Ragan Races Back to Talladega
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on October 18, 2013 | 3:33 P.M. EST
Ragan is looking to become the first driver to sweep races at Talladega Superspeedway since 2007. (Photo: Getty Images)
David Ragan is looking to become the first driver to sweep races at Talladega Superspeedway since Jeff Gordon with a win in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500.
Ragan won the year’s first visit to the 2.66-mile speedway and scored a major upset victory for the unheralded Front Row Motorsports team. The Georgia native enjoys restrictor plate racing and is anxious for this weekend’s racing at Talladega.
“The Talladega races are always special,” said Ragan. “I am a NASCAR fan and I enjoy this style of racing and I enjoy coming here and being a part of the show. I am as big a fan as everyone so I will be sitting back watching the truck race on Saturday and having fun getting ready for the race on Sunday.”
Gordon was the last driver to take both Talladega races in a season back in 2007 and Ragan has a chance to do the same on Sunday. While he embraces the style of racing and has confidence coming back to the track, Ragan knows it will take several things to fall into place in order to make another visit to Victory Lane.
“If we have a car with speed that is able to draft well that doesn’t lose the draft and handles well in the middle of three or four-wide then we will have a shot to win,” he said. “If we can just be there at the end, 500 miles is a long race here, hopefully we can be in contention with a handful of laps to go and then we will see what happens.”
Ragan and teammate David Gilliland were able to draft together back in May to give Front Row a 1-2 finish. But because of the variables racing at Talladega, he knows the two working together again Sunday may be easier said than done.
“I think the chances are not in our favor,” said Ragan. “You never know what may happen but I don’t think the chances for that perfect storm happening two consecutive races is probably not realistic. The chances of us both having a good day are realistic and you just never know.
“You have to control the things that you can control and if I can do that and David can do that with this team, we may be in that same situation again but we are certainly not counting on any situation like that to just come out of thin air late in the race.”
While the challenge of Sunday lies ahead, Ragan and Gilliland both know they’ll be back in the fold at Front Row again next year. The team announced earlier this week it had re-signed the duo for 2014 and Ragan believes it will help get a head start on the new campaign.
“We are excited to have that in our back pocket, David Gilliland and myself coming back to Front Row Motorsports next year,” he said. “It is important to start as early as you can prepping for the 2014 season. I know a lot of the guys are getting cars ready for next year already.”
Another solid day Sunday at Talladega and battling for the victory might be the best way to Ragan and company to move forward in their 2014 plans.
“In order to be competitive out of the gate you need to start working on it as soon as possible,” Ragan said of finishing his contract for next year. “We were glad to get that done and we have gotten a lot better performance wise over the last year and a half in my time at Front Row Motorsports. It is a smaller team with a smaller budget compared to some of our counterparts but we have given a lot of effort and a lot of hard work and made a lot of gains.
“Hopefully we can keep the momentum going this off season and into next year and continue to have a good story to tell.”
Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will have live coverage of Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 500 from Talladega Superspeedway at 1 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.