Unadilla's David Ragan drove through the field to an impressive season-high fourth-place finish in Saturday night’s Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
“That was a really good run for our UPS team,” said Ragan. “We got held up in the pits early in the race under green and had to fight back a bit after going a lap down, but our guys did a great job tonight. I’ve got to thank everyone back at the shop for putting together a great car for us tonight.
“This is one of my favorite tracks to come to and it’s been one of our worst tracks the past couple of seasons, so that shows you just how good our race cars have gotten. The key tonight for us was forward bite. Our UPS Ford could get around the corner really, really well. We’d stay just about even with everyone for 10 to 15 laps and then we could just really rocket off the corners and get by some of those guys. I like racing at the short tracks, and to come here and get a top-five finish when you know your car is a top-five car, feels good.”
Ragan started the race 27th and with his Ford Fusion ‘loose’ early, he fell back to 29th by lap nine. He would rebound strong however, overcoming an early mishap in the pits and exhibiting one of the fastest cars on the track en route to moving up inside the top 20 by lap 70. After going a lap down early, Ragan battled back onto the lead lap – earning the lucky dog - on lap 238 and he never looked back.
Running 18th on lap 292 when the day’s seventh caution was issued, crew chief Drew Blickensderfer opted to stay out and Ragan started fourth; gaining valuable track position in the process.
After the team pitted under the next caution, Ragan restarted 14th and while turning the fastest laps on the race track for the final 50 laps drove his No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion inside the top 10 on lap 352. By lap 282 Ragan had passed Roush Fenway teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards to move inside the top five to fourth.
He then pulled away from Edwards and cruised to the strong fourth-place finish. With the finish Ragan moved up one spot to 19th in the Sprint Cup point standings.
Ragan and the No. 6 UPS team return to action next weekend at Darlington Raceway. Ragan has one top five and a top 10 finish in four-career Sprint Cup starts at the track “Too Tough to Tame.”