Ragan fourth at Talladega


DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Travel Ford Fusion (finished 4th) – WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY AT THE END? “I was probably being as conservative as anybody out there, because I probably didn’t have that many friends that would go with me, so I had to do what I could to take of myself and then really couldn’t worry about everybody else. It would’ve been nice to have some teammates up there. It looks like some of our teammates and our Fords had a tough day today, so I was kind of alone up there with all the other manufacturers. For the most part, the best move that I made was just not making a move all day, just staying in line.”

DID YOU NOT HAVE FRIENDS BECAUSE THERE WERE NO OTHER FORDS OR WAS IT BECAUSE YOUR CAR WAS GOOD BUT NOT GREAT? “I think the biggest thing was just not having any teammates or any Fords, and then still being only my second year and only my third or fourth time down here at Talladega, they probably weren’t going to stick with me like they would Stewart or the 24 or the 88. So, that’s all right. When we have a good enough car, guys will stick with you some. It was a productive day, learned a lot and had some fun.”

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DAY? “Well, it was a very solid day for our AAA team. We had solid track position all day, which allowed us to take care of our race car. We weren’t in the back beating and banging. We never had an over-heating issue like some of the other people I saw have. So, it’s just a good, solid day when you can qualify well, we had good stops, and it’s always a lot of fun having a good Ford engine underneath the hood. So, just a good, solid day and a lot of fun.”

HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE LAST FEW LAPS UP THERE IN THE MIX? WAS IT REACT OR JUST ACT? “For me it’s just react to everyone else. Everyone else is trying to make some big moves to be Superman and try to win the race, and for me it was just a matter of staying in line and trying to capitalize on somebody else’s mistake. Usually, about 50 percent of the time on the last 10 laps, whatever move you make, is either going to be either real good or really bad, so I just tried to capitalize on that, and we ended up fourth. It would’ve been cool to race back to the checkereds and try to win, but a fourth place we’ll take and try to get a win next week at Richmond.”

JIMMY FENNIG – crew chief, No. 6 AAA Travel Ford Fusion – “He’s doing a heck of a job. David Ragan, he’s here, he’s for real. Just if somebody would realize it and help him out there once in a while, we might’ve won this race. He’s doing an awesome job.” HE WENT TO THE FRONT A NUMBER OF TIMES TODAY. “Yeah. He had a good car, and he got in and out and worked the draft okay, and we’ll just go from there.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 28 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford Fusion (finished 6th) – “That was awesome. We just had a really good car. We stayed out of trouble. Really, I just logged 490 miles worth of learning the moves I could make and what I couldn’t make, and who would or wouldn’t go with me. I learned my car was fast, but nobody really wanted to go with me, so I knew I just had to stay in line and push as much as I could. My car could really push guys good. We got towards the front, we got towards the back – just a great day overall, stayed out of trouble and the car was fast enough to drive our way back up there when it counted.”

YOU MENTIONED “STAY OUT OF TROUBLE.” THAT SOUNDS EASIER THAN IT LOOKED. DID YOU ANTICIPATE SOME OF THOSE PROBLEMS? OR, DID YOU JUST REACT? “I could tell when it started to get dicey and guys were starting to get on top of each other a little bit. I would maybe go to the bottom lane or put myself in a position back out and kind of allow things to shake out. The wreck with 88 over here in turns one and two, I saw that coming and I felt it, and then I just tried to get as high as I could and get the heck by it. But, we got tangled up there a little bit and scraped the side, but really, no harm, no foul. It was just a good day, staying out of trouble.”

THE SEASON IS NOW ONE QUARTER DONE. WHAT DOES THIS FINISH MEAN IN THE BIG PICTURE? “Well, it’s great. That’s our second top-10 out of nine races. I’m just really pleased. Our cars have been really fast. We’ve been a consistent top-25 car every week, and we need to be a top-15 car every week. Our team is getting better. We’re gaining momentum, and I think by mid-season or so we should really start to be a regular top-15 car.”

JON WOOD – No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion (finished 36th) – HOW DO YOU THINK YOU DID TODAY? “Well, I guess given the sequence of events that occurred not to our liking at the start of the race and losing several laps before I even made a lap, so to speak, was a bit frustrating, but I wasn’t nervous about this race at all. And, looking back on it, I don’t really think there was any need to be nor do I think this is something that is an unattainable move or step up from where I’ve been racing in the Nationwide Series or Truck Series. These guys just run longer races, and there’s less room for error, but it’s still a race car.”

YOUR DAD SAID THAT YOU DID EVERYTHING THAT YOU WERE TOLD? WHAT WAS ON THAT LIST? “I was in a situation where I didn’t have to do something impressive, I had to do everything that was not unimpressive, if that makes sense. And so given that I didn’t hit anything on the race track and I didn’t get in any trouble with any drivers, NASCAR – anybody – I don’t really see that I did anything to hamper the outcome or where we finished. And, I think this was a good place to have a first COT experience because there’s only so much you can do. Looking at the races I’ve got coming up, it’s going to be a totally different story.”

EDDIE WOOD – co-owner, No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion, and Jon’s father – HOW DID JON DO IN HIS SECOND CAREER START? “He did great. He did everything we told him to do. He got up into the pack several times and got to feel what it was like. It kind of made us nervous because we were some laps down. We told him to back up and get a gap in between the pack and him, and he did everything we told him to do. He did a great job.”

WAS HE EVER AROUND ANY OF THE TROUBLE? “No, but I think when the 99 had that trouble he was right around him, but he kept a safe distance back from the pack, and any time they had trouble he was in good shape.”

YOU CAME IN EARLY AND LOST LAPS. FROM THEN ON, WAS THE GAMEPLAN TO JUST GET LAPS, OR BE COMPETITIVE AND SEE IF HE COULD RUN, OR TO GET HIM SOME EXPERIENCE? “All. We had to do what we had to do to get in the race. We were probably too aggressive with everything we did, but we did get in the race and he did get a lot seat time in the draft, in the car and he ran the whole race. So, that was good for him.”

MIKE SMITH – crew chief, No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion – HOW DID JON WOOD DO TODAY? “He did good. I mean, playing the cards that we got dealt, that was about as good as we could ask for. Really.

AFTER LOSING LAPS EARLY, WHAT WAS THE PLAN FOR HIM AND THE TEAM? “As it turned out, we had about a five-lap cushion both ways, in front of us and behind us, so at that point it was keep enough gap so you don’t tear the car up, so can have a car that we can work on for Daytona and make it better, and Jon did exactly what he was supposed to do. He stayed back far enough, when the big wrecks happened, he was far enough back where he could slow down with nobody behind him who could crash into him. It played out nice, really. I know it wasn’t the finish that everybody wanted, and it wasn’t the finish I wanted – it’s in the right direction and we gained points, and we were at Talladega. So, it was a good thing.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (finished 40th) – “We had a little bit of a tire trouble at practice, and I guess we didn’t fix it well enough. The same thing happened to Matt, it looked like. I’m just glad we didn’t take anybody else out in that deal. It’s just too bad we didn’t get that right for the race. This is a great race car, and it would’ve been great to have a good run. Not good for the points, but I appreciate all the fans coming out, and hope a Ford goes to Victory Lane.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (finished 41st) – “We can’t get anything to go our way. We just blew the right-front tire with our DeWalt Ford Fusion. It amazes me that you can blow a tire at Talladega, but I guess you can. We did everything to Goodyear’s specs and everything. We had a tire problem, for some reason. We just can’t seem to get anything to go our way, so far.”