Daytona 500: Pile-Up Claims All Three FRM Fords

David Ragan, No. 34 Detail Doctor Ford
Starting Position: 22
Finishing Position: 35

Despite gray and threatening skies over Daytona International Speedway, the 55th Daytona 500 went green right on time on Sunday. David Ragan lined up 22nd, feeling confident about his No. 34 Detail Doctor Ford.

The first half of the race had the field strung out single file for many of the laps, with the only drama coming on Lap 32 when a nine-car accident scattered the field and sent several to the garage. Ragan played it safe toward the back of the pack for those first 100 laps as he and spotter Roman Pemberton began discussing when and where to try to make a move.

Unfortunately, they never got the chance. On Lap 138, Brad Keselowski and Trevor Bayne got together and started a domino chain of wrecking behind them, with Ragan among the victims. The No. 34 team took the Detail Doctor Ford to the garage to repair both front- and back-end damage and returned 38 laps later to try to gain a few positions. Ragan returned to the garage with 10 laps remaining to end his day and finish in the 35th position.

Comments from Detail Doctor team driver David Ragan after the Daytona 500:

“We were going through a green-flag cycle of pit stops and just kind of riding and all I saw was the 2 coming across the race track, so I don’t know if the 2 cut down a tire or if he spun or if someone hooked him. I just saw the 2 coming up the race track and I hit the guy in front of me and the guy behind me hits me. It was just an unfortunate event. We had some speed in our Detail Doctor Ford. I enjoyed racing hard and was hoping to set ourselves up for the finish, but it just didn’t work out.”

David Gilliland, No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford

Starting Position: 25
Finishing Position: 38

David Gilliland turned heads all of Speedweeks with his sharp-looking — and fast — Love’s Travel Stops Ford. And he was eager to take the green flag from his starting position of 25th and drive the No. 38 to the front.

His plan suffered a hitch early on when he had to pit on Lap 15 with an engine issue, which the team quickly diagnosed as a loose spark plug wire. The unscheduled pit stop cost him two laps as he returned the track in 43rd.

The team got a lap back on a Lap 35 caution by earning the “Lucky Dog” pass for being the first car a lap down. Gilliland restarted 36th with the Love’s Travel Stops Ford running strong, confident there was plenty of time to regain another lap.

But on Lap 138, the same multi-car wreck that claimed his teammate Ragan also collected Gilliland and sent him to the garage with heavy front-end damage. The team was able to patch up their Ford Fusion enough to return to the track for several laps before finally retiring the car with 12 laps remaining in the race. Gilliland was credited with a 38th-place finish.

Comments from Love’s Travel Stops team driver David Gilliland after the Daytona 500:

“I am not really sure what happened. Someone got loose and slid up the track. I had nowhere to go. We had a great, super fast car. We had a plug wire come off in the beginning and get us behind and we were inching our way back up but I just hate to end the day this way. We were hoping to have a better day than this for Love’s Travel Stops, but we will have to come back next week and get ’em at Phoenix.”

Josh Wise, No. 35 Blockbuster Ford

Starting Position: 32
Finishing Position: 40

Josh Wise started his first Daytona 500 in the 32nd spot, eager to make the most of this milestone opportunity. With support from Blockbuster and Cajun Industries, Wise planned to race smart and work with his teammates to bring home a solid finish for Front Row Motorsports.

Wise earned his first battle scars of the day on Lap 32, when the first multi-car wreck of the day forced him into the back of Jamie McMurray, causing some damage to the nose and hood. But the No. 35 crew patched up the Blockbuster Ford and returned Wise to the track in 34th and still on the lead lap.

Wise then fell in line for 100 laps of mostly single-file racing, staying in line while looking for an opportunity to gain some ground. Crew chief Steven Lane found opportunity on pit road, using two-tire and fuel-only pit stops to leapfrog up the leaderboard to 22nd position by Lap 114.

But the Lap 138 multi-car wreck spared none of the Front Row Motorsports Fords. Wise was collected in the nine-car, accordion-style crash along with his teammates, forcing him to take his heavily damaged car to the garage. The Blockbuster Ford could not be repaired in time to return to the track, and Wise finished in 40th place.

Comments from Blockbuster team driver Josh Wise after the Daytona 500:

“I didn’t really see anything. Our line just stopped and it was kind of like a slinky. We just kind of all piled into each other. The top lane always seemed to prevail so guys were fighting to get up to the top. It would have just been nice to get to the end. I would’ve liked a better ending for my first Daytona 500 and for Blockbuster and Cajun Industries. We’ll go get ready for Phoenix.”