OK, things got a little confusing… apparently I skipped Day 17 and Day 18 in my countdown…I got confused, one number (the one in the title) was counting down, while the other number (which day I was on) was counting up. So today, is actually Day 23 of my 35-day venture around the world of NASCAR.
Today we look at a driver who showed enormous improvement between his rookie season and his sophomore year at Roush-Fenway Racing.
We all remember Martinsville in 2007 (I was there!). David Ragan (then a rookie) had to of spun around six or seven times.
Everyone was counting him as the odd-man out when Roush was forced to cut a team following the 2009 season.
Then something happened, the driver who originally couldn’t stay on the track, nearly made the 2008 Chase.
Not only did he have a great showing in the Cup Series, but he also finished fourth in the Nationwide points. And thus, the top driver without a win was introduced to the NASCAR fans.
Now onto the preview:
Today’s Spotlight: No. 6
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Driver: David Ragan
Driver 2008 Stats: Ragan earned more than $3.9 million in 2008 en route to a 13th place finish in the points. He managed 14 top-10 finishes, six top-fives and an average finish of 15th. (For comparison, his 2007 stats were an average finish of 25th, three top-10 finishes and only two top-fives.)
News: When former champion Dale Jarrett decided to officially retire, long-time sponsor UPS had to find a new young driver to represent their company for years to come. During the off season, that driver was found at the Roush Stable.
Last year, Ragan was sponsored by AAA, but this year he will hit the pavement driving the infamous brown and gold UPS sponsored Ford.
Other than that, the only news worthy topic out of Roush has been the team trying to change NASCAR’s mind on the four-car ownership limit. (They have a point, with five teams fully sponsored, and new teams unable to find sponsorship, they might as well let them hang on to their sponsors and drivers, right?)
My Prediction for 2009: One word spells out my prediction for Ragan in 2009: C-H-A-S-E. Yes, Ragan will make the 12-team playoffs this year. Now, he won’t win the thing, but I see him finishing in the neighborhood of fifth through ninth.
Will this team remain in top-35: Sure will.
Up Tomorrow: No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
This story also appears on my blog: Sports 101
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