Not surprisingly, Sprint Cup driver and new dad David Ragan has undergone some lifestyle changes since wife Jacquelyn gave birth to the couple’s first child, daughter Julia, on June 11.
On top of the couple no longer being able to come and go on a whim as they did in the pre-parent years, David has been required to adjust to the frequent spitting up that infants so commonly do. The two-time Sprint Cup Series race winner has also learned how to improvise.
"She spits up a little bit and you change one outfit and she spits up a little more and I’m not paying attention, so you need to change her for a second time," Ragan said, recalling a recent day when he and Julia were home alone.
"I just grab the first thing that I see — it happened to be a Halloween outfit. That’s OK. She doesn’t know whether she’s wearing a Christmas outfit or a Valentine’s Day outfit. It fit and she was happy."
Ragan admits becoming a parent has forced he and his wife to slow down quite a bit from their life before children.
"When we were at home we’d pick up and we’d go out to eat and we’d go do this, and we didn’t stay at home a lot. Every weekend, even an off-weekend, we’d go traveling and go on trips, and (having a baby) has kept us at home a little more," Ragan said. "We find ourself cooking at the house and just kind of hanging out around the house, so I’m glad that we had a lot of fun over the last seven or eight years being together and being able to travel and see and do a lot of things, but it’s definitely been grounding to have a young kid around now.
"You devote your time to them trying to make sure they’re taken care of and healthy and trying to learn, but it’s been fun. Looking forward to getting home has a whole new meaning now."
Even though the Ragans don’t find themselves traveling as much these days, that doesn’t mean they stay cooped up inside the house. Walks around the neighborhood are a regular occurrence — and often involve more than just the family of three.
"We’ve got a little dog at the house, and two cats," Ragan said. "We’re a crazy family. Our cats will follow us on the walk. If we go two times around the block, our cats are right there with us. It’s kind of funny seeing the dog, Oliver, and the two cats and Jacquelyn and the baby. We’re a big family and they all like to get out and it keeps us sane from sitting inside the house all day long."
Like many babies, little Julia seems to already have an affinity for the television, but it seems her dad is going to have something to say about the programs she watches.
"You can tell she’s a young kid because she’ll just stare at that TV, so we try not to leave the TV on a lot around the house, but we’re already looking forward to pulling out maybe some of our old cartoons that we used to watch," Ragan said. "I’m not too sure about her watching a lot of the new stuff that’s on TV, so I’m going to pull out some old Tom and Jerry and some good stuff that we used to watch as a kid. We’ll train her right."
This weekend is Julia’s first at a racetrack, so Ragan understandably has a little extra incentive to do well in Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"I need to make her proud of her dad," he said. "I don’t need to go out and stink the show up, by any means. I need to do a good job and give her something to be proud of."
While mom is out of the house, and I needed an outfit, this was all I could find. Halloween isn't too far away. pic.twitter.com/bK1GlNFj1E