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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spring Talladega winner David Ragan reflects on return to the track this weekend

David Ragan, driver of the No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion, gave Front Row Motorsports its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory when he won the Aaron’s 399 at Talladega Superspeedway in May.  As the circuit prepares to head back to Talladega for this weekend’s race, Ragan reflected on that victory with Ford Racing.

WHAT KIND OF THOUGHTS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT GOING BACK TO TALLADEGA AFTER WINNING THE LAST TIME THERE?  “It’s cool going back as the defending champion and fun to go back to a track where you’ve recently won a Sprint Cup race.  I certainly feel like we have a lot of confidence going back to Talladega.  We know that if we play our cards right, if everyone executes their job with no mistakes, we’ll have a shot to win again.  But it’s easier said than done.  Talladega is a very, very hard track to run 500 miles at with no mistakes.  Even if you do that with no mistakes and you have a shot to win, it’s hard to do it, but it can be done and we’re looking forward to going back for sure.”

DO PEOPLE STILL COME UP TO YOU ON A REGULAR BASIS AND TALK ABOUT THAT WIN?  “I get it a lot.  Obviously, a couple of weeks after the Talladega win that was what most everyone talked about, but even six months later I still get fans, friends and guys on the team who relive that day and that moment.  That’s good because there are a lot of struggles in the world of Sprint Cup racing.  Your winning percentage is not anywhere near 50, 40, 30 percent, so it is a tough sport and it’s fun to go back and relive that moment, and it’s neat that a lot of people were watching that evening and enjoyed the win as much as we did.”

WHEN YOU DRIVE FOR JACK ROUSH YOU’RE EXPECTED TO WIN RACES BECAUSE IT’S A BIG ORGANIZATION WITH A LOT OF RESOURCES, BUT FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS ISN’T LIKE THAT.  DID THAT MAKE WINNING AT TALLADEGA MORE SATISFYING FOR YOU BECAUSE OF THE SITUATION YOUR CURRENT TIME IS IN?  “Yeah, no question the win with Front Row Motorsports meant a little bit more than the win that we had with Roush Fenway.  Both wins were incredible days and big wins, and even the top teams that have won hundreds of races and championships over the year, they still are really, really pumped up when they win a Sprint Cup race.  But I think this will always mean more because it was our team’s first win.  This is a building organization with a lot of potential for the future and they’ve only been around for a few years, so to get that first win you’ve got to start with one before you get to two before you get to three, so that’s something that you’ll always remember.  You always remember your first win and you always remember your most recent win.  A lot of the ones in the middle you don’t always remember, but to see Bob Jenkins and Jerry Freeze and Jay Guy after the race was a fun time for everyone and we’ve certainly enjoyed keeping it fresh in our memories.”

YOUR 250TH CAREER SPRINT CUP START WILL BE THIS WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?  “That’s a lot of consecutive starts and something I don’t take for granted.  I’m very fortunate to have a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup Series.  There are thousands of men and women out there that would love to be in my shoes, so I do take it serious and we work as hard as we can to try to get better.  It would mean the world to me to help Front Row Motorsports continue to get better and continue to prosper.  We’ve made a lot of good friends with everyone in the garage over the years, but one of the best is Bob Jenkins and his family and everyone here at Front Row.  So it really has been a good ride and we hope to keep it going.  I’m only 27 years old and I feel like I’ve got a lot of time left in this sport.  I feel like I’m a smarter driver today than I was a year ago, and we’re gonna keep working hard and I guarantee we’re gonna win some more races.”


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