Just a few races remain in David Ragan’s full-time NASCAR career, but the Cup Series veteran admits he isn’t doing much reflecting.
“I don’t want to seem weird [because] this is a pretty big milestone and something interesting happening in my life and my career, but I haven’t thought about it much,” he said recently. “I’ve taken these weeks as I normally would.”
Ragan is still giving all his focus to the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford. Whether it’s Martinsville last week, Texas this weekend, or ISM Raceway at Phoenix coming up, he still wants to finish as well as he can each week. That means preparing the same as he would throughout the year, spending time on the simulator, and fulfilling his appearance obligations.
“I think if anything I’ve been pretty busy with some of my family and friends and some different people, like, ‘Hey, we want to come to one of these last few races,’ so I’ve been calling in a few favors and getting a few extra hot passes here and there, and that’s keeping my mind off of not racing full-time next year,” he said. “I think Homestead will feel a little different … I think it would be bad news if I was feeling bad and I was feeling upset or stressed out, but I feel really good. I’m so excited about some of the things I’m working on for next year, and it’ll be a fun offseason.”
It was announced in early August that Ragan was going to focus on his family and other aspects of his life after 13 seasons in the Cup Series. He has two career wins.
Ragan admits he won’t miss being on an airplane every week. Or having to leave town when his children have soccer games or parties at school. But he’ll miss climbing in the car first thing on Friday for practice, and the anxiety of sitting on pit road thinking about having to put down a perfect lap for qualifying.
But in mentioning things he’s working on for next year, Ragan emphasized that he would be visible around the racetrack. And he still plans on getting behind the wheel.
“I’m still going to be involved in the sport a couple of different ways — I’m working on some stuff now that will keep me involved,” said Ragan. “Yeah, I’m still going to drive some. I’m not getting rid of all my helmets and suits, and I’m going to go get my physical in January.
“I’ll definitely be around, but I’m going to pick and choose some fun races, and if it’s really cold or really hot, I might not come. I’m going to pick the fun tracks and the nice weather.”
Running the Daytona 500 is not out of the question, and there have been discussions around Ragan doing such in Feb. 2020. However, he doesn’t expect to do many Cup Series races in the future because he doesn’t believe it’s fair to go to a team for one-off races or a part-time schedule and expect to be competitive.
Dirt races are an option. Ragan has already spoken with Tony Stewart and Roger Slack about running at Eldora, although he’s not sure doing so next year would be possible. One day in the future, though, Ragan does plan to compete at the track in “something.” Truck Series racing and the ARCA Series, both of which Ragan has spent time competing in previously, are also on his radar.
“I love the Truck Series [and] I would love to run a couple of truck races,” he said. “I love the ARCA Series — that’s some of the most fun I’ve had, and there’s some tracks like Nashville and (Lucas Oil Raceway), Salem, Indiana, Winchester, Toledo, Ohio, that man, I just love going to those racetracks. So I’d love to pick a couple of ARCA races and go and run.
“We’ll kind of see what shakes out.”