Well it had been said all across the internet for the last year that David Ragan’s contract with Roush Fenway Racing was up at the end of the 2011 season. Well now Fox Sports is reporting that Roush Fenway Racing is saying that the driver is signed though 2014 and that just the UPS sponsorship is up at the end of the year.
My question is does this change anything?
Word coming into this year was that Ragan was in the car only because of the sponorship. There was talk that UPS was not happy with Ragan’s performance and that Roush Fenway could not replace him in the car with another driver for fear that UPS would stop cutting checks for breech of contract.
Both sides have said this is not true but considering that there has been no talks of UPS extending the sponsorship of the Georgia driver (where UPS headquarters are located) make one wonder the opposite.
To make things worse is that the 25 year-old driver has regressed the last three years. He finished 24th in the point standings this year with just 3 top-10’s. It seems like an eternity now but Ragan just missed the Chase in 2008 when he had 6 top-6’s and 14 top-10’s. He hasn’t posted a top-5 since and has led just 17 laps over the last two years.
With all that on the table you have to wonder how firm this contract is. If there is no sponsorship on the car, Ragan can’t be in it. If I’m a high dollar corporation interested in sponsoring a stock car 2011 is a make or break year for Ragan if he wants my money.
My guess is Ragan will be back if he shows considerable improvement this year, else wise he’s headed for the door. There simply are too many marquee names out there for next season and Trevor Bayne is already waiting in the wings inside the organization.
The truth is the amount of money it would take to pay Ragan off is a drop in the bucket compared to what a sponsor can pay.
Now that the season is over I feel great about how I foretold this piece. Even the Trevor Bayne bit was nice and considering that Bayne won the Daytona 500 was spot on. Problem was Rickey Stenhouse Jr now appears to be the hot flavor for Roush Fenway.
Ragan is hopeful of something for 2012 within RFR but nothing is in line.