David Ragan earns first Sprint Cup pole at Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas – David Ragan feels like he is taking the right steps to get up to par with his Roush Fenway teammates. Now he has his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup pole.
Ragan earned his first pole in 153 career races with a lap of 189.820 mph Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. He easily took the top spot from teammate Carl Edwards (188.521 mph), who will start on the front row with him.
"We were so close. That is cool for David though," Edwards said. "If we had to be second to anyone in qualifying David would be the guy. Those guys have been working really hard."
It is the third time in the last four races that Ragan is starting in the top six. The only race in that stretch he didn't start that high was last week at Martinsville, where he started 14th and then went on to a season-best eighth-place finish.
"I think the three guys that are on our team are the three best drivers in the garage. It puts pressure on us to go and run fast," Ragan said. "It's good to have come out of the box with some good runs, some good qualifying runs, a couple of good races. So we've just got to continue to get better and concentrate week to week."
Roush drivers Matt Kenseth (fourth) and Greg Biffle (ninth) are also starting in the top 10.
Edwards had already won a pole earlier Friday for the Nationwide Series race at the 1½-mile, high-banked track.
Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch qualified 11th and Kevin Harvick, coming to Texas off consecutive wins, starts 29th.
"I'd certainly like to think so no matter where we end up in qualifying I think our race car's a lot better," Busch said.
Busch has won five Nationwide Series races and two Trucks Series races at Texas, but is 0 for 12 in Sprint Cup racing in the Lone Star State.
Denny Hamlin, who swept both races in Texas last year, starts 23rd. Hamlin will try to match Edwards, the only driver with three Sprint Cup wins at Texas.
Ragan won a Nationwide pole at Texas in 2007, but his best previous Sprint Cup start at any track had been fourth for four races, including Texas two years ago. He has finished third three times.
"Qualifying is just part of the weekend, like practice is. Pit stops are part of the weekend, being competitive on restarts is a part. We've got to put all those parts together," Ragan said. "We've taken necessary steps to get better. ... Those steps are part of the process of becoming a race winner, a team like Carl."