The NASCAR Sprint Cup season is not a third of the way complete, but David Ragan will be with his third different team of the year this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
Ragan takes over the No. 55 car for Michael Waltrip Racing after running the No. 34 for Front Row Motorsports in the Daytona 500 and nine races in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing in place of an injured Kyle Busch. Ragan will be with MWR the rest of the season, and Waltrip says he’s looking forward to what the two-time Cup winner can bring to the struggling two-car team.
“We feel like his input will help Clint (Bowyer) have a faster car and vice versa,’’ Waltrip told NASCAR Talk. “If David can go out and outperform Clint, that will push Clint to outperform David, and we need that kind of friendly competition among our divers. That will validate David’s information.’’
Michael Waltrip Racing has had three top-10 finishes this season. Bowyer placed seventh in the Daytona 500 and ninth at Richmond. Brett Moffitt finished eighth at Atlanta in the No. 55 car.
The organization only has two top-20 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas) heading into this weekend’s race at another 1.5-mile track.
“We do think with Brett’s help from the time we left Texas, which was a real struggle for our organization, to Saturday night at Kansas, we’ve gained a lot,’’ Waltrip said. “We’ve made our cars better. We think the engine under the hood from Toyota will be strong. We think we’ll really make some headway at Kansas.’’
Ragan, who will be the fourth driver in the No. 55 car this season, also is looking to snap a recent slide. Ragan was 10th in the points after last month’s Texas race but is 20th heading to Kansas. He placed 41st at Bristol after he was collected in a crash, finished two laps down in 23rd at Richmond and was caught in a crash at Talladega, placing 38th, to fall in the points.
“That can come back around to other people,’’ Ragan said at Talladega. “We could go out and win Kansas and our lives would be easy. You just never know what the next lap or the next race will bring.’’
Results for the No. 55 car for Michael Waltrip Racing this season
Race – Finish (Driver)
Daytona 500 – 26th (Michael Waltrip)
Atlanta – 8th (Brett Moffitt)
Las Vegas – 15th (Brian Vickers)
Phoenix – 41st (Brian Vickers)
Auto Club – 22nd (Brett Moffitt)
Martinsville – 28th (Brett Moffitt)
Texas – 29th (Brett Moffitt)
Bristol – 17th (Brett Moffitt)
Richmond – 29th (Brett Moffitt)
Talladega – 36th (Michael Waltrip)