This past weekend David Ragan did not compete in the second race of a NASCAR Cup Series season for the first time since 2006, the year before his rookie campaign.
Ragan, who retired from full-time driving at the end of 2019, did race in the season-opening Daytona 500 where he finished fourth in the No. 36 Select Blinds Ford, but watched the Las Vegas race from afar as a fan.
Although he won’t be behind the wheel of a Cup car each weekend in 2020, Ragan will continue to work with Ford Performance where he will spend time in the simulator to assist teams and help with the development of the upcoming Next Gen car.
"My full-time job this year I’m still going to work with Ford Performance," Ragan said. "I’m going to do a lot of testing on the simulator, some part development and some stuff for some of the other Ford teams in the Cup Series. I have already been doing some of that this offseason. They have a whole simulation group in Concord, N.C. They do aero maps, engine development, tire models and a lot of stuff building the foundation and infrastructure that all the Ford teams use to help setup their race car."
Three Cup Series drivers have tested the Next Gen car so far, including Ford and Team Penske driver Joey Logano, who drove the car this past December at Phoenix Raceway.
"With the new next-generation car that we are going to roll out in 2021 I’ll do all the testing for that later on this summer at the different tracks," Ragan said. "It will be a good transition for me."
While his full-time job will be with Ford, Ragan still wants to race in a number of different series in 2020.
"I’ll get to race a little bit here and there and hopefully go race in some other series that I haven’t got a chance to run in years past," Ragan said. "The Truck Series is a lot of fun. I’ve looked at a few races that may fit my schedule and even going back and running a few ARCA Menards Series races at some of the short tracks. I still have a Legends car and might go run a few races at the Summer Shootout in Charlotte or Atlanta."
Ragan made 400 of his 471 Cup Series starts driving a Ford. His 2020 Daytona 500 start came in a partnership between Rick Ware Racing and Front Row Motorsports before officially cutting back his racing schedule.
"I like to stay on the move," Ragan said. "It’s a good transition. I can still be involved in the industry. I can still drive some race cars some and continue my relationship with Ford."