Ford Performance NASCAR: Media Availability (David Ragan)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Friday, April 26, 2019
EVENT: GEICO 500 Media Rotations

DAVID RAGAN, No. 38 Shriners Hospitals for Children Ford Mustang – WHAT DID YOU PICK UP ON IN PRACTICE? “I think we have learned that it isn’t fun to wreck in practice so we try to be a little conservative. Right off the bat I felt my car accelerate right off the bat from pit road, a lot faster than normal at a speedway. I felt the runs were incredible. I have never been able to get such a quick run catching a car in front of me. There is a point when you stall out a little bit when you get really close because you are taking drag off the car in front of you before you actually get to the bumper. They will start to accelerate some then. I felt like I could push pretty good. I don’t think that the tandem deal that we have all thought about it going to be a reality but I do think that the cars are still pretty fast and handling will still come into play but I felt like the runs you get, 15 car lengths back to 10 to 5 are as dramatic as I have ever felt.”

THE TANDEM DOESN’T WORK BECAUSE THE CARS DON’T MATCH UP? “There are three or four factors. The cars don’t line up as well. With the rear spring rules we have the cars travel a lot more and aren’t as compliant in the rear so they bounce around more. And you have more horsepower and are able to catch up at a faster rate. The advantage of what you had in tandem doesn’t really surface because you can catch up on your own, if that makes sense. I think you will be able to hook up at times but the bumpers don’t line up good enough to push too hard.”

American Muscle

WHAT WILL SUNDAY LOOK LIKE VISUALLY? “Over 500 miles I think you will see a lot of everything. All the fans want us to run three-wide for 500 miles but that isn’t practical because the money and points isn’t paid until the checkered flag drops. I know that at the end of stages, business picks up a little bit because there are points on the line. There are going to be points where we will be single-file and guys will just kind of be cruising a little bit. 500 miles is a long race here. Nobody wants to wreck on lap 50 or 75. I think that it will be intense at periods of time because you can get really good runs. I think the leader is at a disadvantage, more so than years past, and I think that whoever leads the field will not have that advantage of back and forth like we have seen at plate races before. I think we will see passing going on, but I don’t think it is going to be crazy for 500 miles because we can’t sustain that. Guys will be wrecking.”

WILL WE SEE ANOTHER FORD FREIGHT TRAIN LIKE LAST YEAR? “No. I think the other manufacturers have gotten smarter and there is only one so many ways to skin a cat. I think that with strategy and our team efforts they were a year or two in front of everybody else and we were able to capitalize on that. Anything that is really good is only short lived because everybody else picks up on the same strategy. We saw that at the Daytona 500. The Fords have dominated the plate races the last three years because of our engine program and we all worked together but the other manufacturers got tired of getting beat up and they started working together. I don’t think you will see that domination. I hope so, but I don’t think you will see it again. We will have to figure out something else.”

CAN THE TANDEM WORK IN A SHORT BURST IF YOU NEEDED IT TO, OR CAN THE CARS JUST NOT MATCH UP ANYMORE? “I think in a perfect world you could do it for one corner and a straightaway but I don’t know that you would be able to do it for an entire lap and certainly maneuver around traffic. I think that is what made the tandem work so well years ago, you could maneuver in and around traffic. The rear springs today make the cars harsher and travel lower and it is harder to drive. That guy in the front is going to get wrecked. There aren’t too many people that want to volunteer to be that front guy. The Chevrolet nose is way too pointed too. I wouldn’t want a Chevrolet pushing me like that. There are some factors that will eliminate certain guys from doing it but I think maybe at the end of a stage or race it will be all hands on deck, but there will be a lot of risk involved.”

WHAT IS THE EXPECTATION FOR SUNDAY THEN AFTER PRACTICE? “It still isn’t clear but the expectation for me is to limit my mistakes, not have mistakes on pit road or make bonehead moves in the race and lose all my track position. If I am up front I want to race hard and hold onto my track position. If I get in the middle, three-wide, and get uncomfortable I am gonna lift a little bit and ride to the next pit stop. You have to be there at the end and there is no clear algorithm that we have seem that tells you when and where the wrecks happen. They are all over the place. You have to race by your gut and see what your gut tells you.”

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