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.Read More
Aaron’s Dream Machine Crew Chief Billy Scott enters the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season after a successful 2014 rookie campaign on top of the No. 55 pit box at Michael Waltrip Racing.
Scott’s first year as crew chief with driver Brian Vickers saw many highlights including a pole at Talladega as well as three top-five and five top-10 finishes.
He expects more in 2015.
“We have had a full year together and Brian and I know each other better. I know what he is looking for in a race car and he knows how to better communicate to all of us,” said Scott.
The 2014 season saw the No. 55 climb to eighth in points going into the June Dover race. Mechanical issues and accidents during the summer derailed those plans. A strong run in the fall returned Vickers to the front of the field.
Scott's been a longtime member of the MWR engineering family whose elevation to crew chief in 2014 drew praise in the Sprint Cup garage. He’s ready to turn the No. 55’s potential into results in 2015.
“We had some good runs last year and learned a lot, but we will always want more until we are regularly winning races and part of the Chase,” said Scott. “We’ll work hard this winter and be ready for the start of the 2015 season.”
Scott, 37, joined MWR in 2008 after working in a variety of motorsports including trucks, sports cars and sprint cars. But, it was during his work in the truck series in 2003 when he decided on a career path - engineering.
Scott returned to school and after graduating in 2005 began working at Robert Yates Racing. When RYR closed, he joined Michael Waltrip Racing where he has served as lead engineer on the No. 55 with a variety of drivers including Vickers, Waltrip, Mark Martin and Elliott Sadler.
|5/16/15||NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race||Charlotte||N/A|
|5/15/15||NASCAR Sprint Showdown||Charlotte||11th|
|5/9/15||Spongebob Squarepants 400||Kansas||33rd|
|4/26/15||Toyota Owners 400||Richmond||29th|
|4/19/15||Food City 500||Bristol||17th|
|4/11/15||Duck Commander 500||Texas||29th|
|3/22/15||Auto Club 400||Fontana||22nd|
|3/8/15||Kobalt 400||Las Vegas||15th|
|3/1/15||Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500||Atlanta||8th|
|2/19/15||Budweiser Duel #1||Daytona||N/A|
|2/19/15||Budweiser Duel #2||Daytona||19th|