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"I still want to run a few races this year. I'll pick another race that's good for me. That's good for David Gilliland Racing and their team." (Photo: Getty Images)

Ragan Eyes Next Start

David Ragan is looking forward to making a start in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in the near future after having to miss this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Ragan was slated to drive the No. 17 Ford for DGR-Crosley at his home track, but was one of seven entries that will not make the 40-truck field in Saturday’s Vet Tix/Camping World 200 (MRN, 12:30 p.m. ET) due to not having enough points. He was going to be sponsored by Select Blinds, which backed him for his one NASCAR start this season in the Daytona 500.

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"We basically didn’t make the cut so, you know, NASCAR’s got to draw that line before the race weekend because there’s no practice, there’s no qualifying to set the field," Ragan said. "We didn’t have any points and I understand. NASCAR certainly takes care of those truck teams that have run a race this year. They’re going off of the 2020 points.

"It’s just one of those things that timing wasn’t on our side. If we would have known there was going to be this many entries we could have changed a number or, you know, made a partnership with another team, but we thought that we would be safe for that 40 truck field. There were a lot of people that are ready to get out of the house and get back to the race track. So again, a great thing for NASCAR that all these teams are actively trying to get to the track and race, but it just didn’t work out for us."

Now Ragan will look for another date to make his first Gander Truck Series start since 2006. He was originally going to run the race at Richmond Raceway that was scheduled for April 18.

"I still want to run a few races this year," Ragan said. "I’ll pick another race that’s good for me. That’s good for David Gilliland Racing and their team. We want to go out and try to lead some laps and win the race, so we’ll pick another one over the next month or two."

While he waits to determine where that next start will be, Ragan continues to be busy with his role with Ford Performance.

"(I’m) still working with our current Mustang and all our Ford teams on developing the short-track aero package that we have trying to fine-tune on it," Ragan said. "Working with some of the other different teams on just the development, trying to make this Mustang as fast as we can this year to give them a chance to win races and go for that manufacturer’s championship."

Along with spending time in the simulator, Ragan was slated to test the Next-Gen car for Ford, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We were supposed to have our first Next-Generation car test last week at Charlotte," Ragan said. "So obviously a lot of the suppliers that we’re getting our parts and pieces from they are backed up a little bit. NASCAR had to have all hands on deck getting the schedule and kind of the new things rolling for the new protocols this year.

"I do think that we’ll probably see some of those cars on track in the fourth quarter of this year just to get a head start on the 2021 development."

Ragan is also working with some of the up-and-coming Ford drivers at DGR-Crosley.

"Hailie Deegan has had a great start to the year in the ARCA Menards Series and you’ve got Tanner Gray and Taylor Gray that are working with the David Gilliland Racing folks in the ARCA and in the Truck Series. There’s still some young kids that are coming up through the ranks and I’ll work with them a little bit here and there at the race track and on the simulator and try to help those Ford blue ovals stay close to the front"