[media-credit name=”www.davidragan.com” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]David Ragan, driver of the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, has had so much going on, from an intense run at Talladega to his upcoming race at historic Darlington, that no one would be surprised if the young driver was also going just plain nuts.
After a scorching weekend at ‘Dega, where drivers not only battled heat in the race car to heat in their engines, Ragan managed to escape relatively unscathed to score his first top ten of the 2012 season.
“That was a track that we had circled at the beginning of the season and a track that I’ve performed well as has Front Row Motorsports,” Ragan said. “At restrictor plate racing, when you run in a pack and when you can draft with other cars, it puts everyone on more of an equal playing field.”
“I felt like if we went down and didn’t make any mistakes, we would have a chance for a top-10 and that’s exactly what we did,” Ragan continued. “It was good to get a top-10 finish and hopefully we can improve on that for the rest of the year.”
Ragan certainly seems to have a knack for the superspeedways, a talent that has enabled him to keep his cool in spite of the craziness that often ensues at restrictor plate tracks.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to drive some good race cars over the years, with Ford engines and Roush prepared cars,” Ragan said. “You have to be patient and not push the issue.”
“You have to make the best decisions possible and we’ve always been able to come out of the superspeedways clean.”
Ragan recognized that some drivers were driven a bit batty by not only being back in the pack but also by trying to manage their temperature and pressure gauges.
“I think there were some issues with overheating and you just had to manage them,” Ragan said. “We were all fighting the same issues, all 43 cars.”
“It is annoying and it is frustrating,” Ragan continued. “But it’s just another element that makes NASCAR racing what it is.”
“I’m partial to the pack racing,” Ragan said. “I think it’s more fun for the fans.”
“I have an open attitude either way but I am partial to the pack racing because I’m a fan and that’s what I’d like to see.”
With the pack in back of him, Ragan is ready to tackle the track dubbed ‘Too Tough to Tame’ this weekend.
“I think we need to finish on the lead lap,” Ragan said of his Darlington plans. “We need to race the race track and run our own race. I think a top-15 to a top-20 would be a solid day for us.”
Ragan also fully plans to let himself go just a little nuts at Darlington for the race weekend. He will have Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts as the primary sponsor on his car for the historic Bojangles Southern 500.
“McCall Farms, with their division the Peanut Patch, is going to take a dip into the NASCAR world and be the primary sponsor on the No. 43 car,” Ragan said. “I grew up in Georgia where there were a lot of peanuts planted near the cotton. So, I’m a big boiled peanut fan.”
“They’re located right down the road from the race track,” Ragan continued. “They have a lot their employees that are going to be coming to the track.”
In addition to the peanuts, a definite concern at the race track for those who are superstitious, Ragan will also be driving a green race car, a color that again is one that is shunned by most. But neither seems to both the young driver in the least.
“I’m not a big superstitious guy but maybe if they see us in their rear view mirror in the peanut car, they’ll get out of our way,” Ragan said.
For any fans that want to join Ragan in going nuts this weekend, the Peanut Patch is running a special promotion on Front Row Motorsports Facebook page. All fans have to do is upload a video stating whey they want to “Go Nuts for David Ragan.”
“I haven’t seen any of the videos but I’ll have to check it out for sure,” Ragan said. “I don’t know who has the final say but I’m sure I can check it out and then hopefully influence whoever that’s going to be.”
Ragan is also balancing his nutty schedule on the track with his many off-track activities. The young driver is involved in everything from volunteer work with the Shriners to some old fashioned asphalt racing.
“I just completed one of the final steps in Free Masonry to become a Shriner,” Ragan said. “So, hopefully by summer we will be an official Shriner and a member of the Oasis Temple here in Charlotte.”
“We’ll also be at the Summer Shoot Out at the Shrine 100 in August.”
“We’re in the process of putting together another asphalt late model to do some racing around the southeast later in the year,” Ragan said. “I’ll drive and we run a young kid from Texas Andy Hogan and his next race is in Huntsville, Alabama next weekend.”
Ragan freely admits that his season has been a bit crazy to date. But in order to combat that, Ragan said strongly that consistency is the key.
“The season’s been OK,” Ragan said. “I’d give us a B minus.”
“We need to be more consistent,” Ragan continued. “We’ve been able to achieve some of our top 20 goals but we can certainly be more consistent.”
“And as long as we can keep getting better, that’s a good thing.”
Ragan fully intends to capitalize on his seventh place finish at Talladega with another good run at the ‘Lady in Black.’ And if he wins, Ragan predicts all kind of going nuts.
“We were all happy to get that good run at Talladega,” Ragan said. “But we need to continue to expect to get those good finishes.”
“You’ll see us get real crazy if we’re able to catch the checkered flag for one of these races.”