Texas Race Report: Gilliland Perseveres, Ragan’s Day Cut Short

David Ragan, No. 34 SaferCar.gov Ford
Starting Position: 29
Finishing Position: 42

David Ragan started 29th in the SaferCar.gov Ford in Sunday’s Texas AAA 500. Early in the race, the driver reported his car would be tight at times and loose at times.

The team had three chances to work on the car on pit road during the first 80 laps, and the adjustments did help Ragan pick up some speed and some spots on the leaderboard. He had moved up to 25th by a Lap 80 restart. But a few laps later, the driver reported a problem with the engine.

The No. 34 crew took the car to the garage and went under the hood, where they learned the engine had blown and could not be repaired. Ragan ended the day 42nd and earned a bonus point for leading a lap.

Comments from SaferCar.gov team driver David Ragan after the Texas race:

“We ended up in the garage, which isn’t where wanted to be. Looks like another engine failure for the SaferCar.gov Ford. Our race car was really fast. We had passed a lot of cars and already led a lap, but it’s no good when you have engine trouble. Our engine department’s done a great job all year, but this is two weeks in a row and we can’t afford to have issues like that happen. Thanks to the Department of Transportation and SaferCar.gov and all the safe drivers out there. We appreciate it and we’ll go get ‘em next week.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 28
Finishing Position: 26

David Gilliland started Sunday’s 500-mile race from the 28th position. His team had made numerous changes since the practice sessions on Saturday and they felt good about their Ford Fusion as they took the green flag.

It didn’t take long to find out the changes were positive. Gilliland said his car was much better than the previous day, but he did ask for help getting the car to turn more freely. Frank Kerr and his crew made numerous chassis adjustments throughout the afternoon, keeping their driver within reach of the top-25 mark even as the track conditions and the car’s handling changed.

With only five cautions during the 334-lap event, the race featured a lot of green-flag racing, with drivers trying to find the best line around the wide track to make some gains. Gilliland and his spotter worked to make those gains where they could and crossed the line in 26th.

The result was enough to boost Gilliland one spot in the driver point standings to 26th.

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

“Frank and the guys did a great job today. We weren’t really happy with where it was yesterday and they made some good changes overnight and continued to adapt throughout the day today. Obviously we would’ve liked a higher finish than that. But with the few cautions, we didn’t have a chance to use too much pit strategy to try to gain track position. But it was a good points day for us and we’ll do our best to gain some more in these last two races.”