TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
David Ragan – Notes & Quotes
Richmond International Raceway – April 22, 2016
BK Racing driver David Ragan was made available to the media at Richmond International Raceway:
DAVID RAGAN, No. 23 sweetFrog Toyota Camry, BK Racing
How does the rain and the likelihood of qualifying being rained out change your strategy for the weekend?
“It really changes it when we first get here because we typically would unload in race trim and it’s a new tire this weekend. We would spend some time in race trim with our race setup before we switched over, but a lot of teams elected to go right into qualifying trim. We didn’t. We ran a little race setup the first couple of runs in practice just to get a baseline to have something to work on for tomorrow. For us, it’s going to be really warm on Sunday and so the race track here at Richmond is very temperature sensitive and it is sensitive to the amount of rubber so I know anytime we have a new tire Goodyear is always a little – not concerned but they pay attention to the amount of sunlight, the amount of rubber that lays down on the race track. I’m sure that the rest of the weekend looks great and we’ll have our opportunity to have some practices tomorrow and the XFINITY race we’ll get a chance to run. So, I think everything looks good but just from a team’s perspective those two practices tomorrow will be really important.”
What do you feel like has been the best asset that you’ve brought to BK Racing this season?
“I think my experience and driving the Toyotas that I got to drive last year we were able to incorporate some of what I learned last year into the cars that we got to start this year. Obviously our fleet of inventory were Michael Waltrip Racing’s primary cars for the second half of last season so I had the opportunity to drive some of the cars and understand some of the good and the bad that were associated with them. I think for us we’ve just got to stay diligent and focused on small goals. We can’t look at that leader on the pylon every weekend and say we want to be setting on poles, we want to be fastest in practice, we want to lead every lap in every race. There’s some teams that can look at that but we’ve got to be more realistic. We’ve got to look at top-20s and top-15s and kind of walk before we run. So, I think that just my experience with the race cars and driving for some big teams and driving for some small teams over the course of my career I’ve been able to keep a level head and try to help Matt (DiBenedetto) some. I think Matt has got a ton of talent. He’s fast, he’s a good race car driver and he’s a good person so we’ve been able to kind of push each other along the way. It’s been a fun ride so far.”
Will you have the same Toyota at Talladega next weekend that you drove there last year for Michael Waltrip Racing?
“I don’t know for sure but I think yes. I think I will have the same car that I raced last year in the fall at Talladega. We were running great, we had a small oil leak and got black-flagged and I think we were running in the top-seven or eight in the closing laps. We’ll have I believe the same car. But, for us, like I talked about on Chris’ question, it’s just being very realistic with our expectations and having some small victories. Obviously, Matt’s (DiBenedetto) run last weekend at a tough race track but it’s a track that we can run well at. We both ran well at Phoenix. We have high expectations coming here. We had a good day at Martinsville. Some of the tracks that are on the second half of the schedule – I’m excited about the road course races. Our cars were extremely fun to drive at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen, and then anything can happen at Talladega. We’ve proven that in the past with the smaller team. So, looking forward to a lot of tracks the second half of the year.”
What does it mean to BK Racing to have Matt DiBenedetto’s sixth-place finish at Bristol?
“I think it’s a big motivation for our shop employees, for our sponsors, our partners, our relationship with Toyota on a short term and long term. I think short term it definitely creates some momentum. Some potential sponsors we’re working on, maybe some ones that we recently signed and sit back and say, ‘Man that was a great run. Got a lot of publicity from that run and build some confidence.’ All which is good for the next few weeks but long term that’s good for Matt’s (DiBenedetto) career, it’s good for BK Racing’s career. Obviously you have to start somewhere. You have to start sixth before you finish third or before you can win these races. It’s just the next step. It’s not a grand slam, but it’s the next base over. It’s a little closer to home plate. So, that’s how I’ve tried to perceive it and we were extremely happy this week. Obviously our Dr. Pepper team, we had an engine failure and didn’t finish the race but Matt was able to have a good day and so the morale around the shop was really good and it just shows that if everything lines up and if we all do our jobs and we don’t have any part failures and if we have a decent car we have the capability to finish in the top-10 or top-15 at a lot of tracks. Like you said, we still have some tough dates in front of us that we’re going to have to address and get better but we do have some good things working too. We just need to stay focused.”