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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: AMP Energy 500

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  AMP Energy 500

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: AMP Energy 500

David Ragan
October 5, 2008


THE MODERATOR: We have our third-place finisher after review upstairs, David Ragan. David, your thoughts about today's race.
DAVID RAGAN: Well, it was a long day, of course, after starting in the back, coming to the front a couple of times. Basically there at the end, we didn't have any Fords on the racetrack, I didn't think. I was kind of at my own mercy.
Again, we had a car that could have won today with the right circumstances and the right people behind us. Nevertheless, solid day for us. We always seem to be pretty fast here on the superspeedway track, so that just goes to show you how much effort our Roush Fenway team is putting into this program.
It was a nice day, but I wish I had a little bit more to show for it there at the end.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for David Ragan.

Q. David, there were a couple of instances on the track where you had some contact, one with Juan, then Kevin. Explain both of those. And with restrictor plate racing, do drivers go back and apologize?
DAVID RAGAN: I think with Montoya, he just had a good run. You know, it's a deal where you're looking at that yellow line. Certainly he doesn't want to cross it. And I've got just enough distance between my car and the yellow line where he can't fit in between it, but it looks like he can. Basically he just had a good run. He didn't take us out, we didn't take him out.
Then with Harvick, we worked very well all day together. You're on the bottom. For some reason when you're on that bottom line, it seems to be worse on the bottom than it is on the middle or the top. Whoever was behind me was pushing me extremely hard. I was right on the 29's back bumper. I just got a shot getting into turn three and relayed the shot to Kevin.
Again, glad that he didn't get totaled out in that wreck. He came back, and I guess he got back in the wreck in turns three and four.
Just, you know, tough racing. Certainly when you can see the checkered flag, when you're in the last 15 to 20 laps, everybody starts racing a little bit harder, not cutting much slack. Just fortunate that we were just, you know, able to dodge both of those. It could have been big.

Q. The two-time defending champion of this series, he thought that Regan Smith made the right move and he himself would have made the same move. He said there was a lot of talk this morning that you can pass when you can see the flag coming out of the last lap.
DAVID RAGAN: I didn't hear that. I don't know. I mean, if it's anything goes, when you can see the flag coming to the checkered, maybe that's just one of those little rules that they don't say you can do but you can. I don't know. If I would have known that, I might have would have run down pit road and seen if I could have beat him that way. I don't know.
But, you know, when you see the checkered flag, you're trying to do all you can, and certainly he's doing all he can. I probably would have done the same thing. You never know. Maybe they could have seen it where the 20 blocked him down there and he could have won the race and everything would have been great. Yet it's a shame to have a good run and put you back in the back like that.
I guess I need to do a little bit more research. If that's the case, I'm going to drive down pit road next time.

Q. David, you've run from my count maybe eight or nine of these restrictor plate races. How much of the day do you spend learning from the other guys that you're around? At one point you were sandwiched between Harvick and Stewart. Those guys are two of the best. How much of the day do you spend learning?
DAVID RAGAN: All day. You learn who's good behind you. At times I could notice when a car behind me couldn't push me very well, and then some cars could. The 28, Travis Kvapil, was a great pusher when he was behind me. It seemed like we really worked well together. You're kind of mentally logging notes in all day long. Sometimes I'll mention some things over the radio and hope that my crew chief or spotter can remind me later on, some cars I was really good behind.
So, yeah, constantly throughout the day you're judging your racecar versus some of the other guys, and you're playing circumstances through your mind. When I'm sitting in my Ford, on the red flag, you're thinking about what you would do in certain instances. You can just about predict what's going to happen at certain times, but you never know what's going to come out on the other end.
So, yeah, you learn a lot. 500 miles is a long race. You just try to soak it all in.
THE MODERATOR: We'll release David Ragan. Congratulations.

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