Under the Spotlight: David Ragan Delivers at Texas with First Career Pole and Best Finish of Season

Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
David Ragan earned his first career pole during qualifying for Saturday’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, his best start since entering the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2006.

Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing, holds his best qualifying average of 14.5 at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.

During Friday’s qualifying session, he put down a lap time of 189.820 mph, just ahead of teammate Carl Edwards, who had a lap time of 188.521 mph.

“I don’t know how we pulled that off but it was really fast,” said Ragan. “I have to give credit to our UPS team and Drew Blickensderfer who made a gutsy call. We made our last qualifying run in practice and we decided to change the car up a little bit. It stuck and did what it needed to do. I really like this place, it is a fun place to come and it is cool to get a pole here. Hopefully we can turn that into a good run tomorrow.”

Prior to Saturday’s race, this season Ragan had no wins or top 5s and only two top 10s in the past seven races. This weekend, Ragan not only claimed the first pole of his career, but he also finished seventh in the Samsung Mobile 500, his best finish so far this season.

Aside from Texas, his best finishes this year came at Bristol and Auto Club Speedway, where he finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Ragan’s best finish in the point standings to date came in 2008 when he finished 13th. After finding himself sitting twenty-something in the standings for two consecutive years, Ragan is currently 17th in the points race.

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Not only did he have something to celebrate with winning the pole and his best finish of the season, but Ragan’s team, Roush Fenway Racing, also had quite a few reasons to celebrate this weekend.

The organization had three of its cars start in the top four, with Ragan on the pole, Carl Edwards in second and Matt Kenseth in fourth, in what was almost a 1-2-3 start, separated only by Clint Bowyer.

Three Roush Fenway teams also finished in the top four with Kenseth stealing the win, Edwards finishing third and Greg Biffle fourth.

They also swept this weekend in Texas winning both poles and both races, including Kenseth’s win in Saturday’s race and Edwards’s win in Friday’s Nationwide Series race.

Ragan’s fellow teammate, Edwards, took back the points lead and Kenseth also sits within the top-10 in the standings.

On the grand scheme of things, Ragan explained, “When you’re fast in practice, when you do that, you eventually qualify on the pole. And if you finish second, fifth and eighth, you’ll eventually win a race. Ultimately, that’s our main goal.”

Next week the Sprint Cup Series visits legendary Talladega and Ragan will make an attempt at another first in his career – his first NSCS win.
Under the Spotlight: David Ragan Delivers at Texas with First Career Pole and Best Finish of Season Under the Spotlight: David Ragan Delivers at Texas with First Career Pole and Best Finish of Season Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 Rating: 5