CORNELIUS, N.C.  — David Ragan will be a popular driver at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway Saturday night.

 

Sure, it marks his first race driving the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. But to the younger NASCAR fans, Ragan’s No. 55 will be the car carrying the paint scheme that features pop culture phenomenon SpongeBob SquarePants.

 

“We’re certainly going to stand out in Kansas,” laughed Ragan. “What a way to begin my time with Aaron’s and MWR. I was a little old to watch SpongeBob growing up but I have sure heard about it from a lot of kids lately. He has a lot of fans. I’d love to take him to victory lane Saturday night.”

 

Since its launch in July 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has been the most-watched animated program with kids 2 – 11 for more than 13 consecutive years, and over the past several years, it has averaged more than 100,000,000 total viewers every quarter across all Nickelodeon networks. 

 

Ragan, who made his 300th Sprint Cup start last weekend at Talladega, would like nothing better than to convert a few of those young viewers to permanent NASCAR fans. That’s just one of the goals as he climbs into the car driven by Brian Vickers, Brett Moffitt and Michael Waltrip in 2015. Ragan is 20th in the Chase standings battling for one of the 16 spots in NASCAR’s playoffs.

 

RAGAN ON MWR: "Our expectations are very high. At the end of the day, Michael Waltrip Racing has all the tools and resources that Joe Gibbs Racing has or that Hendrick Motorsports or Stewart-Haas Racing has and there's no reason for us not to be able to win a race and have a shot at making the Chase. Certainly, that is our goal going forward. We've got a lot of really good race tracks for me, a lot of good race tracks for the MWR bunch – they're working extremely hard trying to get those Toyotas as competitive and as fast as they can. I've been around the shop for just a few hours and I'm very impressed with what they have going on, but our expectations are really high. We want to make the Chase and we want to win some races and I know that that can be done."

 

RAGAN ON MOTHERS DAY: "My mom (Beverly Ragan) probably hasn't been thanked enough over the years. It's always about my dad or my uncle or my family members that have really paved the way from a mechanical standpoint or financial standpoint. Certainly, like in my household today, the mom is who takes care of things while the rest of the family is gone racing. My mom, even though she couldn't tell you the difference between a lugnut and a carburetor, loves racing. She's a big racing fan and a big supporter. It's always encouraging to have family members love you unconditionally, but also love what you're doing. She is the one who kept me in line those days that I didn't want to go to school or I didn't want to do other things, she made me stick to what I needed to do as a young kid and continue to go racing at  the same time. My mom is a great mom and a good wife to my dad. She's a good lady."​

NOTES:

 

  • CHASSIS: Primary: 796 - Jeff Burton raced this chassis in 2014 at Las Vegas and Michigan. Brett Moffitt tested this chassis at Kentucky Speedway April 13-15. It has also been the test car at several tests in 2014 & 2015. Backup: 814 - finished eighth at Atlanta with Moffitt. In 2014 it finished 16th at Indianapolis with Clint Bowyer. Vickers finished 13th at Richmond in September & 37th at Charlotte in October.

 

  • AARON’S: The Atlanta-based company, with more than 2,100 stores across the country, helps customers own the life they want. Aaron's carries only the best brand names in furniture, electronics, and appliances with a variety of flexible payment options. It's really easy to “Own It” at Aaron’s with customers who are now pre-approved for up to $2,500 in merchandise - no credit needed. From May 1-16, is a great time to become part of Aaron’s friends and family…$25 gets you started leasing anything in the store. Choose from the top brands in furniture, electronics and appliances and we’ll help you own it – no credit needed.

 

  • CREW CHIEF BILLY SCOTT: Scott began racing motorcycles as a 5-year-old and stock cars when he turned 15. He worked in the truck series as a mechanic before he returned to college to obtain an engineering degree. After graduating in 2005 Scott worked at Robert Yates Racing and began as an engineer at MWR in 2008. The 36-year-old served exclusively as the No. 55 team’s lead engineer before taking over crew chief duties in 2014.

 

  • 55 CREW:

Billy Scott

Crew Chief

Ryan Langley

Front Tire Changer

Chris Hall

Front Tire Carrier

Shannon Myers

Rear Tire Changer

Blake Haugland

Rear Tire Carrier

Wes Evans

Jack Man

Jeff Kerr

Gas Man

Steve Channing

Car Chief

David Cropps

Interior Mechanic

Roman Pemberton

Spotter

Brandon Pope

Race Engineer

Joe Bisson

2nd Engineer

Jeremy Sharpley

Shock Specialist

Kevin White

Front Mechanic

Joe Zanolini

Rear Mechanic

Scott Swift

Tire Specialist

Kirk Butterfield

TRD

Tim Bruce

TRD

Stump Lewis

Truck Driver

Al Nelson

2nd Truck Driver

 

  • TELEVISION:

 

Friday, May 8
Noon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1
1:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1
2:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1
3:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1
4:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1
6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1
8 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FOX Sports 1
8:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250, FOX Sports 1

Saturday, May 9
7 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Kansas, FOX Sports 1
7:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: SpongeBob SquarePants 400, FOX Sports 1

 

  • Follow us on Twitter      

              @davidragan

               @mw55

               @mwrteam

              @aaronssports

   @ToyotaRacing

 


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