Ragan Posts Third-Place Run At Talladega

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Ford. Drive one. Ford Fusion (Finished 40th)  – “It’s a bad way to end our day.  Our Ford. Drive one Fusion was pretty good today and we were just kind of taking our time being patient.  I don’t know what happened up there – something up high and it just kind of came down across the track and got us.  Unfortunately, it took out a lot of good cars and put a short end to our afternoon.”  THERE DOESN’T SEEM TO BE MUCH PATIENCE OUT THERE.  “You’ve got to go up and see what your car will do because I’ve rode around in the back and then at the end of the race go up and try to see what you can do and, all of a sudden, you figure out your car needs to be a little different to be able to go to the front.  So I think at the beginning of the race people are trying to figure out what they need to be good at the end.”  TYPICAL RESTRICTORY PLATE WRECK?  “Yeah, that’s what it was.  The holes close up fast here and it’s just the nature of the track.”

JON WOOD – No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion (Finished 33rd)  – “I just got run in to.  It wasn’t really anybody’s careless errors or mistakes, it was just a blown tire.  It’s unfortunate because this thing was fast.  We just elected to ride where the other Roush cars were and then I decided to try and go to the front.  In the process of doing so, that’s when I got tore up.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY – No. 26 Bernzomatic Ford Fusion (Finished 32nd) – “I guess the 83 blew a tire, but the car was really, really fast.  I was pretty shocked.  In practice it just seemed kind of OK, but, wow, I couldn’t believe the speed that our Bernzomatic Ford had today.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do now.  If the guy hadn’t blown the tire, we’d still be racing.  That can happen anytime.  It was fun racing that hard, but that hard racing isn’t what caused the wreck.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished 24th) – “You can’t blame Carl.  He was trying to help us and he pushed us all the way to the front down the backstretch.  We talked about it last night.  We talked about it the night before.  We talked about it today as far as what we were gonna do and that was our deal – to get teamed up and shove each other all the way to the front.  We had been able to push around the corner all day and I don’t know if I was moving down or he was moving up, but maybe when he came to push a little bit it just instantly slid.  I had my foot in the gas and it just spun the tires and went around and that’s all she wrote.”  A TOUGH DAY POINTS-WISE.  “Yeah, it’s disappointing but we’ll be all right.  We’ve got some races yet.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (Finished 26th) – “I didn’t really see it.  I just saw the 16 was turned.  I guess Carl said he turned the 16, I guess.  I didn’t see it.  I just saw the 16s left-front fender and I thought we were doing all right getting in front there.  I pulled left as far as I could and I just couldn’t miss it.  The 16 got wiped out and he wiped me out somehow.”  WHAT HAPPENED?  “At the end we kind of worked our way toward the front.  You knew it was gonna be crazy, but I actually felt like we were almost home-free.”  YOU HAD A GREAT RUN.  WHAT HAPPENED?  “I didn’t really see it.  I guess Carl turned the 16.  I just looked up and saw the 16s nose pointed at my door and I couldn’t get far enough away from him.” 

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 28 Academy Sports & Outdoors Ford Fusion (Finished 27th) – “We had a really good car.  It’s just at the end of the race and that’s what happens in plate racing.  Everybody was getting really pushy and trying to make their line go.  Nobody does this stuff on purpose, you’re just really pushing a line and trying to make your lane go and got somebody crossed up and you wreck in front of everybody.  There’s just nothing you can do.  It’s just part of it.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (Finished 29th) – “I was just pushing Greg as hard as I could.  It’s my fault and I apologize to everybody caught up in that wreck.  We had been pushing each other a lot and it had been going really well.  We just got in exactly the wrong spot there going into three and he got real loose and that was just the way it went.  It’s my fault.  I feel bad that I took my teammates out.  I know Matt’s mad and I’m sure Greg’s mad, but you just do the best you can and hope for the best.  It just didn’t work out today.  I was worried about the idiots when you come here and I was the guy that caused that one.”  TALK ABOUT THE STRATEGY AND WAS IT THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE THAT MOVE?  “I don’t know that there’s a right time to make that move, but it was going well.  We went down the back straightaway and I thought I could get Greg out there clear of Tony and we’d be in pretty good position with 13 or 14 to go or however many laps were left, so you just do the best you can.  Sometimes things like this happen.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd) – “We’re happy with a top five and fortunately we didn’t get caught up in that wreck in three and four, but I’m a little disappointed.  We had a car that could have won today.”  YOU WERE FOURTH IN THE SPRING.  WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FINAL LAP?  “The 31 just fell off a little bit behind us and it would have been tough to pull out and make any moves without any help from behind, so I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t have done anything else there at the end.  I felt like we had a car that could have won.  It’s all about being in the right place at the right time and it was a solid day for our AAA team.  We’ve got great superspeedway cars.  The guys back at the shop really put a lot of effort into these two races.  It was a good day, but I wish it could have been a little more.”  YOU GOT SPUN ON PIT ROAD.  YOU HAD AN EVENTFUL DAY.  “Yeah, that first stop was a good stop and there was just a little miscommunication between the 70 and ourselves.  He looked like he was coming in the stall and then he checked up and then I checked up.  We were trying to be too cautious not to tear up anything.  If I would have been full throttle and just kept going, we would have probably missed him, but, nevertheless, our AAA team did a good job bouncing back.  We had good pit stops the rest of the day and our car drove good, so it was easy to make passes as long as we had some help.”  YOU DID GAIN SOME POINTS AS FAR AS THE 13TH PLACE SPOT.  “That’s our goal.  We’re certainly disappointed that we were not in that chase for the championship, but 13th is something to be proud about and that’s what we’re working towards.  We just need some more runs like today, but it still would be sweet to get a win here pretty soon.”

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – Roush Fenway Ford Fusions – TWO WEEKS AGO AT DOVER YOU HAD THE 17, 16 AND 99 BATTLING FOR THE WIN AND EVERYONE TALKED ABOUT HOW GREAT THE DAY ENDED.  TODAY IT WAS THE OPPOSITE.  “I feared the result at Dover that we had here.  Talladega is really a tough race.  We’ve won twice here in 22 years with multiple cars.  We don’t have much of an average.  We had great cars.  The engines ran really well.  The Ford support was awesome and the engineers did their job.  It came right down to the final judgment of people deciding how aggressive they could be and, of course, Carl wound up pushing harder on Greg than he could stand.  NASCAR had set that up by allowing people to push all day.  All day long people pushed in the corners and pushed in the tri-oval and pushed in the straightaway and pushed all the way around the race track.  It was real clear to me and I think it was clear to everybody, including Carl, that if you weren’t willing to push the car in front of you, then you couldn’t advance as well as somebody else would that was doing the pushing.  But he pushed too hard and, of course, the worst possible result occurred.  He collected the 28, which was the pole-sitter.  He collected Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle and really just predisposed a bad result.  David Ragan ran clean all day.  If we would have had several of our cars that could have pushed on one another and cooperated, I think we would have had the prospect of winning here, but it seems that on days when you’re as good as you might be – as we were in the truck race and as we were here today – it’s just awful hard to get the result.”

DAVID RAGAN PRESS CONFERENCE – “It was a long day for us after starting in the back and coming to the front a couple of times.  I felt like we had a car that could have won and, basically, there at the end I just didn’t have any teammates.  For that matter, we didn’t have any Fords on the race track, I think, so I was kind of at my own mercy.  Again, we had a car that could have won today with the right circumstances and the right people behind us, but nevertheless it was a solid day for us.  We always seem to be pretty fast here on the superspeedway tracks, so that just goes to show you how much effort our Roush Fenway team is putting into this program.  It was a nice day, but I wish I had a little bit more to show for it there at the end.” 

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENTS WITH MONTOYA AND HARVICK?  “I think with Montoya he just had a good run and it’s a deal where you’re looking at that yellow line and certainly he doesn’t want to cross it, and I’ve got just enough distance between my car and the yellow line, where he can’t fit in between it but it looks like you can, and, basically, he just had a good run and I squeezed on him.  I was fortunate that he didn’t take us out and it didn’t take him out.  And then with Harvick, we worked very well all day together.  For some reason when you’re on that bottom lane, all of the pushing and shoving seems to be worse on the bottom than in the middle or the top.  Whoever was behind me was pushing me extremely hard and I was right on the 29s back bumper and I just got a shot getting into turn three and relayed the shot to Kevin.  Again, I’m glad that he didn’t get totaled out in that wreck, and then he came back and I guess he got back in the wreck there in turns three and four, but it was tough racing.  Certainly when you can see the checkered flag close, if you’re in the last 15-20 laps, everybody starts racing a little bit harder and not cutting much slack.  But we were fortunate to be able to dodge both of those incidents.  It could have been big.” 

WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF IF YOU CAN PASS UNDER THE YELLOW LINE?  IS IT WHEN YOU CAN SEE THE FLAGMAN?  “I didn’t hear that.  I don’t know.  If it’s anything goes, when you can see the flagman coming to the checkered, maybe that’s just one of those little rules that they don’t say you can do but you can.  I don’t know.  If I would have known that, I might have run down pit road and seen if I could have beat them that way.  I don’t know.  When you see the checkered flag, you’re trying to do all you can and certainly he’s doing all he can.  I probably would have done the same thing and you never know.  Maybe they could have seen it where the 20 blocked him down there and he could have won the race and everything would have been great.  Yeah, it’s a shame to have a good run and put you back in the back like that, but I guess I need to do a little bit more research and, if that’s the case, I’m gonna drive down pit road next time.” 

HOW MUCH OF THE DAY DO YOU SPEND LEARNING ON TRACKS LIKE THIS?  “All day.  You learn who is good behind you at times.  I could notice when a car behind me couldn’t push me very well and then some cars could.   The 28 of Travis Kvapil was a great pusher.  When he was behind me it seemed like we really worked well together, so you’re just mentally logging notes in all day long.  Sometimes I mention some things over the radio and hopefully my crew chief or my spotter can remind me later on.  Some cars I was really good behind, so, yeah, constantly throughout the day you’re judging your race car versus some of the other guys and you’re playing circumstances through your mind.  When I’m sitting in my Ford – on the red flag – you’re thinking about what you would do in certain instances and you can just about predict what’s gonna happen at certain times, but you never know what’s gonna come out on the other end.  So you learn a lot.  Five hundred miles is a long race and you just try to soak it all in.”

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