The Frontstretch: 2013 NASCAR Driver Review: David Ragan by Matt Stallknecht -- Wednesday January 8, 2014

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2013 NASCAR Driver Review: David Ragan

Matt Stallknecht · Wednesday January 8, 2014

 

2013 Ride: No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Fusion
2013 Primary Sponsor(s): Taco Bell/Peanut Patch/Farm Rich
2013 Car Owner(s): Bob Jenkins
2013 Crew Chief(s): Jay Guy
2013 Stats: 36 Starts, 0 Wins, 1 Top 5, 3 Top 10s, 0 DNFs, 28th in Points

David Ragan

2013 Team Ranking: 1st of 3. Although Ragan finished behind teammate David Gilliland in points, Ragan and the #34 team were the top team within the organization in 2013. Ragan delivered the team’s 1st ever victory as well as its first ever top 15 at short track. A series of mechanical failures at the end of the season placed Ragan behind Gilliland in points, but make no mistake, Ragan was the ace driver for Front Row in 2013.

Best Finish: 1st – Talladega (Spring).
Average Finish: 26.9.

High Point: This one is obvious. Ragan pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NASCAR history this past May at Talladega, delivering a shocking victory for an underfunded team in one of the sport’s biggest races. Ragan maintained a low profile all race long and used expert drafting help from teammate David Gilliland to make an improbable last lap surge to the lead that will forever be immortalized in NASCAR lore. Without question, Ragan once again established himself as one of the premier superspeedway racers in the sport, as well as a team player to boot. Despite all of the tough races and disappointments that come with racing for an underfunded race team, Ragan’s win was a bright spot that overshadowed all of the difficulties that he has endured in his career to this point.

Low Point: For the most part, Ragan and his #34 team improved in a number of ways in 2013. That being said, mechanical gremlins haunted this team all year long and robbed them of an opportunity to finish in the top 25 in points. The ultimate low point came towards the end of the Chase. After Ragan once again delivered another top-notch plate race performance in the fall Talladega event, the #34 team experienced three consecutive mechanical failures in the three races that followed, largely killing any chance the team had at a top 25 points finish. If this team wants to take the next step in terms of competitiveness next year, such mechanical issues will have to be remedied in short order.

Summary: Overall, David Ragan and Front Row Motorsports made great strides in 2013. Ragan helped the team earn its first ever Sprint Cup win and delivered a number of workmanlike performances throughout the year in which Ragan outperformed his equipment. Both driver and team seem to be improving in a symbiotic manner that is only seems to be growing in strength, and the 2013 season was emblematic of that fact.

2014 Outlook: This is a team on the rise. The #34 team is arguably the top performing underfunded ride on the circuit, and with more sponsorship expected in 2014, there’s no reason to not believe that the team will turn it up a notch in terms of competitiveness. A top 25 points finish and more top 15 finishes ought to be in order for 2014.

2012 Frontstretch.com Grade: C.
2013 Grade: B-.

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