David Ragan, No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford
Starting Position: 26
Finishing Position: 19
David Ragan and his No. 34 team earned their second consecutive top-20 finish Sunday in a lengthy, crash-marred race at Watkins Glen International. The four-hour-plus event included two red flags for track clean-up and repairs after high-speed accidents.
Ragan rolled off 26th in his Dockside Logistics Ford, which quickly proved to handle well around the twisting road course. Pit strategy was on his side as well. Employing a different pit sequence than the leaders allowed the team to climb as high as 11th in the first half of the race.
The day could have ended early for Ragan on Lap 56, when a violent accident happened right in front of him in Turn 5. But his split-second reaction to swerve around the spinning Ryan Newman saved the No. 34 Ford to continue on. No one was hurt but damage to the track barriers forced a nearly 90-minute red-flag period to make repairs. When the field returned to green, Ragan was in 21st and looking to climb further up the board.
A second, shorter red-flag period came on Lap 88 after two separate accidents required clean-up and repairs, setting up the field for a green-white-checkered finish. Ragan took the restart in the 18th spot, trading positions with multiple drivers several times on the final two laps around the seven-turn course. He crossed the line in 19th for his best career finish at The Glen and his third top-20 finish of the season. The finish resulted in a one-position boost in both driver and owner points.
Comments from Dockside Logistics team driver David Ragan after the Watkins Glen race:
“Our Dockside Logistics team did a good job this weekend. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a road racing expert, but I’ve come to enjoy these races more and get better at it each year, and we know as a team that the road races are a chance for Front Row Motorsports to bring home a good finish like we did today. The guys did a good job on pit road and good job by my spotters. I think our car might’ve had a couple more spots in it for the finish, but it was still a solid top-20.”
David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 33
Finishing Position: 22
David Gilliland earned a top-25 finish at Watkins Glen International despite having to drive most of the race without third gear.
The No. 38 Long John Silver’s team started the race in 33rd. For the second straight week, crew chief Frank Kerr put his driver on a different pit sequence than the leaders when the opportunity arose early in the race. The strategy allowed Gilliland to climb as high as second in the first half of the 355-kilometer event.
The typical bumping and banging of road-course racing might have been to blame for damage to Gilliland’s transmission, which lost third gear around half-way through the race. The No. 38 also sustained significant body damage trying to slow up behind a huge wreck on Lap 56. The accident resulted in an hour-plus red flag for track repairs, but repairs to the No. 38 had to wait until the track returned to yellow-flag conditions.
After some quick pit-road patchwork under the eventual yellow flag, Gilliland was back on track in 27th after the long delay. He drove the rest of the race nursing his transmission while still driving as aggressively as he could. He took the final green-white-checkered restart in 22nd and held that spot for the finish. It was his eighth top-25 finish of the 2014 campaign.
Comments from Long John Silver’s team driver David Gilliland after the Watkins Glen race:
“That was kind of a long day. We lost third gear about half-way through the race, and I didn’t even know if our transmission was going to make it to the end. But Frank (Kerr) and the guys did a great job. We had good pit stops, they worked fast on fixing the damage after we got hammered checking up for that big wreck, and we made the best of what we had to work with. It wasn’t easy, but I’m proud of what we were able to do with what we had.”