From the moment David Ragan first spent time at a Tampa-area Shriners Hospitals for Children in 2007, the work and sense of community have left an indelible mark and impact on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver.
That impact continues today as Shriners Hospitals for Children will be the primary sponsor for three of Ragan’s races in 2018. Shriners Hospitals for Children served as a primary sponsor for three races of Ragan’s in 2017, one in 2016 and one in 2012.
“When I visited the hospital, I saw the young kids and that their quality of life was being improved greatly by the hospitals,” Ragan told NASCAR.com. “I thought that I could use my platform as a race car driver to help raise some awareness and help educate people on what the hospitals are all about. That’s what I’ve been able to do and have some fun with it over the last 10 years.”
Ragan was even inducted into the Shriners International fraternity in 2012, serves as its NASCAR ambassador, rode on a Rose Bowl float for the organization in 2016 and was involved in negotiating this deal himself.
“David has been a tremendous ambassador for both Shriners Hospitals for Children and Shriners International,” Gary Bergenske, chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children, said in a team release. “Our partnership with David and Front Row Motorsports has increased awareness for our health care system and the work we do for our patients.”
Shriners Hospitals for Children will adorn Ragan’s No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford for the spring race at Dover (May 6) and the summer races at Daytona (July 7) and Bristol (Aug. 18). The 32-year-old father of two said the reason for those particular races is simple.
“We try to put them (the primary sponsored races) in markets that there is a hospital nearby or there is a large presence of members of the Shriners fraternity nearby,” Ragan explained.
“The Dover race — they have a big hospital in Philadelphia. The Daytona race– there is a hospital in Tampa, but there is also the annual Imperial Session — an annual meeting with all the Shriners all around the world will be in Daytona the week after the Fourth of July. Bristol — they have a lot of patients and family for the Greenville, South Carolina, hospital. The tracks are close by to the hospital so we can invite some patients and their families out.”
The at-track visits Ragan hosts provided a sense of normalcy and fun that the Georgia native is more than happy to be a part of.
“Inviting some of the patients out to the race track shows them that they can still come out, have some fun and live a normal life like other young kids their age,” Ragan said.
Sporting the Shriners paint scheme last July at Daytona, Ragan came close to his third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win. He finished sixth (his best finish of the season) and was on the front row for the final restart of the race on Lap 162.
“That would be really special to win in the Shriners paint scheme,” Ragan revealed. “I feel like when I’m driving that car not only am I representing my team and Ford Motor Company, but I feel like all the patients and the staff and the Shriners all around North America are pulling for me and are kind of riding shotgun.”
Shriners Hospitals for Children have provided life-changing care to more than 1.3 million children over the past 95 years. At 22 locations in North America, the doctors and staff work to transform lives through specialized care to children with orthopedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns and cleft lip and palate. All care and services are provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
For more information about Shriners Hospitals for Children or to find the nearest Shriners Hospital for Children in your area, visit https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc.