David Gilliland and David Ragan both put up fast speeds at Daytona

17.01.2007: David Gilliland and David Ragan both put up fast speeds at Daytona

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 M&M’s Ford Fusion –

TUESDAY AFTERNOON WAS THE FIRST DRAFTING PRACTICE. CAN YOU SUM UP THAT SESSION? "We learned a lot. We got to run there, lead in the pack, in the back, in the middle, two-wide. Learned a lot. We’ve got some work to do, I think, on the cars.

Getting a little bit more comfortable. Ricky [Rudd, Robert Yates Racing teammate and driver of the No. 88 Snickers Ford Fusion] was able to jump in it and he said the same thing. It’s a real help having him here to help us out, and I’m glad he’s here. But we’re learning, we’re going in the right in the direction."

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS IN WHICH RICKY RUDD IS HELPING YOU? "I get out there and the track’s rough and it kind of bounces your car around. Well, obviously, the track’s rough, you can ride around there in a rental car and learn that, but being that I’ve never raced here, I don’t know is that the way it’s supposed to be, is it the way it should be, is it the way everyone’s car is or just our car or what?

So, having him get in there and and be able to say, ‘No, it definitely needs to go over the bumps better to race good,’ you know, stuff like that that I wouldn’t know otherwise."

LAST FALL YOU DID WELL AT THE OTHER RESTRICTOR-PLATE TRACK, TALLADEGA, WINNING THE POLE AND FINISHING 15TH. CAN YOU COMPARE DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA? "This is much more of handling track with the bumps and everything else, and I think that the track gives up grip, where Talladega had a lot of grip all day, no matter what, really, it seemed like.

Just handling-wise more, but Todd Parrott’s [crew chief] got a lot of experience here and has got a lot of success, so I’m sure [Wednesday] we’ll be better and learn some more."

YOU WERE THE FASTEST OVERALL IN MONDAY’S PRACTICE, AND WERE SEVENTH IN TUESDAY’S MORNING PRACTICE. "It gives you a lot of confidence, and will gives us confidence coming back here knowing that we’ve got some good cars in qualifying trim. Now, we just have to work on race trim. Whenever you come to a test like this it’s a two-part deal: You’ve got qualifying and you’ve got race stuff.

We’ve got our qualifying deal where we’re feeling confident and comfortable with both cars – the 88 was comfortable, and the 38 – so we’re real comfortable with our qualifying package. Ricky had his to where he raced really well, so [Wednesday] we’ll try some of that stuff and see what we can pull together."

HISTORY SEEMS TO BE ON YOUR SIDE, TOO. ROBERT YATES RACING AND CREW CHIEF TODD PARROTT HAVE HAD PLENTY OF SUCCESS HERE. "Exactly. The only way to get better is to try new things and that’s what we did [yesterday] and [today] we’ll go back to what Todd knows works and see where we end up."


DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion – YOU WERE SECOND IN DRAFTING PRACTICE ON TUESDAY. "Yeah, that’s pretty good. Definitely out there in the draft really anything can happen, but certainly it’s good to be near the top. It’s good momentum for everybody coming back here in a few weeks and it’s good for the guys back at the shop to see the car that they spent months and months preparing toward the top of the charts. And I feel like all the Roush cars are pretty good in the draft. We all could pick up another tenth or two by ourselves and be a little more happy, but we’re pleased and still and have a little more work to do."

WE’VE ALWAYS HEARD THAT CONFIDENCE CAN TAKE AN ATHLETE BEYOND WHAT HE MAY ORDINARILY DO. HAS TUESDAY’S PRACTICE SESSION HELPED? "It’s certainly added to the collection. Confidence is a very powerful thing, and you see that in any type of major league sporting team, including the top NASCAR teams.

It’s good for everybody to see up top the board, and we’re certainly not going to start slacking off and feel like we’ve got everything under control because Jimmy Fennig [crew chief] will remind us that we’ve got plenty of work to do to be better when we come back down here in a few weeks."

HAVE YOU HAD ANY EXPERIENCES SIMILAR TO THIS ONE WHERE A NUMBER OF TEAMS ARE TESTING TOGETHER OVER A FEW DAYS? "Not at this magnitude. This is definitely the top drivers and top teams, as many people around as I’ve been a part of. Also being down here last year in the Scotts truck and being down here in some ARCA testing, but definitely this is amazing to see all of the people and the fans that come out just for testing, to see cars one at a time going around the track. This is exciting for me, and it’s good to have the AAA car up near the front."

THIS MUST MAKE FOR A GOOD LEARNING EXPERIENCE. IT IS A RELAXED ATMOSPHERE, BUT YOU CAN GET IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK REGARDING YOUR PERFORMANCE. "And it’s nothing like you have to do it in a certain amount of time. You go to these other races and you’ve got an hour to practice for qualifying, you qualify, then it’s time for a short Happy Hour, then you race, where you come down here and you don’t have to really go hard right off the bat.

You have a little bit of time to where you can build up to it, and for myself, not having a lot of experience, that’s a good thing, and hopefully situations like this will help me when we get later into the year where we’re showing up at places like Dover and Charlotte with limited track time and we have to line up and race."

WHAT IS THE PRACTICE PLAN FOR WEDNESDAY? "We’re going to try and pick up one more tenth with our primary car. If we can get two- or three-tenths out of the car while we’re down here, take it back to the shop, and the guys back at the engine shop do a great job, our fab shop, and we’ll do some more single-car runs in the morning and in the afternoon we’ll try and draft a little more and get myself a little more comfortable.

We’ve got a new spotter this year, Tony Hirschman, that’s new. He’s not new to racing, but he’s new to me. And, so working with him, him and I getting our lingo down is certainly very important coming back down here. So, the combination of the ARCA race and the Busch race, we should be able to go out and have a good run in the 500."

HOW MANY TIMES PER DAY DOES JIMMY FENNIG TELL YOU SOMETHING THAT YOU THOUGHT, ‘I NEVER KNEW THAT?’ "I need to get a voice recorder like you guys have so I can go and talk. I try to jot down some notes."

HE KNOWS A LOT. "It’s based on experience. I tell everyone that three years from now I’m going to be better than I am today. I can a tell a difference just from a year from now. So, certainly Jimmy’s been around this as long as I’ve been alive, and he’s gone through a lot of good and a lot of bad, so he knows what to do and how to do it, and hopefully we’ll use that to our advantage on the AAA team."


- Ford -

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17.01.2007 / MaP

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