David Ragan: NASCAR's Little Engine That Could?

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IAugust 20, 2008

When AAA Automobile Club finally decided to take the plunge into sponsoring in the NASCAR racing series, they thought they had a sure fire winning team, signing up with Jack Roush and having Mark Martin at the wheel. 

But one year into the sponsorship, Martin announced he was retiring and Roush tapped young driver David Ragan to pilot the number 6 AAA Ford Fusion.  While AAA scratched their heads in disbelief, to their credit, they embraced their new young driver and began featuring him in safety campaigns, especially targeting young drivers.

You see, David Ragan is one of those young guns himself, a mere 22 years of age.  He began his racing career at the age of eleven in 1997 racing in the Bandolero division.  As is typical with young racers, it is in his blood, as David's dad Ken was a Winston Cup driver for several years.

Young Ragan progressed well, driving in the ARCA, Craftsman Truck and Busch series.  In 2006, he joined the now Roush Fenway organization to fill the seat of legend Mark Martin.  In that year, he finished as the runner up to the Rookie of the Year award.

This past week in Michigan, Ragan had his best finish of the season, finishing third.  While all the Roush Fenway Fords seem to do well at their "home" track, this was a special coup for David as it was his best finish to date.  Currently for the season, he has five top five finishes and eight top ten finishes, with an average finish of 16.2.

But the best news for Ragan has been that he is now tied with Clint Bowyer for the thirteenth place in the championship points standings.  Better yet, he is only 26 points behind Denny Hamlin for the twelfth and final place in the chase race.

So, is David Ragan that little engine that could, chugging his way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup?  He thinks he can, he thinks he can!