David Ragan doesn’t sound concerned about leaving one of the Sprint Cup Series’ powerhouse teams for one that is entering just its fourth full season in the series.
In fact, the Unadilla native is excited about the change.
Ragan left Roush Fenway Racing in the offseason, joining Front Row Motorsports. Roush had four cars while Front Row will have two, teaming Ragan with David Gilliland.
“I’m looking forward to this year; there’s definitely a lot of excitement going into the season,” Ragan said. “A goal of mine was to stay in the Sprint Cup Series, and it would be great if I could stay in a Ford, and I was able to do that.
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“They’ve made some pretty big strides just in the last couple of years in competition, and I think there is a lot of potential there to grow that team to the next level, so I feel like I can bring something to the table.”
Ragan earned his first Sprint Cup win last year, taking the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July. He also won two poles and had eight top-10 finishes, including four in the top five, but missed out on his goal of qualifying for the Chase for the championship.
Gilliand finished third in last year’s Daytona 500. Ragan’s crew chief with his new team is Jay Guy.
“It was a good season; it certainly wasn’t great, wasn’t perfect,” Ragan said of his 2011 showing. “We all had aspirations of making the Chase. We had some goals of making the all-star race, to win a race, to win some poles, and we accomplished all those, but for our team to not make the Chase was a letdown because we felt like we were a Chase-caliber team.
“David Gilliland is a proven driver who has done a nice job for them. We need to continue to grow this team’s top 10s, top 15s and get them their first win.”
With his new team, Ragan said he will have much more impact on what is done and how things are done. He said Front Row has about 60 employes compared to the 350 Roush had.
“I’m a little more involved with a smaller team,” Ragan said. “I certainly have a little more personal relationship with all the guys in the shop. Being more involved in the day-to-day operations, it’s different, but it’s fun for me.”
Ragan said he is enjoying the process of going to work with his new team. He got a big confidence boost from last year’s win, and he plans to use that with his new team.
“Being a Sprint Cup race winner is huge; there’s only a select few guys who have been able to call themselves a Cup race winner,” Ragan said. “Certainly the next step is winning a championship or winning multiple races at multiple tracks. It’s going to be a lot of fun to work with a new team. I have that win in my back pocket, and I know what it takes, so it’s going to be enjoyable to work hard and go to get that next win.”
1 p.m., Feb. 26 (FOX)