Chris Knight

Chris Knight

Contact: email author

Chris Knight (@Knighter01) has served as Senior staff writer, Assistant News Editor and director of driver communications for since 2001. In his 14 years with, he has covered and posted daily news and press releases for NASCAR's top-three national divisions, ARCA Racing Series and "Other" Series for In addition to his active duties at and other racing endeavors, the 31-year old also served as the Manager of Operations and Communications for Sheltra Motorsports and driver Patrick Sheltra in the ARCA Racing Series for four years, including their championship season in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @Knighter01

May 21

David Ragan Fast Thursday at Charlotte; Optimistic For Race

Filed under Featured, Sprint Cup Series

2015 NSCS Driver, David Ragan (Aaron's) - Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
2015 NSCS Driver, David Ragan (Aaron's) - Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
CONCORD, North Carolina – Two races into his new ride at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), David Ragan seems to be making big gains. The Unadilla, Georgia native unloaded competitive Thursday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and carried that speed into a seventh place starting spot for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

The performance of the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry was a welcome sight for the MWR team who has struggled this season with on-track performance. In fact, Toyota grabbed four of the first seven positions for NASCAR’s longest race of the year. That in itself is encouraging for a manufacturer chasing its third Sprint Cup win of the year. Thursday night was Ragan’s fourth top-10 qualifying run of 2015 as started a season-best fourth at Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway in March.

“You know I am happy. If you would have told me this morning we would have known we were going to qualify in the top-10 this morning, I would have been pleased,” said Ragan. “Our Aaron’s Dream Machine had some really good speed and we were really fast all day in practice and our team made some great adjustments for qualifying here. The track has cooled off a lot and it’s windy and cloudy and we just missed it a little bit that last round. Some of that is just experience, we have to build a notebook together and be in the final round at some of these mile-and-a-halves to get the scenarios played out and make the proper adjustments. I’m real proud of our qualifying effort. To have a top-10 spot to start 600 miles is a good day.”

After starting the season with Front Row Motorsports at Daytona, Ragan headed to Joe Gibbs Racing the following week at Atlanta after Kyle Busch was injured in the XFINITY Series race at Daytona. Ragan ran his ninth and final race for JGR at Talladega knowing he’d have a ride the rest of the season in the No. 55 Toyota for Brian Vickers, who remains sidelined with blood clots.

Ragan’s debut with MWR at Kansas Speedway two weeks ago was rough, so Thursday’s performance was promising for the two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner. In Kansas, Ragan flying the colors of race sponsor SpongeBob SquarePants qualified 23rd, but struggled during the race. The 29-year old even spun in the grass and found stuck in the enshrined race logo. Ragan later escaped but finished the race four laps down.

Despite Ragan’s effort on Thursday night, MWR teammate Clint Bowyer will start mid pack in 24th after making it through to the second round of qualifying.

Ragan will make his eighth appearance in Sunday’s 600-mile race. In his previous seven outings, 2011 was his best showing where he finished second to Kevin Harvick after starting eighth driving for Roush Fenway Racing.

“The Coca-Cola 600 is mentally and physically a tough race for a driver,” added Ragan. “It’s tough on our pit crew and tough on the team for making the calls. I’m excited to have a good jump to the weekend. Our pit crew is really going to help us out on Sunday – they are one of the best on pit road and we’re going to have 10-12 pit stops on Sunday so I’m looking forward to leaning on them a little bit. We’re going to go out and race and have some fun.”

Toyota will make its 300th Cup Series start on Sunday.

Follow Chris Knight on Twitter @Knighter01.

Author Archive

2015 NXS Driver Jamie Dick - Photo Credit: Lachian Cunningham/Getty Images
Ready To Move On: Jamie Dick and Viva Motorsports
no responses - Posted 05.21.15
CONCORD, N.C. – It goes without saying that Jamie Dick’s return to the NASCAR XFINITY Series didn’t go as planned, but despite the circumstances, one of the series’ youngest driver and owner is ready to put Iowa Speedway behind and focus on the future. Dick had been sidelined for nearly ...more»
Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Logo
2015 Summer Shootout Series Quickly Approaching With New Title Sponsor At Charlotte Motor Speedway
no responses - Posted 05.21.15
CONCORD -- One of the annual summertime traditions will continue this June at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway when the Summer Shootout returns for a 23rd season from June 9 – July 29. The eight-week event which mixes Bandoleros and the U.S. Legend Cars on the quarter mile frontstretch has produced ...more»
2015 NCWTS Driver Cole Custer (Haas Automation) - Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
ARCA Racing Series Debut Set For Cole Custer; JR Motorsports
no responses - Posted 05.17.15
CHARLOTTE – On the heels of their first career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Friday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, JR Motorsports will set its sights on capturing another victory in a new division. JR Motorsports will field an entry for driver Cole ...more»
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite "Blue Deuce" Ford, stands in the garage area during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 16, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. - Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Brad Keselowski’s Bid To Cash A Million Dollars Bounces
no responses - Posted 05.17.15
CONCORD– Brad Keselowski knew he was probably speeding as he exited pit road for the final time in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. But, the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion also thought it was his biggest opportunity to cash in on a million dollar payday. ...more»
2015 NSCS Driver Greg Biffle (ORTHO) - Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Greg Biffle’s Fast Start Ends Early In All-Star Race
no responses - Posted 05.17.15
CONCORD – Greg Biffle’s victory in Friday night’s Sprint Showdown kept a two and half decade streak alive for Roush Fenway Racing participating in Saturday night's Sprint All-Star race, but contact with the wall twice voided any opportunity for the team to cash the 1 million dollar check. Throughout ...more»
Toyota Racing Logo
Toyota 2015 NCWTS North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Post Race Notes And Quotes
no responses - Posted 05.15.15
Toyota NCWTS Charlotte Post-Race Notes & Quotes: • Tundra driver Erik Jones (second) was the top-finishing Tundra driver in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, an event won by Kasey Kahne. • Jones led the field four times for 88 laps (of 139) on the ...more»
2015 NCWTS Driver James Buescher - Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images
James Buescher Truck Series Future Remains Clouded
no responses - Posted 05.15.15
CHARLOTTE – Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 was supposed to include former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher. At least he thought. Buescher announced on Wednesday night that he was “devastated” that he would not drive the No. 31 Chevrolet for NTS Motorsports at Charlotte. The ...more»
2015 NSCS Dricver Trevor Bayne (AdvoCare) - Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Daytona 500 Champion Trevor Bayne To Make ARCA Debut At Pocono Raceway
no responses - Posted 05.15.15
CHARLOTTE – 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne will compete in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on June 6 for Cunningham Motorsports. Bayne will make his series debut in the No. 22 Ford Fusion as a teammate to Tom Hessert III. The ...more»
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota - Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Denny Hamlin Critical Of NASCAR For Delay In Caution At Kansas Speedway
no responses - Posted 05.10.15
KANSAS CITY – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner Denny Hamlin had a rough go in the late laps of Saturday night’s SpongeBob SquarePants 400. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver found himself in the middle of a four-wide battle off Turn 2 and was pinched between Dale ...more»
Erik Jones, driver of the #18 M&M's Red Nose Day Toyota, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 8, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas. - Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Despite Accident, Erik Jones Excels; Proves Worth In Cup Debut
no responses - Posted 05.10.15
KANSAS CITY – Make no mistake about it, Erik Jones in a substitution role for the injured Kyle Busch made it abundantly clear that he’s ready for Sprint Cup Series competition. And while a Lap 196 accident in Turn 4 diminished any chance of Jones excelling in his official Cup ...more»

©2014 Catchfence. All rights reserved. is a member of the Citizen Journalist Media Corps created by NASCAR®.
NASCAR® is a registered trademark owned by National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.
The Official NASCAR® website is NASCAR® ONLINE(sm) at