David Ragan, a two-time winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will hang up his full-time driving helmet at the conclusion of the 2019 season, according to a Front Row Motorsports Press Release.
“I’ve prayed and heavily considered this decision, but for myself and my family, I believe this is the right thing to do,” the Ragan said. “I am a husband and a father to two young girls first, and I am a driver second.
“To compete in what I consider the greatest series in the world, you need full dedication of your time and focus. My children are growing up quickly, and I want to concentrate my time in being the best father and husband I can be. I feel this is where God is leading my life, and therefore I’m making this decision.”
Through a 13-year career, the driver from Georgia has handled himself professionally and has been a gracious example of what big-time athletes should strive to be like.
Ragan, son of former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Ken Ragan, began his racing career at age 12 in the Bandolero Series. Seven-years later he was a rising star who signed on to take over the legendary No. 6 car at Roush Fenway Racing as Mark Martin contemplated retirement.
It was a sharp learning curve for Ragan, who had competed in just seven NASCAR Xfinity Series races before getting his big opportunity. After struggling in his rookie season, Ragan came back with a vengeance in his Sophomore season.
Ragan scored six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s before ultimately falling just short of making the Playoffs (then called the Chase). Ragan would end the 2008 season 13th in the championship standings.
The remainder of his Roush Fenway Racing tenure would be filled with disappointment, but before moving on Ragan was able to score his first-career Cup Series victory at Daytona in July of 2011.
After five seasons with Roush Fenway Racing, Ragan would move to Front Row Motorsports where he would compete at for six of his final eight seasons at the Cup Series level (Ragan drove for FRM in the Daytona 500, subbed for the injured Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing before moving to Michael Waltrip for the rest of 2015, and then he moved to the now defunct BK Racing in 2016).
Ragan’s most unlikely triumph came while driving Front Row’s cars as he scored an ultimate upset win at the spring race at Talladega in 2013. Ragan led just four laps on the day, but on the closing lap he received help from his teammate David Gilliland which shoved his No. 34 Ford to the front of the pack.
While the first half of Ragan’s career can be described as a young driver underperforming while learning how to be a driver at NASCAR’s highest level, the second half of his career can certainly be described as a guy who was able to elevate cars that weren’t necessarily top-tier into decent finishes.
Ragan will end his full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career after his 470th start at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Wednesday, Ragan also posted a thank you video on Facebook to his fans and partners:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.