CORNELIUS, N.C. — Like most in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, David Ragan doesn’t know what to expect with a new aerodynamic package in Sunday’s 400-mile race at Michigan International Speedway.
But, he has some ideas.
NASCAR introduced the high-drag, high downforce package at Indianapolis to create more side-by-side racing. Cars will carry a heightened nine-inch spoiler with a one-inch wicker bill plus a bigger radiator pan. The No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver thinks the changes will make for a better race and also play into his Michael Waltrip Racing team’s favor. Ragan started third and led twice for five laps at Indy.
RAGAN ON MICHIGAN RULES: “Since the Michigan racing surface is wider and the track has more banking we should be able to run a little tighter through the corners. When you throw in the drafting down the straightaways it should make for tighter packs. I don’t think you are going to see the packs like you do at restrictor plate tracks, but you will see some tighter packs that are two-and-three wide. Drafting will be important down the straightaways because you have so much speed in the corners you really aren’t going to out brake or drive in deeper than the others. This race could be all about momentum. Whoever can get hooked up with another car, maybe run the outside groove, then sustain their momentum down the straightaway will have a shot to win the race.”
ADAPTING TO NEW RULES: “Our Aaron’s team had a pretty good handle on the high-drag, high-downforce package at Indianapolis. Obviously, we’ve tried to build on that run and improve the package. Michigan will be a different style of race. Hopefully we can have the same speed we had at Indy and play our cards right so we can be at the right position at the end of the race to try to get a win. It should be different than the June race for sure and hopefully we can adapt quicker to the rules than the other teams.”
MONDAY’S PASSING OF NASCAR LEGEND BUDDY BAKER: “Buddy was retired from racing before I was old enough to follow the sport closely. Through his time in the broadcast booth, on the radio networks and doing different charity functions I got to know Buddy pretty well. My favorite Buddy Baker story was back during the Charlotte Media Tour several years ago. I was supposed to give him a birthday cake. I was going to pretend to slip and fall while giving it to him. The problem was I really slipped and dumped the cake in his lap all over his nice shirt and pants. (ßpictured) He stood up and it was all over him. We laughed about that ever since. Buddy was certainly a cool character and kind of what NASCAR is all about—guys who like to go fast and have fun. He was well respected in the garage.”
· BRING IN THE MAGICIAN: Michael Waltrip Racing brought in magician Bryan Saint to see if they could give driver Ragan a little “Michigan Magic” in time for Sunday’s race. Visit Michael Waltrip Racing’s YouTube Channel or click here to watch!
· MICHIGAN APPEARANCE: Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, David Ragan and Casey Mears are scheduled to appear at Keloorah at Michigan International Speedway on Friday night following musical performances. NSCS Sunday ticket holders can attend, but must obtain a wristband. Click here for more information.
· FLAT ROCK APPEARANCE: Ragan will be at Flat Rock Speedway Saturday, to meet race fans and sign autographs prior to the start of the racing program that night. “I always enjoy visiting the local short tracks and communities as we travel around the country on the NASCAR Sprint Cup tour,” said Ragan. “It’s especially nice to have a chance to get back to tracks I’ve raced at like Flat Rock, and to reconnect with a lot of the friends I made when I raced in the ARCA Racing Series. The ARCA family has always been real, real close to our racing family over the years. Ragan’s father Ken Ragan raced in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards from 1982-1991 and went on to drive in the NASCAR XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series. David Ragan made 31 career ARCA Racing Series starts from 2003-2008, winning at Lanier National Speedway in Georgia, before advancing to NASCAR. “Driving race cars at short tracks like Flat Rock and in tour events like the ARCA Series was a great help in developing my skills,” said David Ragan. “It’s a big factor in having the opportunity I have today to drive the Aaron’s Dream Machine for Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I’m looking forward to meeting the fans and seeing some great short track racing at Flat Rock.”
· AARON’S: The Atlanta-based company, with more than 2,000 stores across the country, helps customers own the life they want. Aaron’s carries only the best brand names in furniture, electronics, and appliances with a variety of flexible payment options. It’s really easy to “Own It” at Aaron’s with customers who are now pre-approved for up to $2,500 in merchandise – no credit needed.
· No. 55 CREW CHIEF BRIAN PATTIE: Pattie, 40, joined MWR in 2012 when it formed the No. 15 team-leading driver Clint Bowyer to three victories and a second-place finish in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Zephyrhills, Fla., native began crew chief duties in the XFINITY Series for Joe Nemechek’s NEMCO Motorsports in 1997 before moving to a similar role at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2004. In May 2008, he moved to the Sprint Cup Series with driver Juan Montoya. The duo earned a berth in the 2009 Chase and a win at Watkins Glen in 2010. Pattie owns four Sprint Cup and 10 XFINITY Series victories as a crew chief. The father of four is an avid golfer and supporter of the Florida State Seminoles. In June 2015, MWR paired Pattie with David Ragan on its No. 55 team.
· 55 CREW:
Front Tire Changer
Front Tire Carrier
Rear Tire Changer
Rear Tire Carrier
2nd Truck Driver
· CAREER STATISTICS:
Friday, August 14
11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBCSN
1:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice, FOX Sports 1
1:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBCSN
3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, RSN/NBC Sports Live Extra
4:45 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN
6 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN
8 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice (same-day delay), FOX Sports 1
Saturday, August 15
8:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, CNBC
9:30 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1
11:15 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBC Sports Live Extra
11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, CNBC
12:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FOX Sports 1
1 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 Presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation
3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green, NBCSN
3:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio, NBCSN
Sunday, August 16
11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Michigan, FOX Sports 1
1:30 p.m., NASCAR America Sunday, NBCSN
2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Countdown to Green, NBCSN
2:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400, NBCSN
3 p.m., TUDOR United SportsCar Championship: Road America, FOX Sports 1
5:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Post-Race Show, NBCSN
11 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN
Midnight, NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1