David Ragan started the season with Furniture Row Racing. Following the Daytona 500, he made the move to Joe Gibbs Racing. Now he’s reportedly on the move again.
Ragan, 29, will reportedly make the jump over to Michael Waltrip Racing next month. Jim Utter of The Charlotte Observer reports Ragan will make the switch in the No. 55 machine in the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway.
UPDATE: MWR sent out a press release on Tuesday morning officially announcing that Ragan will drive in the Aaron’s Dream Machine for the rest of the season. His time with the team will begin on May 9 in place of Brian Vickers.
“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.”
Since the second race of the season, Ragan has been behind the wheel for Gibbs and filled in admirably for Kyle Busch. Currently sitting 13th in points, he would offer a Chase contender for MWR.
However, Waltrip still hasn’t said who will take over the seat on a permanent basis for Brian Vickers. The team owner spoke about the status for the No. 55, which he’ll be driving in Talladega, per Tom Jensen of Fox Sports.
“We’re working with our sponsor, Aaron’s to try and find a permanent solution,” Waltrip said. “… All I know is Brett [Moffitt]’s driving the No. 55 this weekend and I’m racing it next weekend at Talladega. Beyond that, nothing’s done.”
On the JGR side of the situation, the team got ahead of the situation at Bristol. With Denny Hamlin dealing with neck spasms, Erik Jones took over to record his first laps at the Sprint Cup level. Already taking over for Busch at the Xfinity level, Jones, 18, should be a candidate to step up in the premier series.
“Erik has been doing an awesome job obviously in the Xfinity car and Truck and he’s obviously got a lot of talent,” Matt Kenseth said, via Utter. “I think it’s hard to judge him either way in what he did in Bristol in Denny’s car.
— FOX SPORTS: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) April 20, 2015
Suffice to say, the trial by fire was a good thing for Jones. With a win at the Xfinity level in a fill-in role for Busch, Jones looks ready for anything.
Thanks to the possible waiver for Busch from NASCAR, JGR wouldn’t be too hurt by the move if the injured star can win a race when he returns.
What the move means for Ragan is he’d have a more permanent role with a competitive team. MWR isn’t enjoying a stellar season, but still has more resources and better equipment than Furniture Row Racing.
Looking to make the Chase, it would be a great move for both sides. As for the driver carousel in NASCAR, expect it to keep spinning as the season winds down.
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