LINCOLN, Ala. — David Ragan is off to the best start of his career.
And he is battling for a Chase berth.
However, he has been doing it with multiple rides.
And now, he will be on the move again.
Effective on May 4, Mr. Ragan will move to the #55 Toyota Camry, replacing Brian Vickers. Mr. Vickers is out indefinitely with blood clots that have been occurring off and on since 2009.
“The only way I can repay all the people I have to thank for making this happen is to go out and win races and get MWR, Aaron’s and Toyota in the Chase,” said Mr. Ragan in a team release. “It’s going to be awesome knowing when I climb in the No. 55 at Kansas that car will be mine the rest of the season. I look forward to working with (teammate) Clint Bowyer, the crew and shop employees at MWR. It’s tough what’s happened to them this year, but I hope I can come in and make 2015 something special.”
MWR team owner Michael Waltrip ran the Daytona 500 for Mr. Vickers and will run Sunday’s race at Talladega for the driver. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Brett Moffitt has run six races in the No. 55 and Mr. Vickers ran at Phoenix and Las Vegas.
“Life has thrown a lot at MWR the first part of this racing season, but our team has stood tall and worked through it,” Waltrip said in the release. “Our original plans for the No. 55 team have been challenged since December, and we felt it was important for our employees and our sponsors to solidify the remainder of the 2015 season.”
The opportunity to bring David Ragan into the team is incredible for a number of reasons. He will bring experience, consistency and a lot of confidence based on how he has been running with our Toyota teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing. He also puts the No. 55 team and Aaron’s right back into the Chase for the Sprint Cup contention, which is a very positive turn of events for that team.”
With Mr. Ragan stepping out of the #18 ride he had been piloting since Hampton, Ga., speculation centers around 18-year-old Erik Jones to take over at Kansas City, Kan. Mr. Jones earned his first career XFINITY win earlier this month at Justin, Texas. Mr. Moffitt, who had filled in for Mr. Ragan in the #34 Front Row Motorsports ride at Phoenix and Las Vegas, should be a candidate to return to that Ford Fusion on Mother’s Day weekend as well.
“I’m really proud of the incredible job Brett Moffitt has done for us in the 55,” Waltrip said. “He has been a big part of this organization for the last couple of years and he will continue in that role. With the limited number of starts Brett has in this industry, he has proven that he has the talent to be a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and we are still committed to helping him get that opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Front Row Motorsports reiterated that Chris Buescher would be in their No. 34 ride for Talladega but did not divulge plans for the rest of the season for Ragan’s former car.
“We are grateful to David Ragan for his contributions to the growth of Front Row Motorsports and his commitment to our partners over the past three years,” team owner Bob Jenkins said. “He led us on our first trip to Victory Lane, and that’s a moment we’ll never forget. We wish him the best with his new team.”
As previously announced, Chris Buescher will be the driver of the No. 34 at Talladega this weekend. We are working on finalizing the driver lineup for races to follow and will announce those plans soon.”
Mr. Ragan raced only the Daytona 500 in the #34 Ford in the 2015 season.