Richmond Race Report: Gilliland and Pit Crew Earn Top-25

David Ragan, No. 34 Farm Rich Ford
Starting Position: 23
Finishing Position: 29

David Ragan started Saturday night’s 400-lap event in 23rd with a Farm Rich Ford Fusion that proved fast in qualifying, and it looked to be fast as the race went green.

In the opening laps of a run, Ragan would report that his car was tight getting through the center of the turns, but that it would improve about half-way through a run. When the car would come to him, it was among the fastest on the track with Ragan running lap times comparable to the leader.

Unfortunately, the forward progress did not last through the entire race. Some pit road miscues and strategy calls that didn’t work in the team’s favor set Ragan farther back and off the lead lap. On Lap 306, he was back to 36th.

The Farm Rich team didn’t give up, though, continuing to adjust the car to try to find more speed as the night wore on and the track cooled. It wasn’t quite enough to propel Ragan back into the top 25, and he crossed the finish line in 29th.

Comments from Farm Rich team driver David Ragan after the Richmond race:

“We had a really good Farm Rich car. We just had a lot of mistakes on pit road and some mistakes in pit strategy, and we couldn’t quite make the right adjustments to get our car any faster. It was kind of a struggle and kind of disappointing, but we had a fast car for half the race. Just circumstances and bad luck hurt us the rest of the race. We’ll have to improve on that for these last 10 races and rebound.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 37
Finishing Position: 23

David Gilliland earned his 13th top-25 finish of the season Saturday night, despite having a tough-handling Long John Silver’s Ford. The team knew it would have its work cut out for it, starting 37th after a challenging day of practice and qualifying on Friday.

Crew chief Frank Kerr and his crew were up for the challenge. The team made chassis or air pressure adjustments on every stop, helping their driver inch his way up the leaderboard.

Around the half-way mark, Gilliland was in 24th and stayed within the top-25 for the rest of the race. A late caution on Lap 393 and an ensuing green-white-checkered restart allowed Gilliland to climb up one more position to finish the race in 23rd.

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

“We didn’t have a great car, but I’m proud of the effort and the result. Frank and the guys kept working on trying to make our car turn better all night. And while we didn’t get the car as good as we wanted it, we still were able to make some gains, thanks in part to some great pit stops all night by this 38 team.”

 

Josh Wise, No. 35 The Pete Store Ford
Starting Position: 27
Finishing Position: 41

Josh Wise ran a solid race in April at Richmond International Raceway and returned with a similar set-up this week hoping to repeat the performance.

He started Saturday night’s race in 27th in his The Pete Store Ford. In the opening laps, he reported to crew chief Todd Anderson that his No. 35 car was tight through the center of the turns. The team had completed only one pit stop to improve the car’s handling when a bigger problem arose around Lap 126. Wise reported a vibration in the right rear of the car.

He brought the Ford Fusion to pit road for a quick look, and the crew determined it needed to go to the garage for repairs. The team made multiple attempts to diagnose and repair the problem and return Wise to the race. But on Lap 267 they determined the issue was not improving and Wise pulled the car behind the wall for good, ending his night early to earn a 41st-place finish.

Comments from The Pete Store team driver Josh Wise after the Richmond race:

“It just started vibrating in the right rear pretty bad, and I could tell it wasn’t a tire. It was something worse. So we had to take it to the garage. Credit to my guys for working hard to try to send me back out there. We just couldn’t fix it well enough to keep it on track. We wanted to have a good night for The Pete Store, but things just didn’t go our way.”

 

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