David Ragan scored his first Coors Light Pole award of his career yesterday turning a lap at 189.820 making his way around the track in 28.448 seconds. The young driver has been fast all year but has failed to turn his practice speeds into a pole award all year. Running up front at Daytona and in California after making his way through the field has definitely been a confidence builder for Ragan. his practice speeds were the fastest at Vegas but spinning out on the backstretch ruined his qualifying efforts and left him starting at the back of the field.
“First thing, I wasn’t backwards coming off of Turn 2 the way I was in Vegas, so that helped,” Ragan said. “When you’re fast in practice — and we’ve qualified in the top five, top 10 I think two or three times this year (fifth at Bristol and sixth at Fontana) — and when you do that, eventually you’re going to win a pole.
“And if you finish second, fifth and eighth, eventually you’ll win a race. I think that, ultimately, that’s our main goal. Our cars are just faster, and it’s just so much easier. I think we’re all qualifying a lot better because our cars are faster, they’re easier to drive and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel on qualifying days.”Ragan, who qualified last for the day,Ã‚Â knocked Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards (188.521 mph) off the provisional pole.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Edwards, the 15th driver to make a qualifying run,posted an exceptional lap that stood up until Ragan made his run.
“They approached it different than we did, I think,” Edwards said. “His car was good. I watched his lap and the line he drove. It looked like his car did exactly what he wanted it to do, especially through Turns 1 and 2. He was screaming fast. I don’t know exactly what he did differently, but I didn’t expect that lap time.
“We were so close. That is cool for David, though. If we had to be second to anyone in qualifying, David would be the guy. Those guys have been working really hard.”
Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth will be starting 3rd and 4th respectively putting Roush in 3 of the top 4 places on the starting grid.
After last weeks second place finish Dale Jr. has hopes that he is turning his luck around as we move into the 7th race of the season.
“I know that the fans don’t really like having a lot of Dale Jr. stories out there,” said Earnhardt, well aware of how polarizing the attention he receives can be. “But after this past week, there has probably been far too much commenting and discussion in the media about the finish. I feel like we’ve got more to do, and we need to do better. I can’t really control what happens other than that, other than what I’m doing in the race car. The media attention and focus that we’ve had this week has been great for our sponsors and great for Hendrick Motorsports and great for our relationships, and it’s great for me, too. I’m a little bit unassuming, I guess. It was a lot of exposure just to run second somewhere. Hopefully we can validate all that with a win soon.”
“We haven’t run that great here at Texas the last couple of years. We’ve run inside the top 10 in some of those races, and we did take the lead a little bit in those races,” said Earnhardt, who earned his first victory at NASCAR’s Cup level here in 2000, and led 46 laps in a ninth-place result here a year ago.
“Hopefully, we will do what we need to do in that race to try to be toward the front near the end,” he said. “I haven’t really finished well there in the last several trips. I’ll probably try to take care of my car a little better during the race. It is a very long race. I’ll try to make better decisions, better judgment calls to have my car there at the end when I need to be able to be around to get a good finish. I haven’t been able to do that in the last several trips there.”
While a lot of fans and media questioned Earnhardt’s reasoning for not giving Kevin Harvick the “bump and run” for the win like his daddy might have done, Jr had this to say in response.
“I don’t think that would have been the right thing to do,” Earnhardt said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to do that to me, to take me completely out of the race under any circumstances. I don’t have a history of doing that. It’s real easy to say that on the Internet. Really, on the Internet, it’s easy to say a lot of things. Everyone knows how I race. I try to race respectful and want the same in return. If it’s near the end of the race, I expect to run hard and be aggressive, and I expect the guys to race me hard and be aggressive. And I kind of think that’s what went down this past weekend.”
This week I am live in Texas reporting on the race so look for lots of new pictures from the race with the post race wrap up tomorrow.