David Ragan/Aaron's Charlotte 500 Preview

No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver David Ragan says there is a lot on the line for himself and his race team in Saturday night’s 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Charlotte is home for most of the NASCAR world and this race is the only chance for a lot of the shop guys and a lot of the families to come to a race,” said Ragan who qualified seventh and raced in the top-five in the 600-mile race at Charlotte in May.

“This race is a big event. The Chase is important and deservedly gets a lot of the attention but when the green flag drops Saturday night all 43 of us are going to race hard to get the trophy just like everyone has always done in NASCAR. We are racing as hard as we ever have raced.”

Ragan’s track record is good at Charlotte. He finished second in the Coke 600 in 2011 and has posted three top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile track. His Michael Waltrip Racing team won this race in 2012 with Clint Bowyer.

On Wednesday, Ragan will visit the Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville, S.C., to celebrate patient Hunter Black’s seventh birthday. Black, who is battling cerebral palsy, and Ragan met in 2014 during a hospital visit.

Ragan, a Shriner since 2012, has made several hospital appearances and hosted families at tracks. Black and his family will be his guest at Charlotte on Saturday.

“We are awfully blessed in this sport to get to do what we do and this is just my way of paying it back just a little,” said Ragan.

“It’s also a lot of fun. The kids are glad to see any visitor in the hospital and when they come to the track their eyes light up when they experience all the sights and sounds of NASCAR.

“Some of these kids have overcome things that I don’t like to even think about. They are tougher than any race car driver I have ever met.”