(WOMR file photo)
The word from the Roush-Fenway Racing and Ford camp is that they have agreed to a release for David Ragan for 2012. This will allow Ragan to pursue other racing opportunities for 2012. It was well documented that UPS was moving its sponsorship over to the RFR #99 Ford for the 2012 season, leaving the RFR #6 Ford without sponsorship for the 2012 season.
Therefore, with the latest news out of NASCAR country, the firing of Kurt Busch from Penske Racing, it would appear that David Ragan might be a favorite choice to slide into that #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge ride. Ragan said he asked for his release Monday morning, after learning that Busch and Penske Racing had mutually agreed to split. He then talked to Penske Racing president Tim Cindric to express an interest in the vacant #22 ride.
“I want to be in consideration for that car,” Ragan said. Ragan also said he had been disappointed when UPS informed Roush-Fenway during the season that it was not returning to the #6 car as a sponsor. “Sometimes crazy things happen for a reason. I feel I’ve got a good shot to have a sit-down talk with the guys at Penske,” Ragan said. “We haven’t discussed that, but I have reached out to them and hopefully later on in the next week or two we’ll have more to talk about.” Although Ragan didn’t have a Sprint Cup Series ride with RFR for 2012, he remained under contract until he was given the release. The move now clears him to pursue the Penske opening, as well as other potential vacancies in Sprint Cup and the Nationwide Series.
Penske Racing executive Bud Denker acknowledged that Ragan “and others” would be considered to replace Busch. It is quite obvious that Busch’s behavior, on and off the track, led to the split. He did not give a timetable, but indicated it could be several weeks, as the process has just begun and sponsor Shell Pennzoil will have to approve the winning candidate. Others drivers who might be considered include David Reutimann and Brian Vickers. Reutimann was released from Michael Waltrip Racing, while Vickers was a part of Red Bull Racing, which is folding its NASCAR operation. Denker said that Sam Hornish Jr. will not be under consideration, as Penske wants the former IndyCar Series champion to focus on a full Nationwide Series run in 2012 before returning to Cup. Hornish drove full-time in the Cup Series for Penske from 2008 through 2010, recording only two top-5 finishes and never finishing better than 28th in points. (ESPN)
The drama continues!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!