the car. Fortunately Guy was able to overcome the handling issues with a flawless pit strategy. On two occasions, Ragan fell one lap down to the leader, but Guy timed his driver’s stops perfectly, allowing him to earn the “Lucky Dog” pass twice and remain fighting for positions on the lead lap. The team’s pit strategy even allowed Ragan to lead one lap of the event and pick up valuable championship bonus points.

Over the final 20 laps, the caution flag waved twice. Ragan pounced on each restart and drove from 25th to take the checkered flag in 21st place. The finish marked his 10th top-25 of the season.

Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan after the Pocono race:

“We started out tight today. We made lots of adjustments. We tried spring rubbers, track bar, wedge, air pressure. You name it, we tried it. Nothing seemed to loosen it up. Fortunately Jay (Guy) made some great calls from the pit box that kept us on the lead lap and kept our track position. On our last couple of pit stops, the car started handling better. There were some late-race cautions that bunched everyone up and we were able to capitalize and get a pretty good finish. Everyone on this team worked really hard today and it showed.”


David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 37
Finishing Position: 39

David Gilliland was methodically working his way up the leaderboard in Sunday’s race, reaching as high as 24th place, before his day came to an early end. On lap 51 of the 160 scheduled laps, Gilliland’s Long John Silver’s Ford unexpectedly veered right and careened into the outside retaining wall.

The damage to the right-front of Gilliland’s machine was too severe for the No. 38 crew to repair. He was forced to retire from the race and settled for a 39th-place finish.

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

“I’m really not quite sure what happened. It felt like a tire blew, but I’m not positive. It could have been something mechanical within the car, but I think it was a tire. It happened in a hurry. It’s too bad. We were starting to zero in on the handling and were picking up some positions. When something like that happens, the best thing you can do is rebound the following week with a good finish, so that’s what we’ll be working on. We’ll regroup and get at it for Watkins Glen.”