Dover Race Report: Ragan Earns 15th Top-25

David Ragan, No. 34 Taco Bell Ford
Starting Position: 27
Finishing Position: 25

David Ragan and the Taco Bell team overcame a difficult-handling car over the entire race weekend to earn a top-25 finish Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

The No. 34 Ford Fusion was stubborn throughout the practice sessions, but Ragan was able to qualify the car in a mid-pack 27th position for the 400-mile main event. When the green-flag flew Sunday, the driver reported the car was tight through the turns, just as it had been all weekend.

With only four yellow flags throughout the afternoon, the team didn’t have many opportunities to work on their car. But when they did, they made it count, knocking off quick pit stops with various chassis and air-pressure adjustments to help the car turn better.

After slipping back to 31st in the early laps, Ragan reclaimed 27th by the half-way point. As the pit-stop adjustments helped the car, the driver was running his best laps of the race in the second half. Long green-flag runs strung out the field, making passing opportunities scarce, but Ragan was able to net two more spots by the time the checkers flew. His 25th-place finish was his 15th top-25 of the season – three more than in the entire 2012 campaign.

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

“It was a long, hard-fought day for our Taco Bell team. We threw a lot of changes at it from yesterday and the guys kept working on it the whole race. We had a good day on pit road, too. We would’ve liked to be a little bit better in the earlier run, but we’ll take it and get ready for the short week before heading to one of my favorite tracks, Kansas.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 28
Finishing Position: 30

David Gilliland started 28th at the Monster Mile, taking the green flag in a Long John Silver’s Ford that saw myriad changes from the previous day. The No. 38 team worked all weekend to improve a tight-handling car and made even more changes before race day.

In the opening laps, Gilliland reported the changes helped him find more speed in the car, but that it still needed help in the turns. After securing a bonus point while leading a lap under an early caution, the team went to work on adjustments. After numerous changes in four pit stops over 235 laps, the No. 38 was handling better in the second half of the race. Gilliland was in 27th and poised to make a push for the top 25.

But an untimely caution flew on Lap 370 in the middle of green-flag pit stops. The No. 38 team had already pitted and wound up losing two laps and multiple positions. A final restart had Gilliland in 31st position and he was able to gain one more spot to cross the finish line in 30th.

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

“That was a challenging day. I’m not quite sure why, but our Ford Fusion wasn’t taking to adjustments the way we wanted it to for much of the weekend. We did get it turning a little better in the second half of the race, but it’s hard to make up ground on a one-mile track, especially when you don’t have very many cautions.”