Martinsville Race Report: FRM Cars Bump-and-Battle to the End

David Ragan, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford
Starting Position: 23
Finishing Position: 30

David Ragan took the green flag for the start of the event and immediately communicated to his crew that his Front Row Motorsports Ford was a little tight in the center, but otherwise handling pretty well. The handling began to fade as the 100-lap mark neared and Ragan held down the 34th position at Lap 135.

Crew chief Jay Guy made adjustments to the car at every opportunity and in the middle stages of the event, Ragan let the team know that the handling had improved. A pit road miscue just past halfway proved costly for the team and resulted in several pit stops under green-flag conditions. At Lap 300, Ragan rode in 35th place and the crew continued their efforts to make the car turn better in the corners.

Ragan was able to pick up several positions in the last 50 laps and when the checkered flag waved, the No. 34 team was credited with 30th place.

Comments from Front Row Motorsports team driver David Ragan after the Martinsville race:

“We weren’t all that happy with the car when it rolled off the truck on Friday, but we felt like we made some great progress on Saturday to get our Front Row Motorsports Ford closer to where it needed to be for raceday. We started off OK today, but as the race wore on, we just couldn’t get the car to turn like we needed. The guys worked really hard all day to make the changes that would make the difference and at times, they seemed to help. It wasn’t our best day, but we learned a lot and will be better prepared for the next one.”

 

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 30
Finishing Position: 28

David Gilliland looked to gain some ground on Sunday, starting the race in 30th. His Long John Silver’s Ford was loose in and off the corners in the early stages of the race, but that didn’t stop him from moving up through the field. By Lap 75, the No. 38 Ford was positioned just outside the top 25.

The handling of the car changed as the race progressed and, like his teammates, he began to experience a tight handling racecar. Despite that, Gilliland made his way into and remained in the top 25 through the middle stages of the race. The No. 38 Ford held down 23rd at the halfway point.

Gilliland slipped back several spots as his car became tighter, but he stayed near the top-25 for the remainder of the event and finished in 28th position.

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

“Frank (Kerr) made the right calls early on to gain us track position. The Long John’s Sliver Ford was pretty tight for most of the race, but we threw a lot of changes at it and were able to make some progress. We made some decent changes to the car to allow us to be in position to fight for a top-25 finish, but Martinsville is such a tight track that it’s tough to make up ground.”

 

Josh Wise, No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
Starting Position: 42
Finishing Position: 35

Josh Wise started the 500-lap event at Martinsville Speedway from the 42nd spot and, like many of his fellow competitors, found himself struggling with a tight handling condition in the early laps of the event.

A tap by the 27 car at Lap 165 caused the MDS Transport Ford to brush the wall and Wise lost several laps trying to clean off his tires before ducking into the pits for fresh Goodyear rubber. The team suspected they had a problem with the front splitter for a while and took special care in working through that potential issue. The Front Row Motorsports crew made adjustments throughout the race to remedy the tight handling condition but were never able to get it quite to Wise’s liking.

When the checkered flag flew, Wise held down 35th place.

Comments from MDS Transport team driver Josh Wise after the Martinsville race:

“Martinsville is a tough track. It’s so important to take care of your equipment, but you still have to race hard or you’ll get left behind. We really worked on making sure we were around at the end and we were able to accomplish that, but we had a couple of issues caused by typical short-track racing beating and banging and that hurt us. I’m proud of this crew and that the MDS Transport Ford was around at the end, though. That was our goal and we were able to accomplish that, learning a lot on the process.”

 

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