STATESVILLE, N.C. – Many variables will factor into the racing product at Kansas Speedway this weekend, but there’s one thing David Ragan thinks you can count on: The Gen-6 car will be fast. The STP 400 race weekend will be the first time the Sprint Cup Series’ new car will race on the recently repaved oval in Kansas City, Kan.
The driver of the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford believes it will take about a day to learn how the new, lighter car reacts to the track, which received a new racing surface last summer. The team hopes to learn enough to earn a solid starting position in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session.
Ragan’s best qualifying effort at Kansas was in 2010 when he started in 10th. His best finish among his eight career starts came in 2008 when he finished eighth.
Comments from Front Row Motorsports team driver David Ragan heading to Kansas: “I guess at Kansas, the unexpected can be expected. I think we had a record number of cautions last year. It will be interesting to see how that track has aged, how Goodyear comes back with a tire, if it’s any different, how fast these new cars are. That’s a track where we had an open test session last year, so we do have a few notes, but not necessarily with this new car.
“Kansas is a really fast racetrack now. I’m sure you’re going to see some track records broken. I think some of the teams are using one of their test sessions at Kansas. So hopefully we can get some new information from some of our Ford Racing teammates. But it will be a much different strategy coming from Texas to the newly repaved and very fast Kansas.
“It will take probably that whole first day to get a feel for the new car on the track there. You can’t necessarily tell with just a couple laps. It’s going to take a different amount of time for the track to rubber up. You’ll be able to tell a little bit from those first few laps, and then later on that day in practice and qualifying you’ll be able to see what it’s doing, what it’s not doing. Our engineers and crew chiefs will be able to tell if it’s a lot different, if it builds up air pressure different, if it’s faster or slower. So, usually in about a day’s time you have a good feel for how a car is going to be on a particular track.”