Strong Run For Ragan

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BROOKLYN, Mich. - David Ragan matched his career best Sprint Cup Series finish Sunday with a third-place run in the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway and is closing in on a spot in the Chase.

Ragan drove his Roush Fenway Racing AAA Insurance Ford home behind teammate Carl Edwards and series point leader Kyle Busch Sunday at a track that he has always liked.

"Michigan is one of my favorites and we couldn't wait to get back here this weekend," Ragan said.

The second-year driver rebounded from a 30th-place finish at Watkins Glen to put the No. 6 team back on track.

"We always knew we could run this way if we just went a whole weekend without making many mistakes,” Ragan said. “We always seem to have fast cars and good speed, but maybe myself or the pit crew or somebody would make a mistake through the weekend, and we’d pay for it when the checkered flag fell."

Ragan credited the experience of racing at MIS in June as beneficial to Sunday's run.

"The bottom line is everything’s easier the second time around," he said. "Coming back to Michigan for the second race this year and also the second time around, we know how the track changes. I know how to pass cars a little better and what we need in our AAA Ford to turn through the middle and have good bite off."

"[Crew chief] Jimmy Fennig and I understand each other a little bit more from race to race.”

The finish moved Ragan up the Sprint Cup Series standings and he is now only 26 points out of the final Chase transfer spot with three races to go for the cut-off.

"A win would’ve been great, but the 18 and 99 were just a little better than us, and after we didn’t pit that last run, we were kind of going to be sitting ducks depending on how the cautions worked out, but I just drove as hard as I could and tried not to make any mistakes," Ragan said. "At this point in the season a third place is great, but a win would’ve been better, but a 20th would’ve been just about devastating for us, trying to make the chase.”

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