CORNELIUS, N.C. — Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the most important thing in the world to David Ragan.
Spend a few hours with Ragan and you’ll quickly see family trumps racing in the 29-year-old Georgian’s mind.
However, in the Ragan clan racing and family are rarely separated.
Ragan’s late grandfather Hugh “Preacher Ragan” owned cars that raced on the beaches of Daytona in NASCAR’s infancy. David’s late Uncle Marvin owned and drove cars for 30 years in the sport often employing David’s father Ken who ran 50 Sprint Cup races. David’s mother Beverly visits the track to support her son when she isn’t watching her granddaughter Julia, born to David and wife Jacquelyn last year.
David’s number one fan might be older brother Adam who’s been a mainstay in the Sprint Cup garage throughout David’s 10-year career sporting the hat and crew shirt of David’s team.
“I love my brother,” said David. “He’s been there for me throughout my life and I’m there for him.”
David’s also “there” for the 400,000 Americans who like Adam were born with an extra chromosome: Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome.
Due to advances in medical technology, individuals with Down syndrome are living longer than ever before. With recent advancements in clinical treatment as many as 80% of adults with Down syndrome reach age 60, and many live even longer. More and more Americans are interacting with individuals with Down syndrome, increasing the need for widespread public education and acceptance.
To continue that trend and improve opportunities for people with Down syndrome, David and Jacquelyn are again serving as the honorary chairman for the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation's second Annual Race for Research held July 6-8.
Last year the foundation hoped the three-day road rally would raise $50,000. Instead, it raised $100,000 for grants and promising lines of research.
“Six thousand babies born this year in America will be affected by Down syndrome and it impacts the whole family just like it did with mine,” said Ragan.
“But there’s a lot of optimism. The science behind all this is amazing and there are some clinical trials under way that give a lot of hope. We all have dreams in life. As a racer, you know what my dreams are, but as a brother I could dream of nothing better than seeing us conquer Down syndrome. The Race for Research is about all that and it’s going to be a lot of fun along the way.”
The event is fueled by fundraising teams who spend three days in decaled passenger cars navigating through NASCAR country stopping along the way at designated "pit stops," answering scavenger hunt questions, meeting NASCAR legends and even taking laps on famous speedways. During "pit stops," as the participants complete scavenger hunt tasks, they get a chance to look behind the scenes of famous speedways and meet some of Ragan's racing friends.
The race begins at Darlington Raceway on July 6 and winds its way through the Carolinas ending July 8 at Michael Waltrip Racing and the GoPro Motorplex. Stops also include:
Darlington Raceway and Museum
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Stewart Haas Racing
Performance Instruction and Training
US Legends Cars
RCR Shop and Museum
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Michael Waltrip Racing
To sign up a team, make a donation to Ragan’s team or another team, or to learn more route details, please visit the event site at http://www.lumindraceforresearch.org
- TESTING: Ragan plans to visit Darlington Raceway Wednesday to watch teammate Clint Bowyer test. The No. 55 team will test at Richmond International Raceway June 16-17.
- MWR CREW REASSIGNMENT: MWR announced personnel changes to its two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup operation Tuesday, which include the reassignment of its crew chiefs. Brian Pattie is now the crew chief for the No. 55 team. Billy Scott will become the crew chief for the No. 15 Toyota Camry team driven by Clint Bowyer. Pattie had been the crew chief for the No. 15 with Bowyer since the team was established in 2012. He has scored three wins with the team, and finished second in the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup and seventh in 2013.
- 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.
- 55 CREW:
Friday, June 12
11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1
1 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1
2:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FOX Sports 1
4 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2
5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network
Saturday, June 13
9 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1
10 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1
11:30 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1
Noon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1
1 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY, FOX Sports 1
1:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Great Clips 250 Benefiting Paralyzed Veterans of America, FOX Sports 1
5:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2
8 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FOX Sports 1
8:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol Presents Drivin' for Linemen, FOX Sports 1
Sunday, June 14
11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Michigan, FOX Sports 1
1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400, FOX Sports 1