It’s been expected that David Ragan will return to Front Row Motorsports when he finishes his tour of substituting for injured Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota.
But it seems there’s a plan in the works that could keep Ragan in a Camry.
According to the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer, Michael Waltrip Racing is trying to secure Ragan as the driver of its No. 55 Toyota, starting next month with the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway. Ragan, who started the season in Front Row’s No. 34 Ford, has driven in place of Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing since the season’s second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I know I’m going to be in the 18 car for a little while,” Ragan told USA Today on Friday. “This week and Talladega are obviously two very important weeks we’re looking forward to. I’m focused on that and I just don’t really have any comment.”
It’s been reported that Joe Gibbs Racing will replace Ragan with rising star Erik Jones in the No. 18 at Kansas until Busch returns from the broken right leg and fractured left foot suffered in a Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway.
That would allow Ragan to take over the No. 55 ride, which has been covered by a patchwork lineup of drivers because Brian Vickers has made only two starts this season because of heart surgery and a recurrence of blood clots. Vickers is out until at least July, and Waltrip told Fryer that his return is uncertain.
“We’re making plans now and we wanted a more long-term solution for the situation by this point, but we just haven’t been able to put all the pieces together yet,” Waltrip said.
MWR announced Thursday that Waltrip would drive the No. 55 at Talladega Superspeedway in place of Brian Moffitt, who has driven the car in the past four races. Moffitt has a season-best finish of eighth in place of Vickers at Atlanta.
“I love Brett, I love his spirit,” Waltrip told Fryer in a Thursday interview. “He’s 22 years old, not a lot of experience, and he came out of the gates running. He’s done everything we could have hoped for him to do with his amount of experience and where our cars are, and I know he’s thankful for the opportunity. It was something he didn’t have on his radar when the season started but because of the health challenges Brian is facing, he got this chance. I think he’s done a nice job.”