Test Has Ragan Ready to Hit the Brakes at Martinsville

STATESVILLE, N.C. (October 22, 2013) – Coming off a top-10 finish at the fast and wild Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, David Ragan is ready to hit the brakes at the half-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Ragan’s No. 34 Taco Bell team tested for two days at the .526-mile oval earlier this month in a new Front Row Motorsports-built car. Their preps have them ready to go 500 laps in Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500.

The Martinsville race will be a slowdown from the previous weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega, where Ragan earned a sixth-place finish for his second top-10 of the season. The result moved him into 25th in the Sprint Cup driver standings.

Sunday’s race will be Ragan’s 15th start at Martinsville, where he has one top-10 and four top-20 finishes. His best result was an eighth-place run in 2011.

Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan heading to Martinsville:

“We tested at Martinsville recently and it went well. We took a brand new car, one that was one of the first few of an improved build done at Front Row Motorsports. David Gilliland had one earlier this season and this is our first of the newest version. So we were excited to test Martinsville, one of my favorite tracks. We learned a lot.

“A few issues that you always fight are forward drive, getting off the corner and working on your brake package. So we worked on those few items and I think we made some good progress. I’m excited to get back there. Martinsville is a fun race this time of year. It’s fall, the weather is cooling off, we’re getting down to the last few weeks of the Chase, and it’s always an exciting weekend.

“I grew up racing Legends cars on flat, quarter-mile tracks at Charlotte and Atlanta, and some in Alabama and Texas, and have just always enjoyed that style of racing. You have to worry about your brakes and handling and getting off the corner. It just makes for good racing. I think it goes back to your old-school days when you had a ton of race cars on a short track. You can’t get crazy early in the race. You have to manage your tires, your race car, and your thoughts and emotions throughout the day. It’s tough racing, mentally and physically, but it’s exciting.

“Brakes are always a focus, and you can really have issues if you don’t have the right package. There’s so much technology even within the brake world where you can constantly change your rotors, your caliper combination, and your brake pads mean a lot. And a lot of it is your driving style. With this new Generation-6 car, it’s a little bit lighter and has a little bit narrower platform and different weight distribution. So you can do some different things, and we’re learning that. And you may have to adjust your driving style just a little bit, too. But if you find that right brake package for your driving needs and how the car’s going to be, you can pretty much run all out for 500 laps there. And then they’re gone. You probably couldn’t go 520.”