CORNELIUS, N.C. — When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series holds its second and final road course race of the season this weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y) International, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver David Ragan hopes his Toyota will be as fast in New York as it was in California in June.
Ragan raced in sixth with just 35 laps remaining at Sonoma (Cal.) Raceway in June before an accident on a restart ruined his bid for victory. Watkins Glen and Sonoma Raceway are the only road courses on the 2015 schedule, but Ragan insists each is very different.
ROAD COURSE COMPARISON: “I think Watkins Glen presents a certain set of challenges compared to Sonoma. Sonoma is a slower pace and a little bit more technical. Watkins Glen is super-fast then you brake really hard before you go super-fast and brake really hard again. That means you have to take care of your brakes. You also have to make sure you get through the Esses and down the long back straightaway before you get to the bus stop. That’s the most critical part of the lap. You can pass getting into the bus stop because you have to use a lot of brake. Guys that may stumble or have an issue coming out of the Esses will pay for it going down that long back straightaway. That’s what we will work on Friday.
“Sonoma is a good indicator of how everyone will run at Watkins Glen. The race cars are kind of similar. The teams put a lot of effort behind their road course programs these days. Years ago, teams could go and test at places like Road Atlanta, VIR and Kershaw to try to improve on their road course cars. Without testing, you only have Sonoma now and you just try to improve from an engineering standpoint at the race shop. In my opinion the cars fast at Sonoma will also be at Watkins Glen.”
WATKINS GLEN EXPECTATIONS: “We had a great weekend at Sonoma. Our Aaron’s Dream Machine was fast. We qualified well, our strategy was great but we just didn't make it to the end. Obviously, Watkins Glen is another road course so we have high expectations. I think it is important that we qualify well, keep our Toyota out of trouble and if we can just make it to those final few laps it will be fun.”
WATKINS GLEN MEMORY: “One of my memories is the hard wreck in 2011 I had at the bottom of the Esses with myself, Boris Said and David Reutimann. We were racing for 14th, 15th and 16th. Boris hooked me in the right rear quarter panel and sent me head on into the guardrail. I came back across the track then caught Reutimann. It turned into a heck of a wreck with David flipping. Weird thing is that was MWR’s Aaron’s Dream Machine he was driving that day. Fortunately, he was OK. That memory always stands out and makes the highlight reel every year.”
· WATCH DAVID RAGAN ATTEMPT MORE WORLD RECORDS: David fell short of a world record when he tried to crack 32 eggs with one hand as well as eat Jell-O with chopsticks. The bid to eat 10 crackers in a minute didn’t work out well either. So, Ragan is back in pursuit of world records. He tries to blow up a balloon until it pops in less than 13 seconds, walk 10 meters foot-to-toe in less than 11 seconds and stick 60 sticky notes on his face in less than a minute. Find out how all this turns out by going to Michael Waltrip Racing’s YouTube page!
- 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.
- 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:
· 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, August 7
11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBCSN
1 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN
3:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN
4:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN
6 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN
Saturday, August 8
11 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, CNBC
1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN
2:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green, NBCSN
3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen, NBCSN
Sunday, August 9
11 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Watkins Glen, FOX Sports 1
1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Countdown to Green, NBCSN
2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It at The Glen, NBCSN
5 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Post-Race Show, NBCSN
11 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN
12:30 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1