BRISTOL, Tenn – David Ragan announced on Wednesday that he will step away from being a full time NASCAR driver at seasons end. This is Ragan’s 13th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and now that his family is starting to grow, the Georgia native thinks it’s time to be around them more, so he’s now at peace with his decision to walk away from the sport that made him a household name.
Despite all that he does on and away from the race track, Ragan doesn’t want to be remembered for that. He wants people to know him for who he is and the person that we’ve seen since 2007 has been among the nicest drivers in the garage.
“I think first off we should be remembered for who we are, maybe not the accomplishments that we had and the trophies that we have, and the amount of zeroes in our bank account,” Ragan said in his first media availability since his announcement this week. “Those are all material things that come and go. When I’m dead in the ground down the road that stuff doesn’t make any difference.
“It’s the impact you have on others and what you do for your family, for others that you care about, so I hope that they remember me as a good guy and a guy who loved the Lord and loved my family and loved racing. That’s kind of who I am. I’m not that flashy of a guy.
“I don’t care too much about how many followers I have on social media or what my brand is, and I think that hurt me a little bit over time, but that’s something that on that spectrum I don’t care too much about. I think it all depends on how you interact with other people and what you do to help and serve others.”
Ragan, said that not being a contender anymore on a week in week out basis makes it even easier to step away from his full time racing duties.
“It’s definitely a big part of that,” said Ragan on being 30th in the points standings and if it was tough coming to the race track each week. “If I were racing for a Playoff spot, it would be a little tougher decision, but I still think I would get to the same conclusion. I still think that that is a part of how excited or how happy you are on race weekends, and you have to make that decision on what the sacrifice is worth.”
Ragan, has two wins in his Cup career and both for different teams. His first came in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 with Roush/Fenway Racing in 2011 while his other came on another superspeedway in Talladega in the spring race of 2013.
What Ragan is unfortunately most known for is his mistake on the final restart of the 2011 Daytona 500. The Georgia native was in the lead but he changed lanes on the final restart prior to crossing the start/finish line. That merited a penalty and took away a shot at winning. Instead, Trevor Bayne most famously did which a move eight years later Ragan wonders what might have been.
“I think people would be lying if you didn’t go back and think, ‘Man, what if?” Ragan said. “What if I would have gotten a driver coach and had a couple different mentors when I was a rookie or coming off of a great season in 2008? Could that have changed the course?
“I wonder if I would have won the Daytona 500 and not changed lanes before the start-finish line would UPS have stayed at Roush and things would have went on? So, sure, but that’s kind of fun to go back and laugh and joke about, but we don’t live in a world of what-ifs. I’m humble enough to go back and think about those things. It doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t keep me up at night. Sometimes it’s just a good laugh and a good story.”