David Ragan's tenure in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota comes to an end with the GEICO 500 and he'll be moving onto his third team in 11 races -- "a little weird, for sure," he acknowledged -- when the Sprint Cup schedule resumes at Kansas Speedway on May 9.
Ragan, who began the season with Front Row Motorsports, was enlisted by JGR as a substitute for the injured Kyle Busch. While Busch's return date has still not been determined -- JGR will put rookie Erik Jones in the car until then -- Ragan moves on to Michael Waltrip Racing, taking over the No. 55 vacated by Brian Vickers' illness.
"It's been a good run for me for these guys," said Ragan, the winner of this race two years ago. "I think the last race in the 18 car, it's important to try to end on a good note. It's going to be important to run well and get a good finish."
However, the 29-year-old Ragan was well aware the JGR deal was only temporary.
"It's so much more important for me to have an opportunity going forward with a full-time car, with a very competitive organization like Michael Waltrip Racing than it would be for me to run a few more races before Kyle's (Busch) return," Ragan said.
Rookie Brett Moffitt had been in the No. 55 much of the season, but had only one top-10 finish, an impressive run in his Atlanta debut. Clint Bowyer, the team's ace, is 14th in points with just two top 10s.
"Having David in there with Bowyer is going to make our team better," Waltrip said.
"Our expectations are every high," Ragan said. "I think that Clint has been a little hit and miss the first part of the season just trying to understand the new rules package and those cars to get up to speed, but at the end of the day Michael Waltrip Racing has all the tools and resources that Joe Gibbs Racing has or that
Hendrick (Motorsports) or Stewart-Haas (Racing) has and there's no reason for us not to be able to win a race and have a shot at making the Chase. Certainly, that is our goal going forward."