Being Georgia born and partnering with a Georgia-based company, NASCAR young gun David Ragan will be showing his roots to a hometown crowd during the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Now sponsored by Atlanta-based UPS, the 23-year old Georgia native is set for a new season with a new look. But in addition to his brown No. 6 UPS car, Ragan also has another UPS ride, a restored 1938 UPS delivery truck.
"It's a 1938 UPS delivery vehicle restored back to its original state and it's a real nice truck," said Ragan of his latest addition to a unique stable of collector's cars that includes a 1964 Fairlane sheriff's car, old coupes, vintage race cars and a fire truck.
David received the unique delivery vehicle once used by his sponsoring company when his father, Ken, gave him the truck for Christmas.
"My dad and the rest of the family kind of surprised me with it. I knew about the truck, but I didn't think we needed any more toys around here," explained David. "But with the sponsorship, they decided to go on and get it and I'm glad they did because it's certainly a cool piece and it turned out nice."
With the assistance of a family friend who works for Roush Racing, Tony Price, Ken was able to track down the truck in Houston, Texas. Then, using their new sponsor relationship, UPS supplied them with official livery that the family applied in restoration, completing a unique project.
"UPS used to destroy all their vehicles when they were used up and this was one that got through the system years ago," said Ragan. "We'll take care of it and it will be something neat to talk about one day."
Ragan, who grew up racing Legends cars at Atlanta Motor Speedway, keeps most his focus on racing. But, away from the track, Ragan spends much of his time with family and working on restoration projects.
"Restoration is what I enjoy doing in my spare time," said Ragan. "I don't travel a whole lot other than racing, so I just stick around town and spend some time with my family.
"Certainly, I'm a car guy and we like to work on things that are American made that my grandfathers may have driven way back when," Ragan continued. "It's pretty cool to have this UPS truck in the collection now."
And as for his new connection with a local company, Ragan seems excited to be working with a recognizable name to fans in Georgia and is equally energized for the 2009 season.
"We've got UPS coming on board as a new sponsor and we've got a few new things going on, but our No. 6 team is basically the same as it was my rookie season and we are contining to get better," said Ragan, who finished 13th in the 2008 NASCAR points standings, one spot removed from making the Chase for the Sprint Cup. "Hopefully this will be a long-term connection we have between the Georgia fans and the people associated with UPS."
And with any luck, perhaps Ragan and his new UPS look can find their way to victory lane in front of a hometown crowd, likely including many local UPS associates, for the Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta on March 8.
Tickets priced as low as $39 are available for the Kobalt Tools 500 on March 8. To purchase your tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or 770-946-4211, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com, or contact your local Ticketmaster retailer.