David Ragan hopes his No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine is as fast as the tidal wave of change the 29-year-old Georgian has surfed so far in 2015.
“Someone once said the only constant in life is change,” said Ragan. “I can certainly vouch for that. This season has been incredible, but I have been blessed with some great opportunities especially joining Aaron’s and Michael Waltrip Racing.”
The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner started the season with a 17th-place finish in the Daytona 500 for Front Row Motorsports. A few days later, he began a nine-race tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing replacing the injured Kyle Busch.
Steady performances kept the No. 18 in Chase contention and led to Ragan’s hiring at MWR in May to take over the Aaron’s Dream Machine.
That team was enduring its own season of change.
Heart surgery sidelined fulltime driver Brian Vickers for the first two races of the season as MWR turned to founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip and 22-year-old Brett Moffitt as replacements. Vickers made a triumphal return at Las Vegas and Phoenix before a reoccurrence of blood clots sidelined him indefinitely.
Moffitt filled in for five races then Waltrip another before MWR brought in Ragan as the permanent replacement for the remainder of the season. His job assignment is to win races and secure a berth in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“These guys here have had it tough with Brian missing the start of the season then coming back before sitting out again,” said Ragan.
“That’s not a fun roller coaster ride for anyone, but my goal here is to help everyone make 2015 something special. There’s a lot of racing left and our best tribute to Brian, Aaron’s, Toyota and everyone who has helped make this program a success will be to finish the year strong and join in the Chase.”
Ragan has known the speed of change in racing since a young age. His father Ken Ragan ran 50 Sprint Cup races and David became a driver at age 12. Years of winning championships advanced him into the ARCA and Camping World Truck Series by the time he turned 18. His first fulltime Sprint Cup ride came in 2007 at Roush Racing driving the No. 6 entry.
Ragan ran fulltime from 2007 to 2011 for Roush Racing winning the Sprint Cup race at Daytona July 2011 as well as the Talladega XFINITY race in 2008 and at Bristol in 2009. Ragan joined Front Row Motorsports in 2012 giving the team its first victory by winning the spring Talladega race in 2013.