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David Ragan seeking to “scratch the itch” in Daytona 500

Ragan, who last competed in the series in 2022, began his NASCAR career at what was then known as Roush Racing, spending his first five seasons in Cup driving for Hall of Fame owner Jack Roush. Now, nearly two decades since his first series start, he finds himself with the opportunity to again compete for

David Ragan seeking to “scratch the itch” in Daytona 500

Ragan, who final competed within the collection in 2022, started his NASCAR profession at what was then referred to as Roush Racing, spending his first 5 seasons in Cup driving for Corridor of Fame proprietor Jack Roush.

Now, almost twenty years since his first collection begin, he finds himself with the chance to once more compete for Roush on NASCAR’s largest stage – the Daytona 500.

And even higher, the 38-year-old native of Unadilla, Ga., believes he nonetheless has the prospect to win.

Late final season, Ragan was requested about his curiosity in operating a 3rd entry on this yr’s Daytona for what’s now Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing and the group’s latest resurgence solely made his determination simpler.

“I miss the racing scene a little bit bit, however actually I’m extraordinarily proud of my schedule and nonetheless being concerned within the sport from a contest facet but in addition having a little bit bit extra of my private life that that I may be dwelling and with my spouse and children,” Ragan informed Motorsport.com.

“It’s been an ideal stability. However you already know when a chance comes as much as drive an actual quick race automobile with a crew that has actually confirmed that they will win races at plenty of several types of tracks, it was a no brainer to me.”

Victory lane: race winner David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates

Victory lane: race winner David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates

Photograph by: Eric Gilbert

Ragan’s tenure at Roush was a bumpy one and ended following the 2011 season having completed no higher than thirteenth within the collection standings. Nevertheless, he did earn his first collection win with the crew later that yr within the July race at Daytona.

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Regardless of leaving full-time competitors in Cup after the 2019 season, Ragan has remained concerned within the collection, primarily doing simulation and testing work for Ford Efficiency.

Most not too long ago, he has additionally examined NASCAR’s full battery powered race automobile and was going to drive it in an exhibition ultimately weekend’s Busch Gentle Conflict on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum earlier than extreme climate upended the schedule.

“I keep fairly in contact with all of the Ford groups in the course of the season driving the wheel-force automobile, which is the OEM take a look at automobile we work intently with,” Ragan stated.

“You already know every Ford crew usually sends a consultant to these checks after which I usually comply with up with some simulator work for a number of the groups simply to assist them develop tire fashions and various things with that automobile.

“So, I’ve adopted alongside intently with what Brad (Keselowski) and Chris (Buescher) have been doing at RFK and the nice season they’d final yr.”

RFK has usually had a powerful superspeedway program and that’s largely the place Ragan discovered success throughout his driving profession.

An skilled at drafting tracks

His two profession wins got here at Daytona and Talladega, and he was in place to win within the 2011 Daytona 500 till he was black-flagged on the ultimate restart for altering lanes earlier than taking the inexperienced flag.

“I assume you might say I’ve flirted with a Daytona 500 victory previously,” he stated. “If I didn’t assume that I may win the race, I wouldn’t take into account doing it once more.

“Daytona is a race that may be a little little bit of an equalizer as a result of everyone’s been off for a few months, and you’ve got that further monitor time with the Duel races on Thursday and extra observe Friday and Saturday.

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“I really feel like I’m on a stage enjoying discipline with each driver in that race. The Daytona 500 – it’s a race that you already know each driver needs to be part of, not simply right here within the U.S., both. It was a straightforward determination, you already know, personally to do it.”

Whereas excited in regards to the alternative to return to Roush and compete with a automobile able to profitable, Ragan is adamant he harbors little interest in returning to full-time competitors.

“This isn’t the start of any comeback tour,” he stated. “I do really feel like I’m within the best form of my life. I really feel like I’m mentally most likely as robust as I’ve ever been. I’m 38 years previous so I imply, I nonetheless really feel like I may exit and race with these guys.

“You already know, my priorities have simply shifted a little bit bit. I actually love my time with my children and being dwelling and having the ability to take some household journeys. You may see me run a race or two to have a little bit enjoyable and scratch that itch.

“However, man, I like being dwelling a little bit bit extra and never having all that stress on my shoulders.”

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