David Ragan, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Pocono Preview

David Ragan says the Special Olympics changes people lives.

He’s seen it firsthand.

Ragan’s brother Adam earned more than 20 medals in Special Olympics competition in a variety of sports at state-level events in Georgia. 

“I’ve seen how it gave Adam confidence to work hard, be competitive and enjoy success,” said Ragan describing older brother Adam who has Down Syndrome. “I also saw that it taught Adam that sometimes things don’t work out like you hope and you finish second or third. That’s not always bad.”

Ragan said Adam is his number one fan and has attended countless races since his career began.

“The Special Olympics were a chance for us as a family to return the support he’s given us over the years.”

Given their support over the years, the Ragans plan to tune in to ESPN this week when 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries gather in Los Angeles for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

The event will include 25 sports at venues throughout Los Angeles. It also marks the first time in 16 years the World Games will held in America.

“If it were on the East Coast I think we’d go watch some of the events,” said David. But with the racing schedule the way it is I think we’ll have to watch on television.”

Ragan isn’t the only member of the Michael Waltrip Racing family to support next month’s games. Toyota is the official automotive sponsor and has been a Special Olympics partner for almost 30 years. The company has donated vehicles in the past, sponsored events as well as had associates volunteer their time.  

Toyota’s dealer network will be helping Special Olympics USA athletes and their coaches by raising funds to support their journey to Los Angeles. Fans can go to www.la2015.org for information on volunteering, attending the Games and fundraising. 

Ragan asked that race fans check out the World Special Olympics on ESPN as it airs this week.

“I’d encourage anyone to give it a try. There are some pretty remarkable people taking part.”