STATESVILLE, N.C. - David Ragan's last visit to a short track brought solid results - a good-handling car and a top-25 finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. A month later, the No. 34 team returns to the state of Virginia with the same Ford Fusion for another short-track race at Richmond International Raceway.
Ragan has also spent plenty of time running up front at Richmond in his Sprint Cup Series career. He has three top-five and three top-10 finishes at the .75-mile oval with a top finish of third in 2007. He finished fourth at both Sprint Cup events at the track last season.
"Richmond is one of my favorite tracks. It's a short track but you get some higher speeds than you normally don't associate with short-track racing. It's got some longer straight-aways where you can really pick it up. The key is to get good forward bite coming out of those corners, so that's what we'll be concentrating on," Ragan said.
He added, "We're taking the same car we took to Martinsville, and we had a really good weekend there. We unloaded with a really good car and just worked on making it a little bit better throughout the practices. With Richmond being a two-day show, that's going to be helpful for us. We've got one day to practice and qualify our car and get it ready to race on Saturday night. So I think we're going to be in a really good starting position when we roll off the truck Friday morning."
"Night racing is always fun, and in Richmond it's always a good show. It's just a good track to watch a race as a fan. I've sat in the stands before to watch a race and you just feel like you're right on top of the action. Most of us cut our teeth racing on Saturday nights at our local tracks, so this makes us feel right at home when we come to places like this," the Unadilla native said.
"There are a couple different things to think about when you're night racing. First off, it's obviously cooler, so you're going to have more grip. You also sometimes have to contend with the sun going down at the start of the race. It's a night race, but it's not quite dark when you start. So you might want a shaded tear-off on your helmet visor for the start that you can take off once it does get dark. And then one of the really nice things is that it's obviously cooler in the car for the driver than it is during a day race. You'll never hear anyone complaining about that part."