By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Journeyman driver David Ragan will step away from full-time competition following the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
The 33-year-old made the decision with a focus on spending more time with his family. Ragan has competed in NASCAR’s Premier Series full-time for 13 years. While he only visited victory lane twice, his accomplishments both around and off the track are greater than those on track.
Ragan was one of several drivers that filled-in for Kyle Busch in 2015 following the vicious crash at Daytona International Speedway. He later filled-in for Brian Vickers whose health issues sidelined him.
Away from the track, Ragan has been an advocate for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals. The Unadilla, GA native has appeared in fundraising campaigns for the Shriner’s charitable organization.
The Front Row Motorsports driver explained that he wants to remembered for who he is and not his accomplishments.
“I think first off we should be remembered for who we are, maybe not the accomplishments that we had and the trophies that we have, and the amount of zeroes in our bank account. Those are all material things that come and go. When I’m dead in the ground down the road that stuff doesn’t make any difference.
“It’s the impact you have on others and what you do for your family, for others that you care about, so I hope that they remember me as a good guy and a guy who loved the Lord and loved my family and loved racing. That’s kind of who I am. I’m not that flashy of a guy.
“I don’t care too much about how many followers I have on social media or what my brand is, and I think that hurt me a little bit over time, but that’s something that on that spectrum I don’t care too much about. I think it all depends on how you interact with other people and what you do to help and serve others.”
The veteran driver earned two victories in the Cup Series on the circuits’ biggest tracks. In 2011 Ragan visited victory lane at Daytona International Speedway. In 2013 he won in dramatic fashion at Talladega Superspeedway. Ragan also came close on several other occasions.
Most famously, Ragan was in prime position to win the 2011 Daytona 500. However, he changed lanes prior to the start-finish line and was penalized. After Ragan served his penalty, his drafting partner, Trevor Bayne, went on win ‘The Great American Race.’
Ragan doesn’t dwell on the ‘what ifs.’
“I think people would be lying if you didn’t go back and think, ‘Man, what if?’ What if I would have gotten a driver coach and had a couple different mentors when I was a rookie or coming off of a great season in 2008? Could that have changed the course?
“I wonder if I would have won the Daytona 500 and not changed lanes before the start-finish line would UPS have stayed at Roush and things would have went on? So, sure, but that’s kind of fun to go back and laugh and joke about, but we don’t live in a world of what-ifs. I’m humble enough to go back and think about those things. It doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t keep me up at night. Sometimes it’s just a good laugh and a good story.”
Entering the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ragan sits 30th in the championship points standings. With a victory being the only chance of making the playoffs, the decision to step away from the sport on his own terms was an easier one.
“It’s definitely a big part of that. If I were racing for a Playoff spot, it would be a little tougher decision, but I still think I would get to the same conclusion. I still think that that is a part of how excited or how happy you are on race weekends, and you have to make that decision on what the sacrifice is worth.”