David Ragan No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Michigan Preview/Buddy Baker Story

Like most in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, David Ragan doesn’t know what to expect with a new aerodynamic package in Sunday’s 400-mile race at Michigan International Speedway.

But, he has some ideas.

NASCAR introduced the high-drag, high downforce package at Indianapolis to create more side-by-side racing. Cars will carry a heightened nine-inch spoiler with a one-inch wicker bill plus a bigger radiator pan. The No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver thinks the changes will make for a better race and also play into his Michael Waltrip Racing team’s favor. Ragan started third and led twice for five laps at Indy.

RAGAN ON MICHIGAN RULES: “Since the Michigan racing surface is wider and the track has more banking we should be able to run a little tighter through the corners. When you throw in the drafting down the straightaways it should make for tighter packs. I don’t think you are going to see the packs like you do at restrictor plate tracks, but you will see some tighter packs that are two-and-three wide. Drafting will be important down the straightaways because you have so much speed in the corners you really aren't going to out brake or drive in deeper than the others. This race could be all about momentum. Whoever can get hooked up with another car, maybe run the outside groove, then sustain their momentum down the straightaway will have a shot to win the race.”

ADAPTING TO NEW RULES: “Our Aaron’s team had a pretty good handle on the high-drag, high-downforce package at Indianapolis. Obviously, we’ve tried to build on that run and improve the package. Michigan will be a different style of race. Hopefully we can have the same speed we had at Indy and play our cards right so we can be at the right position at the end of the race to try to get a win. It should be different than the June race for sure and hopefully we can adapt quicker to the rules than the other teams.”

MONDAY’S PASSING OF NASCAR LEGEND BUDDY BAKER: “Buddy was retired from racing before I was old enough to follow the sport closely. Through his time in the broadcast booth, on the radio networks and doing different charity functions I got to know Buddy pretty well. My favorite Buddy Baker story was back during the Charlotte Media Tour several years ago. I was supposed to give him a birthday cake. I was going to pretend to slip and fall while giving it to him. The problem was I really slipped and dumped the cake in his lap all over his nice shirt and pants. (ßpictured)  He stood up and it was all over him. We laughed about that ever since. Buddy was certainly a cool character and kind of what NASCAR is all about—guys who like to go fast and have fun. He was well respected in the garage.”

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Speedway Digest Staff

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