David Ragan Grabs Last Available Cup Ride

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett (MRD/CIA)

Posted by: Dave Thompson, follow @phillyfan17

January 19, 2012

David Ragan, who lost his ride at Roush Fenway Racing when the team elected to cut back from four cars to three, has landed a new ride in the Sprint Cup Series for the upcoming 2012 season.

Front Row Motorsports made the announcement earlier in the week that Ragan would drive the No. 34 Ford Fusion for the team in 2012. Ragan had been linked to a number of rides during the off-season including the No. 22 Dodge Shell/Pennzoil, the No. 43 at Richard Petty Motorsports and even the No. 88 in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports.

So with Ragan signing a 1-year deal with Front Row Motorsports, the odd man out is now Travis Kvapil who will give up No. 38 Ford Fusion to David Gilliland. Both cars are locked into the field, based on the owner’s points from last season, for the Daytona 500 on February 26th.

“Front Row Motorsports has made great progress in the last few years, and I look forward to helping them advance to the next level,” Ragan said. “I think the team appreciates what I can bring to the table, an I think it is a good opportunity for both of us.”

Ragan has made 182 Sprint Cup Series starts with his lone win coming last July at Daytona. His average finish in those 182 starts is 21st. While the statistics may seem unimpressive, Ragan did show some significant promise in 2011 in route to his 23rd place finish in the Cup standings.

Let us not forget that Ragan just turned 26-years old last month and has plenty of years behind the wheel ahead of him. The Georgia native remains one of the younger drivers in the series, even younger than Kyle Busch. Now, I am not saying he is as talented as Busch, but Ragan does have talent despite the lack of wins.

In my opinion, this is an excellent move by Front Row Motorsports and for Ragan. With the pressure to perform at Roush Fenway Racing now gone, expect Ragan to be more consistant with his new team.Ragan knows the team is not a championship contender and doubtful even a Chase contender team, but overall I feel the No. 34 team will show significant improvement throughout the season.

Ragan’s signing leaves Brian Vickers as the most notable Cup driver still hunting for a ride in 2012. Vickers lost his ride after Red Bull shutdown operations at the end of the 2011 season. With about 30 cars committed to running a full season, there could be weekly openings available to drivers like Vickers in an attempt to fill out he 43-car grid.

As a side note, sponsorship for both Ragan and Gilliland has yet to be announced.