CORNELIUS, N.C. — Count David Ragan as a fan of NASCAR’s new aerodynamic package that debuted Saturday night in the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.
The driver of the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine drove from his 25th starting spot to third before late race handling issues dropped him to 18th.
His 107 green flag passes was the third most of any driver during the 400-mile race.
“I felt like I had to drive really hard all night long just to keep up with the cars around me,” said the Michael Waltrip Racing driver who posted the 13th-best average running position during the race.
NASCAR mandated teams reduce the rear spoiler from 6 to 3.5 inches, cars also had front splitters expanded by 25 inches with an overhang reduced by 1.75 inches. The new rules produced 13 lead changes among eight drivers and a track-record 22 green-flag passes for the lead.
“The combination of Kentucky Speedway that produces good racing normally and the new rules package made for a really fun race. I hope we use this package for all the 1.5-mile tracks.”
Ragan said it was obvious from the moment teams took to the track on Friday the new rules would make a huge impact.
“If you were there Friday and saw how many cars were sideways in practice you knew what was coming for the race. If you watched on television Saturday, you saw a lot of side-by-side passing. However, if you were sitting in the grandstand you saw even more because all of us were battling out there no matter where we were running.
“I was racing as hard when I was 25th at the beginning of the race as I was in third midway through the race.”
The Kentucky race is just the first of several new rule packages announced for upcoming races.
Cars will carry higher drag at Michigan and Indianapolis while lower downforce and higher grip tires are expected at Darlington. Richmond race will run with higher grip tires.
“It’s going to make it hard on the drivers and teams racing without testing the packages a lot but that’s OK. Fans want to see us racing side-by-side and we want to race side-by-side,” said the 29-year-old Georgian. “If we can put on the best show for the television audience and fans in the stands then everyone in the sport wins.”
WATCH DAVID RAGAN ATTEMPT NEW WORLD RECORDS: Is it possible to crack 32 eggs with one hand? How much Jell-O can David eat in one minute with a pair of chopsticks? How many crackers can a person really eat in a minute? Find out now by going to Michael Waltrip Racing’s YouTube page and watching Ragan attempt to eclipse these world records! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWhdgpyAsk0
· RACE FOR RESEARCH SUCCESS: The LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation's second Annual Race for Research held July 6-8 has nearly reached its goal of raising $50,000. More than 50 people participated in the three-day road rally that included teams in decaled passenger cars navigating through NASCAR country stopping along the way at designated "pit stops," answering scavenger hunt questions, meeting a NASCAR Hall of Fame member each day and even taking laps on famous speedways. Both Ragan and Austin Dillion met with the group. Ragan and wife Jacquelyn served as the event’s honorary chairman for the second consecutive year.
· 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:
- CAREER STATISTICS:
- AARON’S: The Atlanta-based company, with more than 2,100 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.
· FANTERN: MWR is offering fans a chance to become an official MWR Fantern. This person will get the opportunity to be an “intern” on race day with MWR; duties including helping the pit crews with set-up activities, attending driver appearances and getting full access to the pit and garage areas. Fans can write in a submission to email@example.com or share a video on our social channels explaining why they should be the Fantern at the race of their choosing during the 2015 season.
Friday, July 17
11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBC Sports Network
3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBC Sports Network
4:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBC Sports Network
Saturday, July 18
10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, CNBC
11 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBC Sports Network
12:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBC Sports Network
3 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network
3:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green, NBC Sports Network
4 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200, NBC Sports Network
Sunday, July 19
10:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 1
Noon, NASCAR America Sunday, NBC Sports Network
1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Countdown to Green, NBC Sports Network
1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire race, NBC Sports Network
5 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Post-Race Show, NBC Sports Network
11 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap, NBC Sports Network
Midnight, NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1