David Ragan is reuniting with RFK Racing to drive the No. 60 BuildSubmarines.com Ford in an attempt to qualify for the 2024 Daytona 500, the team announced Wednesday.
RFK Racing’s new #Stage60 program pairs Ragan back on the team with which he began his NASCAR Cup Series career in 2006 — then Roush Racing — before Ragan became the full-time driver of its No. 6 Ford for five years. Ragan scored his inaugural Cup victory on the high banks of Daytona in the 2011 summer race and now rejoins the team for his 17th Daytona 500.
“It’s really exciting to be back in an RFK Ford,” Ragan said in a press release. “I spent some of the best years of my career driving for Mr. Jack (Roush) and the team at RFK. They really gave me my first opportunity in the sport and I have to thank BuildSubmarines.com for helping make this happen. We had a really strong run going in my last year at Roush at the 500, and hopefully we can go back and finish what we started.”
Indeed, Ragan was in position to win the Daytona 500 back in 2011 and led the field to the green flag in the first overtime attempt, but an early lane change resulted in a penalty against Ragan and relegated him to an eventual 14th-place finish instead.
RFK Racing has never entered the No. 60 in Cup Series history but has a long history with it in Xfinity Series competition, collecting 94 wins with the number spread among Mark Martin (39), Carl Edwards (38), Greg Biffle (14) and Chris Buescher (three). Edwards and Buescher won Xfinity titles — in 2007 and 2015, respectively — driving the No. 60 car.
RFK Racing intends for #Stage60 to be more than a one-and-done scenario, according to the team’s press release. The organization plans to announce additional events at a later date.
A mission to honor our history while looking to the future. 🤝
— RFK Racing (@RFKracing) November 29, 2023
Per the release, #Stage60 features a ‘modern retro’ font for the famed No. 60, while introducing a logo that pays homage to the Roush Stage III Mustang, while also staying true to RFK’s current brand marks.
“The 60 car represents an opportunity for us to honor our past and look forward to the future of RFK Racing,” Steve Newmark, president of RFK Racing, said in a release. “We’re thankful to have partners like BuildSubmarines.com, who, like us, have a mission to grow and be best in class in all endeavors.”
Although 2023 marked the first year since 2005 that Ragan didn’t attempt a Cup Series start, he never strayed far from the track. The Georgia native has served as a driver coach and been Ford’s designated test driver, piloting the manufacturer’s wheel force car to gain data for its simulation work, and even drove the 2024 Dark Horse Mustang for promotional content ahead of the vehicle’s reveal earlier this fall.
Ragan’s recent track record in the Daytona 500 includes one top five and two top 10s in his last four Daytona starts with an average finish of 14.5, weighted down by an early crash out of the 2021 running of the “Great American Race” when the “Big One” struck early.
Each of Ragan’s two Cup wins have come via superspeedway racing, the second coming at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring of 2013, when he wheeled the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford to the checkered flag ahead of teammate David Gilliland in an upset victory for the underdog team.
Ragan, 37, has 476 Cup starts in addition to 107 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts and 31 Craftsman Truck Series races, collecting two Xfinity victories in 2009 with wins at Talladega and Bristol Motor Speedway.
Because the No. 60 BuildSubmarines.com Ford will not be a chartered entry, Ragan will need to qualify the car either via time trials or in the Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying race.