STATESVILLE, NC - David Ragan and the No. 34 Taco Bell team are hoping for a brighter forecast in their return to Pocono Raceway this weekend. With practice and qualifying rained out in the Sprint Cup Series' first visit to the Long Pond, Pa., track, teams are looking forward to logging more laps on the return visit.
Drivers and crew chiefs are still learning the best approaches to attack the "Tricky Triangle" in the Gen-6 car and also adjusting to the track surface as it settles in a year after being repaved. Ragan and his Taco Bell team gained valuable knowledge in the June 9 race at the 2.5-mile oval, despite an early trip to the garage with a brake issue. They'll look to apply what they learned in that 400-mile event to come back stronger in Sunday's GoBowling.com 400.
Ragan has 13 career starts at Pocono, with one top-five and two top-15 finishes. His best result was fifth in 2008.
Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan heading to Pocono:
"We learned a lot about the Pocono track when we were there the first time this year. We had a little different tire, and we found the track really hadn't lost a lot of its character yet. It's still really fast and really smooth from the recent repave. Having just been there a few weeks ago, it's still fresh in our minds. And we'll be able to take the exact same car that we raced there just a few weeks ago.
"We didn't get to qualify for that race. If you remember, it rained out practice and qualifying that Friday. So we're looking forward to getting back and spending some time in qualifying trim and race trim after we learned a few things. Hopefully we can learn a few things at Indy to take back to Pocono as they do have some correlations together.
"It changes the strategy a little to have a hundred less miles than the race had before. It gets guys to push a little earlier and maybe not be as conservative as they had been on the 500-mile races. I think the shorter race is great. I think the fans enjoy it and I know certainly the drivers enjoy it."