David Ragan lucky Roush renewed contact; now he must perform
Despite a horrible run over the past 49 races, during which he has just 3 top-10 finishes and 0 top-5s, it was announced this week that he his contract with Roush Fenway Racing has been extended through 2011, and he will drive the UPS Ford next year.
To put it kindly, he’s getting a gift here.
He’s getting one more chance to prove that the promise he showed in an awesome run in 2008, when he barely missed the Chase, was not all hype and that he is a driver who can compete for wins on a regular basis.
In a sport where you are expected to provide instant results, especially when you have a big sponsor like UPS, it was very likely that Ragan has overstayed his welcome at Roush.
But this signing shows that Jack still believes Ragan has the talent he flashed in 2008, when he posted 14 top-10s. Given the choice last year, he kept Ragan and let Jamie McMurray go. The move worked out well for McMurray, who went on to win the Daytona 500 in his first race back with Chip Ganassi’s team, but Ragan has done almost nothing of note for Jack Roush.
A man like Jack Roush is used to winning, or at least competing for wins, on a weekly basis. He will not tolerate mediocrity for long, as that’s not his style. Even in lower series like Trucks and Nationwide, he has shown over the years that drivers who don’t succeed will be shown the door.
2011 will be do or die for Ragan. If he doesn’t get better between now and next fall, I guarantee you he’ll be looking for a ride.
But he is a very lucky man today, because he has earned the one get-out-of-jail free card that he’ll get from Jack Roush. I hope he makes the most of it.