Ragan, who last competed in the series in 2022, began his NASCAR career at what was then known as Roush Racing, spending his first five seasons in Cup driving for Hall of Fame owner Jack Roush.
Now, nearly two decades since his first series start, he finds himself with the opportunity to again compete for Roush on NASCAR’s biggest stage – the Daytona 500.
And even better, the 38-year-old native of Unadilla, Ga., believes he still has the chance to win.
Late last season, Ragan was asked about his interest in running a third entry in this year’s Daytona for what is now Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing and the organization’s recent resurgence only made his decision easier.
“I miss the racing scene a little bit, but really I’m extremely happy with my schedule and still being involved in the sport from a competition side but also having a little bit more of my personal life that that I can be home and with my wife and kids,” Ragan told Motorsport.com.
“It’s been a perfect balance. But you know when an opportunity comes up to drive a real fast race car with a team that has really proven that they can win races at a lot of different types of tracks, it was a no-brainer to me.”
Victory lane: race winner David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates
Photo by: Eric Gilbert
Ragan’s tenure at Roush was a bumpy one and ended following the 2011 season having finished no better than 13th in the series standings. However, he did earn his first series win with the team later that year in the July race at Daytona.
Despite leaving full-time competition in Cup after the 2019 season, Ragan has remained involved in the series, primarily doing simulation and testing work for Ford Performance.
Most recently, he has also tested NASCAR’s full battery powered race car and was going to drive it in an exhibition at last weekend’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before severe weather upended the schedule.
“I stay pretty in touch with all the Ford teams during the season driving the wheel-force car, which is the OEM test car we work closely with,” Ragan said.
“You know each Ford team generally sends a representative to those tests and then I often follow up with some simulator work for some of the teams just to help them develop tire models and different things with that car.
“So, I’ve followed along closely with what Brad (Keselowski) and Chris (Buescher) have been doing at RFK and the…