NASCAR: Ragan’s Role Grows With New Team
For David Ragan, who drives the No. 34 CertainTeed/31-W Ford for car owner Bob Jenkins’ Front Row Motorsports, it’s all a matter of gradual improvement.
Ragan, 26, spent five years competing in the Sprint Cup Series for Roush Fenway Racing. He won at Daytona on July 2, 2011 and finished 13th in the Sprint Cup point standings in 2008. He lost his ride at Roush when the team cut its operation back from four to three teams this year.
As suggested by his one career victory, Ragan, from Unadilla, Ga., is adept at restrictor-plate racing. He has two top-10 finishes this season, seventh and fourth in the two races at Talladega Superspeedway. He crashed in both Daytona races.
Ragan, whose father, Ken, once competed at NASCAR’s top level, has plenty of time to work his way back into a quality ride, but he hopes he can help lift Jenkins’ team up to a higher level.
“I think where we’re at today is about where I hoped we would be,” Ragan said, “and our team is stronger with (teammate) David Gilliland and myself than they were at the end of 2011, so I think that’s a good judge that … the team is clearly better.
“We’ve got to keep … fine-tuning on our race cars, but it’s been good, steady progress.”
There’s a world of difference between the haves and the have-nots, though.
“I’m definitely more hands-on at a team like Front Row Motorsports versus Roush,” Ragan said. “At Roush, I was part of the system. I had my small part of the puzzle to take care of, and you go through the motion that Jack (Roush) and Robbie (Reiser) set forth.
“At Front Row, it’s a little different because we’re talking about 55 to 60 employees versus 400 employees, so I definitely have a more personal relationship with each and every one of them, and get to be included on some of the decision-making, which makes it feel like I’m more part of the team, for sure.
“It’s kind of made me get fired up and a little more interested, and I definitely feel like I have more of a hand in the decision-making process.”
Monte Dutton covers motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. E-mail Monte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.