David Ragan No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine All-Star Race Preview

No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver David Ragan knows there’s two ways to advance from Friday night’s Sprint Showdown into Saturday night’s $1 million NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He needs to win one of the two 20-lap Showdown segments or win the Sprint Fan Vote, announced after the Showdown. Ragan owns four consecutive All-Star Race appearances and won the 2011 Showdown that led to an eighth-place finish in the All-Star Race.

Ragan, who made his debut in the No. 55 for Michael Waltrip Racing last weekend, has more than just the All-Star race on his mind. He sees this weekend as time to prepare for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on May 24.

RAGAN ON THE SHOWDOWN: “The Showdown can be the toughest race of the weekend. You usually have four or five really good cars that haven't been able to win in the last year. You’ve got to outrun some really fast race cars in either of those 20 laps segments. It’s always kind of a learning and a testing opportunity for any team leading into the 600. For me it’s a chance for more laps and to spend more time with the Aaron’s guys at a mile-and-a-half track. Our expectations are to go and run the best we can. We certainly want to win one of those segments and advance to the All-Star race, that’s our goal. At the end of the day, we also want to learn some things that will help us for the 600.”

ADVANCING TO ALL-STAR RACE: “I appreciate all of our fans voting but my plan is to win that first showdown and then go get that $1 million on Saturday night. There isn’t a lot of strategy in a 20-lap race. Get a good qualifying spot is key then go like heck as soon as they drop the green flag. You don’t get overly worried about saving your car or even think about points. It’s about getting out front and staying there.”

ROLE AT MWR: “It’s always a moving target in the Sprint Cup Series – everybody is working extremely hard every week to bring a better race car to the track and hopefully I can be part of that process at Michael Waltrip Racing. Working with their crews, engineers, and Clint (Bowyer) to try to keep making these Toyotas faster and faster. I’m optimistic that we’ve got some good things in front of us. Just trying to enjoy my time with these guys and learn as much as I can. Try to give as much as I can.”