The legend “Lightning Larry” Ragland needs to introduction. In fact, it would be hard to tell the history of off-road without Larry Ragland.
In 1976 Larry started his off-road career on dirt bikes. He would win on every level of racing he ever entered, and the wins were often followed by championships.
Larry moved to Class 1 Unlimited, partnering with Jim Halford in Jim’s FUNCO. It only took three races before the duo hit their stride, winning the 1981 Parker 400 overall. They didn’t stop there, and went on to win the Baja 500 and San Felipe 250.
By 1983 Larry decided it was time to have a car of his own and build his own team. The Woodstuff Chaparral Class 1 would start winning races soon after. Larry’s first SCORE championship for Class 1 came in 1983. In 1984 Larry continued his winning ways and earned a second consecutive championship.
In the early days, Larry was known for not prerunning the race course. His logic was, ‘don’t drive faster than you can see and you’ll be all right.’ Larry’s logic served him well, and he went on to win two straight Frontier 500s and the Mint 400 overall.
Larry’s hard work and success brought him to the attention of Chevrolet. He became a factory driver in a Class 7 mini truck, winning multiple races and a Class 7 championship between 1986 and 1989.
In 1990 Larry moved up to the prerunner truck division known as Class 8, where he earned two more championships and his first Baja 1000 overall win. The age of the Trophy Truck dawned in 1995, and Larry was ready. with tV and full factory support, off-road racing had hit the big time. The field was stacked with the best drivers that off-road racing had to offer. Larry didn’t disappoint, earning four more Baja 1000 overall wins. A remarkable achievement.
Over the next ten years, Larry would race with Brian Collins, Roger Norman, and raced for a short time with the Toyota team. His resume of wins continued to grow, with four more Baja 500s, the Parker 400, Primm 300, Nevada 1000, Vegas to Reno and Terribles Town 250. Larry’s success went beyond traditional off-road, winning at both the Atlas Rally and Pikes Peak.
Photo credit: Mad Media