Modest success for David Ragan

by Monte Dutton

Modest success for David Ragan

BRISTOL, Tenn. — A difficult season in the Sprint Cup Series has not been without its Nationwide Series highlights for young Roush Fenway Racing driver David Ragan. Ragan, 23, has only one top-10 finish this year in Cup, but he has claimed his first two Nationwide victories. He won at Talladega on April 23 and followed it up with a victory at Bristol in the Food City 250.

The Unadilla, Ga. native is a second-generation driver. His by Monte Dutton father, Ken, competed in 50 Cup races in 1983-90, never running more than 10 in a single season. Ken Ragan’s best finish was an 11 th at Talladega in 1984. David Ragan entered the current season with high expectations. In 2008, Ragan finished in the top five six times and finished 13th in the point standings. Before the season started, Ragan said, “We know that we’re capable of winning races; we’re capable of making the chase. We’ve got good race cars, and it’s all about me being a smart race-car driver, and not making mistakes and having a little bit of luck along the way. We know what we can do, and it’s just a matter of going out and doing it.” But Ragan and veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig have struggled. The season opened with a sixth-place finish in the Daytona 500, but Ragan hasn’t finished better than 12 th in all the races since. Even though he has a ride in American motorsports’ most prestigious series, Ragan said he hasn’t let it affect his lifestyle. “I think I’ve lived a modest life my whole life,” he said, “and I think that I had good parents who raised me to live within my means. You don’t do extravagant things just because your next-door neighbor is doing them. “I still drive my 1997 Ford Ranger every day that gets over 20 miles to the gallon, so I haven’t really had to change my ways any at all. Certainly, I’m very fortunate to have a good job with Roush Fenway Racing, but I don’t live outside my means. I do what’s right.” Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (NC) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week ( features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at

Copyright 2009 King Features Syndicate

David Ragan haswon a couple of Nationwide races this season and even has a top-10 Cupfinish, but he hasn’t let success go to his head. (John Clark/NASCARThis Week photo