Bristol Race Report: Ragan Earns Top-15 in Peanut Patch Ford

David Ragan, No. 34 Peanut Patch Ford
Starting Position: 17
Finishing Position: 12

David Ragan earned Front Row Motorsports’ best-ever finish at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night with a 12th-place finish in a wild but typical Bristol night race.

The No. 34 Peanut Patch team had a fast Ford Fusion all weekend, topping the leaderboard in the first practice session and qualifying 17th for the 500-lap main event.

Ragan’s car handled well for most of the race, with the driver just asking for it to turn a little more freely. The bigger challenge on the night was avoiding multiple wrecks. The rough-and-tumble race saw 11 cautions, seven of them for accidents. Ragan got a close-up view of several but deftly dodged the pile-ups to keep his Peanut Patch Ford cleaner than most others in the field.

The No. 34 really came to Ragan in the final 120 laps, when he moved from the top 25 to the top 15. He was in 12th for the race’s final restart on Lap 454 and that’s where he crossed the finish line for Front Row’s first top-15 result at the half-mile oval.

Comments from Peanut Patch team driver David Ragan after the Bristol race:

“It was a pretty good day for us. We had a fast Peanut Patch Ford, but we had to work hard for it all night. The guys in the pits did a good job. We dodged a couple wrecks and got a little bit of damage. It kind of looks like we just ran a race at Darlington. It was a lot of fun and a top-15 finish is an improvement from our qualifying spot.  It was a good day.  We always want more, but we’ll learn from it and move on to Atlanta.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Dockside Logistics Ford
Starting Position: 25
Finishing Position: 25

David Gilliland earned a hard-fought 25th-place finish in the Irwin Tools Night Race, despite battling issues ranging from overheating to a blown tire.

The No. 38 Dockside Logistics team took the green flag in 25th. By the team’s first pit stop on Lap 43, they already had to deal with right-side damage from a scrape with the wall as well as an overheating engine. Extensive work in the pits set Gilliland back to 33rd.

Throughout the night, the driver kept asking for helping getting through the turns and more forward drive. As the team worked to improve the car’s handling with each pit stop, they also used pit strategy to work the leaderboard, climbing into the top 20 by Lap 209.

But a blown right front tire on Lap 334 dealt the team a setback, as the No. 38 hit the wall and collected damage. Despite falling as far back as 30th, Gilliland kept fighting and picking off spots for the remainder of the race and crossed the line in 25th.

Comments from Dockside Logistics team driver David Gilliland after the Bristol race:

“We’ll take a top 25 out of that. That was kind of a long night. We started with some overheating issues and then got some damage from a blown tire, and all the while we were fighting handling. But our Dockside Logistics team kept working and kept fighting and we came out of it with an OK finish.”

 

Josh Wise, No. 35 Carson-Newman University Ford
Starting Position: 28
Finishing Position: 37

Saturday night’s race was the first for Carson-Newman University on a Sprint Cup car, and Josh Wise and his team looked to give their new partner a good run.

Wise got the local school some television time early in the race when pit strategy had him running in the top 10. He took a restart in 10th and had climbed up to sixth by Lap 81.

But the team’s night went downhill quickly a few laps later when the No. 78 of Kurt Busch slid up into Wise and put him hard into the wall. After multiple pit stops to work on the damage, Wise returned to the track to log laps. But after cutting multiple tires due to right-side damage, the team took their car behind the wall after 300 laps for more extensive repairs.

Wise would return to the track in 39th and claimed two more spots over the remainder of the race to finish 37th.

Comments from Carson-Newman University team driver Josh Wise after the Bristol race:

“That was obviously a huge disappointment to get wrecked like that. I guess Kurt had a tire issue and offered an apology but unfortunately that doesn’t put us back in the top 10. We had a strong car and were running well for Carson-Newman University and then we basically got knocked out of the race. The guys worked hard to get us back on track so we could finish, so I’m proud of their effort.”