Inspiring Athletes

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David Ragan celebrates after his victory at the Coke ZERO 400 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images; Courtesy NASCAR))

It’s been a long four and half years for David Ragan. He took over for the legendary Mark Martin at Roush-Fenway Racing in the #6 car but despite several close calls (including the Daytona 500 earlier this year) had yet to register a victory at NASCAR’s elite level.

That all changed Saturday night when Ragan (with help from his teammate Matt Kenseth) survived a pair of green-white-checker starts at the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona, Fla., and picked up his first career Sprint Cup win in the process. If you didn’t know Ragan was one of the best stock car racers in the world, well, you just wouldn’t know. He’s a prototypical unassuming, boy-next-door type with virtually no ego.

During the down times as an independent driver, Ragan says he relied on his strong faith in God that was passed down to him by his parents and grandparents.

“There were a lot of tough nights when we only had one race car and I tore it up and we didn’t know if we had enough funds to keep racing,” Ragan told me outside his hauler during an interview at Texas Motor Speedway. “That’s when you have to ask the Lord for some help and some guidance to do the right thing. A lot of times it’s tough to make the decision on your own. You know what you want to do and it always helps to have someone to rely on to help you out. I can remember some tough nights where I was questioning myself. “Can I really drive?” or, “Is this the right thing for me to do?” But at the end of the day, a lot of prayers were answered and certainly things worked out for the good.”

For the full transcript of my interview with Ragan, click here.

For more Inspiring Athletes interviews with NASCAR drivers, click on the links below and be watching next week for interviews with Trevor Bayne and Kyle Petty:

Justin Allgaier

Richard Petty

Darrell Waltrip

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