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NASCAR Cup: David Ragan makes 400th series start in home state

David Ragan (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

With the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing at Atlanta on Sunday (or Monday, depending on rain in the area) in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, David Ragan will take the green flag for his 400th-career Cup Series start in his home state of Georgia.

“Yeah, I can remember watching from a condo building in the summer of 1996 as they reconfigured this place and just dreaming of watching a race here,” Ragan said. “I remember my Bandolero and Legends car days where I just basically lived here at the race track during the summer months, and we raced a lot. For me to be able to start in one NASCAR race was a really big deal, but to make 400 Cup races is something I really never thought about, and even during that time, I always just thought about race to race or year to year. I never thought about a goal or making it to 200 or 300 or 400, so I’m grateful to have had sponsors and team owners that have given me the chance to go race, and for it to happen here at Atlanta is really neat. I don’t know if we could have scripted it any better.”

In Ragan’s first 399-career Cup Series starts, the Unadilla native has two wins, both coming on the restrictor-plate tracks of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Fla.) Superspeedway — Daytona in 2011 with Roush Fenway Racing and Talladega in 2013 at Front Row Motorsports. His career stats also include 15 top-fives and 39 top-10 finishes.

The bulk of Ragan’s Cup Series starts have come with either Roush Fenway or Front Row. He began his Cup Series career in 2006 with a partial schedule for Roush before going full-time the following year as driver of RFR’s No. 6 Ford. After being released from Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2011 season, he arrived at Front Row Motorsports to drive the No. 34 Ford.

He was separated from FRR after the first race of the 2015 season when he went into substitute driver mode, first for an injured Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, and then, for the sidelined Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip Racing. He then drove for BK Racing in 2016 before returning to Front Row to drive the No. 38 in 2017.

“It’s very hard to make those first few starts, because there are hundreds and thousands of qualified drivers across the world that are capable to drive a stock car, but only a select few get an opportunity, because there’s just not enough rides available to field with all the talent that there is in the U.S. I feel grateful to have gotten that opportunity and, yes, it was very questionable at times,” Ragan said. “I was on the fence getting ready to go to college and kind of slowed down on my racing career, and then, over the years, having sponsors leave and losing my ride at the end of one year, a team shutting down, having to scrap and put together deals, but somehow, someway, I’ve been able to find myself in really good situations at the start of every season, and I’ve been able to run all the races, and I’ve been healthy. I haven’t been on the sideline with a concussion or with an injury, so I feel pretty lucky in that sense, as well.

“I’ve been in some pretty good accidents over the last 10 years and to be able to always walk away and not have any injuries. It’s something; you don’t really think about certain goals and numbers when you’re in the moment. You’re just worried about making that next lap or making that next race or trying to win the next race. If it teaches me anything, it teaches me that life does happen fast, and you need to sit back and enjoy the ride and not really worry about the destination so much.”

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Posted by on February 25, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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