Birth Date: December 24, 1985
Birthplace: Unadilla, Ga.
Residence: Kannapolis, N.C.
David Ragan first hit the racetrack at age 11, beginning a racing career in the Bandolero Series in 1997. Under the guidance of his father, former Winston Cup driver Ken Ragan, the younger Ragan had years of experience before he ever took the wheel himself. Not wanting to be known as just the son of a former driver, he made sure to let his on-track performance prove that he was out to establish his own reputation. He accomplished his goal, winning 12 races and the National Championship in just his second year of competition.
Ragan continued to race in the Bandolero Series for the next two years, again winning the National Championship in 1999. He progressed to a full-size car soon after when he began competing in the Goody’s Dash Series. This move would help him prepare for the next step in his career.
Ragan partnered with Dash Series driver Cam Strader and went to work in his shop. The experience he gained would prove invaluable to his future. When they were not getting the Dash cars ready to run, they were working on two late model cars that Ragan would run the following year.
With the help of Strader, he ran several late model races across the southeast in 2002. Still too young to compete in the NASCAR divisions, he made sure he was running the most comparable equipment possible. He began his relationship with Mark Martin, driving for him in the Legends Pro-Division, finishing fourth in series points out of more than 60 drivers.
As soon as he turned 18, Ragan made his first foray in NASCAR, running select Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series events, along with a limited ARCA schedule. He qualified second in his first ARCA start, and led a number of laps before a cut tire took him out of contention. It was obvious his hard work and preparation were well on the way to paying off, and he was on his way to making it in NASCAR’s premier series.
After participating in Roush’s “Driver X” competition in 2005, Ragan was selected as co-driver of the No.6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford F-150 with teammate Mark Martin. In the 19 races that he started in the Camping World Truck Series, he was able to achieve one top five, eight top 10s and one pole. He also competed in a select number of Nationwide and Cup series events. Ragan’s hard work really paid off toward the end of the 2006 season when he was selected by Jack Roush to be the driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series in 2007.
Ragan proved Roush had made the right decision, finishing the 2007 season as runner-up for the Rookie of the Year title in the Sprint Cup Series and winning Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In addition, he had two top-five finishes, including a fifth-place finish in the 2007 Daytona 500 and a third-place finish at Richmond in the fall.
The 2008 season marked Ragan’s sophomore season in the Sprint Cup Series. In just his second year competing full-time in the series, he finished 13th in the point standings and earned six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes, all while barely missing the cut-off for the Chase. He led the Sprint Cup Series in number of laps completed and earned the respect of many of the veterans in the sport. On top of competing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series, he also was one of four drivers that pulled double duty competing full-time in the Nationwide Series as well. He finished out the Nationwide Series fourth in the point standings with seven top-five and 21 top-10 finishes.
The 2009 season was Ragan’s first year with UPS as his primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series. He finished the Cup season with two top-10 and six top-15 finishes while earning his first two victories in the Nationwide Series at Talladega and Bristol. Despite only running a partial Nationwide schedule, he earned five top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in the series, including his two victories.
In 2010, Ragan kicked off his second season in the No. 6 UPS Ford under the direction of crew chief Donnie Wingo; but with nine races remaining in the season, Drew Blickensderfer took over control of the team. In the final nine races his average starting position went up over eight positions and his average finish over two. He finished out 2010 with three top-10 and eight top-15 finishes, while also completing 97.8 percent of the scheduled race laps.
With the Ragan-Blickensderfer team paired up again in 2011, their first full season together proved their early chemistry was no fluke. After nearly winning the season-opening Daytona 500 (but forfeiting the lead after a green-white-checkered rule violation), Ragan finally earned his first Sprint Cup Series victory in July at Daytona International Speedway. He also took a trip to Victory Lane in the non-points Sprint Showdown, earning a starting position in the 2011 All-Star Race, where he went on to finish eighth. In a season that proved he has what it takes to win, he notched one victory, and four top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
The end of 2011 brought organizational change to Roush Fenway Racing. The economic climate had left the No. 6 Ford without a primary sponsor for 2012 and the team was forced to downsize. The decision left Ragan a free agent and led to an opportunity to drive Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 Ford in 2012. The young team, entering only its fourth full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series, paired Ragan with veteran crew chief Jay Guy. The new team earned one top-five, two top-10 and two top-15 finishes in its first season together, including a season-best fourth-place result at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the fall. Ragan finished 28th in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship, the highest ever for a Front Row Motorsports driver.
He returned to the No. 34 of Front Row Motorsports for 2013, paired once again with Guy after a successful first year together and looking to make even bigger strides in the season ahead. That goal was met – and actually surpassed – in May, when Ragan scored an upset victory at Talladega Superspeedway, on a last-lap surge while being pushed by teammate David Gilliland. The win was the first ever for Front Row Motorsports and, with a second-place finish by Gilliland, became the most memorable and celebrated day in the team’s nine-year history.