That’s elite company considering 445 drivers have competed in at least one summer race at the 2.5-mile restrictor plate track.
The driver of the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine hopes for a repeat of his 2011 trip to victory lane when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series holds its first Sunday night summer race at Daytona this weekend. The race also marks the return of NBC Sports beginning a 10-year partnership covering America’s premier motorsports series.
DAVID RAGAN ON DAYTONA: “That’s a pretty cool stat and I’d love nothing more than get another Daytona trophy. The 2011 victory was my first career victory and it was especially cool considering how close we came to winning the Daytona 500 that year. We’d led a bunch of laps in February so it wasn’t a fluke when we won in July. You never forget your first victory. That’s always going to be special and this race is always going to be special to me.”
IMPORTANCE OF SUNDAY NIGHT’S RACE: “Every race we run is important but at a restrictor plate race nearly everyone in the race feels like they have a shot to win. That just ups the ante and, considering a win likely means a Chase berth, you will see some pretty aggressive driving. The race is 100 miles shorter than in February so guys might be a touch less patient. I expect a lot of hard racing Sunday night.”
SEASON SO FAR: “This will be my first superspeedway with MWR and obviously I’m optimistic. Clint and Michael (Waltrip) ran really well down there in the Daytona 500. We’ve made progress each week I’ve raced with Michael Waltrip Racing. Last weekend we were racing right there with (winner) Kyle Busch for most of the race. The cool thing about the Chase format is you can turn around your season in one race. I think we have that chance Sunday night. Like a lot of guys in the sport we aren’t where we want to be in points because of some misfortune, but winning Sunday night can elevate our season.”NBC SPORTS: “I remember watching NBC’s NASCAR coverage when I was coming up and it’s cool to see their return. The Fox folks have always done a good job and I expect NBC will bring new technology and ways to talk about our racing. They are going to be with us a long time. Think about all the changes we’ll see in the next 10 years and they’ll be with us the whole way. I hope we give them a great show Sunday night and the next 10 years. I think it tells you a lot about the power of NASCAR when folks like Fox and NBC want to be part of the sport.”