Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that David Ragan will pilot the #18 Toyota for the time being while should-be driver Kyle Busch and his broken leg heal. Busch was injured in last week’s Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway when he wrecked into an inside wall that didn’t have SAFER barriers. His timetable for return has not been determined, although rumors have been thrown out there that indicate it could be 4-6 months before Kyle gets back in his #18 Toyota.
David Ragan has been a full-time Sprint Cup driver since 2007. He raced for Roush Fenway Racing for most of his career before being let go at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Ragan then joined up with Front Row Motorsports, a lower-tier team in NASCAR. He’s a two-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series with 291 career starts under his belt (as of 02/24/2015). The chance to sub in for Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota will be a major equipment upgrade for Ragan.
This announcement provides major relief for fantasy NASCAR players in allocation leagues, specifically Yahoo! Auto Racing. Ragan is a C-list driver in that game and he–along with Regan Smith–will now provide viable options in the lower tiers of allocation fantasy games. I would expect the #18 Toyota to fight for top 20 finishes on a week-to-week basis with maybe a top 15 sprinkled in there every once in a while. That equals great value not only in allocation leagues but as well as salary cap games when it comes to David Ragan and Regan Smith.