“In recognition of his dramatic, last-lap Talladega victory that clinched a spot in this week’s All Star Race, the CSX Play It Safe campaign graphics will be back on the no. 34 when the green flag drops shortly after 7:30 p.m.,” CSX spokesman Gary Sease told Railway Age. “How he is carrying momentum—and the CSX sponsorship—to the All Star Race is a true ‘David Beats Goliath’ story.”
The All Star Race will mark the second time that CSX will serve as the primary sponsor of the no. 34. At the April 27 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Speedway, Front Row Motorsports and CSX debuted a similar racecar—the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car to promote rail safety, and the first to have a Class I railroad as primary sponsor.
“We’re very proud of David and his amazing victory at Talladega, and wanted to use the opportunity to further show our support of this great team and bring attention to a very important message that can save lives: Motorists should look both ways at crossings, and always expect a train, and pedestrians should stay well clear of railroad tracks,” says Terry Ludban, CSX Director-Community Affairs and Safety (lower left, with Ragan). “David is a great spokesperson, and we hope his passion for this issue will translate into increased public awareness about safety.”
“We’re fortunate to be part of such a great program,” says Ragan. “The CSX Play It Safe no. 34 Ford Fusion gives us a chance to reach a very important audience and, hopefully, prevent accidents and injuries. It can take the average freight train traveling at 55 mph up to a mile to stop. To put the problem in perspective, every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train.”
Ragan’s Ford Fusion will once again feature the distinctive and highly visible CSX “Play it Safe” blue and gold paint scheme, which includes the familiar rear bumper decal that says “I BRAKE FOR TRAINS,” the “Play It Safe” logo, and a hood that says “Beats Goliath. Brakes for Trains.” The hood “is a nod to David’s status as the last driver to qualify for the prestigious All Star Race,” Gary Sease says.
Ragan is also utilizing social media, and encourages his fans to help promote the railroad’s public safety message with the #PlayItSafe hashtag as it will be seen on his racecar.
In addition to NASCAR, the “Play It Safe” campaign targets college students on campuses intersected by railroad tracks and includes billboards placed strategically near rail crossings, online advertising, social media, and other communications that urge caution.
Other themes in the series include the lines “No Guts, No Gory,” “Open Up A Giant Can of Safety” and “Born To Be Mild.”
Front Row Motorsports fields the No. 34 of David Ragan, the No. 38 of David Gilliland, and the No. 35 of Josh Wise in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team is owned by Bob Jenkins and is headquartered just outside of Charlotte, N.C. In 2012, FRM was named to INC Magazine’s “INC 5000” list, recognizing the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., earning a rank of 800. Its sponsorship base is representative of more than $200 billion of the U.S. economy, and includes organizations such as Ford Motor Company, CSX Transportation, Love’s Travel Stops, McCall Farms, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver’s.