Spring Slows Down Fast Love’s Ford at Vegas

David Gilliland, No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford
Starting Position: 33
Finishing Position: 30

David Gilliland took the green flag in the Love’s Travel Stops Ford in 33rd. After dealing with a difficult-handling car on Saturday during practice, the No. 38 team made numerous changes to their car for Sunday’s race. The work paid off. Gilliland reported in the early laps that the car was handling much better than it had in practice and enabled him to move up six spots before a Lap 18 caution.

A two-tire pit stop put Gilliland in 20th position after the team’s first stop on Lap 21, but the driver found that it made the car too tight through the turns and he slipped out of the top 20. The No. 38 team spent the middle segment of the race trying to hit on the right combination of adjustments to get the Love’s Ford back in the front half of the field.

But a new issue arose with about 70 laps to go when Gilliland reported the back of the car suddenly felt way too low and made it extremely difficult to handle. The pit crew made some emergency adjustments, but it wasn’t enough to put the driver back in control. Gilliland hung on to finish 30th, and the team discovered after the race that the left rear spring had given out, causing the problem.

Comments from Love’s Travel Stops team driver David Gilliland after the Las Vegas race:

“Our Love’s Travel Stop Ford was great at the beginning of the race. Frank (Kerr) and the guys did an awesome job making changes to find some speed and help the car get through the bumps better. We passed a lot of cars and were feeling good. But unfortunately, we kind of lost that in the middle of the race and weren’t able to get it back. And then when the left rear spring collapsed, it was everything I had to keep it in line. But we definitely took away some positives this weekend and it’s going to help us at our next mile-and-a-half track.”

 

David Ragan, No. 34 Taco Bell Ford
Starting Position: 26
Finishing Position: 32

David Ragan and the No. 34 Taco Bell team had a solid qualifying effort to earn the 26th spot on Sunday’s starting grid at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Finding the perfect race set-up had been difficult as the track got hotter throughout the practice sessions all weekend, and Sunday was even warmer.

The team learned early in the race that Ragan’s Ford Fusion would be a bit rough-handling through the turns. Their car also incurred a little damage when the No. 34 and the No. 16 of Greg Biffle made side-by-side contact in the early laps.

The two-hour-and-35-minute race only saw four cautions, and no wrecks, which meant fewer yellow-flag laps to work on the car on pit road. Ragan was also dealt a tough setback after his third pit stop when NASCAR gave him a speeding penalty, forcing an extra trip down pit road as the field ran laps under green.

The crew made adjustments as they could, and Ragan battled through to cross the finish line in 32nd.

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

“Our Taco Bell/Schwarze Industries/Barletta Ford was a handful all day. We got a little bit of damage early when Greg Biffle and I touched coming off of Turn 4. We just really fought a loose race car. We made a lot of adjustments all day. Our team has still got a lot to learn on this new set-up package, but we’ll get there. On to Bristol next week, one of my favorite race tracks. We had a top-15 finish our last time there and we’ll be ready.”