CONCORD, N.C. (BREAKING LIMITS RELEASE) - David Ragan earned a top-five finish in the ARCA/CRA Super Series SpeedFest 200 in an action-filled race that saw him start from the pole, fall to the back of the pack and then battle back to the front in the waning laps.
The No. 77 Premier Building Systems/Skuttle Tight/New York Life Ford qualified seventh on Saturday at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga. By virtue of a seven-car inversion after qualifying, Ragan earned the first position for the start of Sunday's 200-lap race.
Ragan paced himself for the first half of the event, coming down pit road in third position for the half-way break. Teams had 10 minutes to make any changes and decide how many tires, if any, to change. Ragan's No. 77 team decided to change all four tires, which meant he had to line up behind the cars that took no tires or two tires for the second-half restart.
Taking the green flag in 12th position, Ragan used the fresh rubber to start pushing his way back toward the front. By Lap 152 - about half-way through the second half of the race - he had climbed up to sixth. But on Lap 160, while battling for position, Ragan spun off Turns 3 and 4. After a quick trip to the pits, the driver returned to the field to restart 18th.
Once again, he set his sights on the front and started his pursuit. By a Lap 182 caution, he had fought his way back into the top 10 in the ninth position. Over the remaining laps, with the help of several cautions to bunch up the field, he gradually picked off the competition one at time, grabbing the fourth position with 10 laps to go.
Ragan needed one more yellow flag to help him catch the top three. Unfortunately, the final laps of the race went caution-free and the No. 77 Ford crossed the line in fourth for a top-five finish in the driver's home state.
Comments from David Ragan after the SpeedFest 200:
"Racing here at home is always fun. We had a good car and the inversion after qualifying worked in our favor to give us the start from the pole. The first half of the race, we were in pretty good shape with the car handling pretty good. I didn't want to get too aggressive too early, so we were happy to come into the break in third.
"Then in the second half, we got a little racier and I wound up running off the track, which set us back a bunch. But the guys did a great job on the Premier Building Systems/Skuttle Tight/New York Life Ford. It was fast, and we were able to move through the field on fresh tires. We just ran out of laps to get all the way back to the lead."