David Ragan and Front Row Motorsports (FRM) will once again bring the colors of the Shriners Hospitals for Children to the NASCAR Cup Series. Ragan will make the 2019 debut of the No. 38 Shriners Hospitals for Children Ford Mustang during this weekend's events at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Ragan and the team will also host a patient of the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Greenville at the track on Sunday. Antonio Knowles, who goes by "AJ", has been a patient of the Shriners Hospitals for Children since he was just one year old. Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a condition which causes decreased joint flexibility, the now 10-year-old can do many things he wasn't able to do when he first became a patient. Simple things that most people take for granted, like walking and talking, were made possible with the help of his medical team at the Greenville Shriners Hospital. Now able to get around with the assistance of a walker, AJ is a testament to the drive and determination of Shriners Hospitals for Children kids. AJ and his mother will be guests of the team on Sunday.
Ragan has a day of activities planned for Knowles and his mother, including a tour of the garage, his hauler and joining him during all the pre-race activities before Sunday's race. AJ and his mother will stay and watch the race with special seating made possible by Talladega Superspeedway.
"It's always great to race the Shriners Hospitals for Children scheme on our car and host a patient, family and donors of the hospitals," said Ragan. "We've been close to winning a race with the Shriners Hospitals on our car in the past, and I think we'll have a good chance this weekend, again."
"We're going to have our biggest fan, AJ, with us to help give us that extra luck we need on Sunday," added Ragan. "Learning about AJ and his story, it's pretty inspirational and really tells the story of what Shriners Hospitals for Children does for these patients. The hospitals are some of the best in the country and they are no cost to the families."
Ragan has been a member of Shriners International since 2012 and serves as its NASCAR ambassador. He visits Shriners Hospitals during the race season and raises awareness and funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children through various campaigns, public service announcements, donations and activities. Earlier this year, Ragan auctioned off 2018 Shiners Hospitals for Children race car at the Barrett-Jackson auction. The winning bid, made by Rick Steele of Select Blinds, raised $300,000 for the Hospitals.
Shriners Hospitals for Children provides specialized care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns and cleft lip and palate regardless of the families' ability to pay.