Love’s and MDS Fords Battle the Brickyard

David Gilliland, No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford
Starting Position: 34
Finishing Position: 36

David Gilliland and his Love’s Travel Stops team were up for the challenging Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, starting 34th in their No. 38 Ford. As the race got under way under cloudy skies, Gilliland got a feel for the way his car would wind up handling for the entire afternoon. Just a few laps in, he reported that his Ford was tough to turn through the flat corners and that he couldn’t get back to the gas exiting those corners like he wanted.

The early laps of the race also showed that the 43 teams would try varying pit strategies on the day. A competition caution on Lap 20, due to heavy rains the previous night, led some teams to pit and others to stay out on track. This set the stage for rolling waves of pit stops for much of the afternoon — a cycle that helped Gilliland climb as high as 12th within the first half of the race.

Gilliland’s progress took an unfortunate hit on a Lap 73 restart, when another car kicked up grass on the No. 38’s grille. The car began to overheat, forcing Gilliland to bring the car to pit road under green to clear the grille. The unplanned stop cost him numerous positions.

Cautions and pit-stop cycles didn’t play in the team’s favor in the second part of the race, putting Gilliland back in 37th with about 50 laps to go. Still fighting a tight-handling car, he muscled his way through the final laps to cross the line in 36th.

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

“Our car was just super tight all day. You’ve got to be able to hit your marks going through the turns at this place, and when you can’t, it can be pretty challenging. Our Love’s Travel Stops team worked hard all day, though, trying different adjustments and knocking off some quick stops to help make gains on pit road. I wish we had a little bit better finish to reflect the effort.”

 

David Ragan, No. 34 MDS Transport Ford
Starting Position: 38
Finishing Position: 35

A changing-weather day made for a challenging afternoon on track for David Ragan on Sunday. He started the Brickyard 400 in the 38th spot in a set-up that showed some speed in practice earlier in the weekend.

Running the early part of the race under cloudy (and briefly sprinkling) skies, Ragan said his MDS Transport Ford was tight-turning through the corners and loose getting back to the gas. But his No. 34 showed some speed and Ragan was able to advance a few positions in the first 20 laps. A Lap 20 competition caution spread the field apart into various pit cycles, which helped Ragan climb as high as 15th at Lap 51.

The sun came out midway through the 400-mile event and seemed to loosen up the handling of the No. 34 while caution periods bunched up the field’s pit-stop patterns. The two factors had Ragan dealing with a less predictable car as well as battling from farther back, outside the top 30. Without much help from the weather or the timing of the caution flags, Ragan was in 35th for the final restart of the race. He maintained his spot and crossed the finish in the same position.

Comments from MDS Transport team driver David Ragan after the Indianapolis race:

“Our MDS Ford didn’t quite handle the way we wanted it to today. And it never seemed to stay consistent either with the changing track conditions. But our Front Row Motorsports team worked hard at it all day. We just couldn’t get it quite where we needed it to be. But we’re looking forward to going to Pocono next week. We had a good finish there last time and we’ll look to have another good run.”