CSX teams with NASCAR’s David Ragan, Front Row Motorsports to “Play it Safe”

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

For the second consecutive year, CSX Transportation is teaming up with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team to promote public safety around railroad tracks as part of its “Play It Safe” initiative.

For the 2013 season, CSX is partnering with Front Row Motorsports and driver David Ragan. In a first for a Class I railroad, CSX will serve as the primary sponsor of Ragan’s No. 34 Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry at Richmond International Raceway on April 27. The 34, a new-design Generation 6 racecar that closely resembles the production Ford Fusion, will sport a CSX livery. The graphics package is currently being designed.

In addition to the prime sponsorship at Richmond, CSX will be sponsoring David Ragan and Front Row as a major associate in five additional races: The Daytona 500 (Feb. 24), Michigan International Speedway (June 16), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 11), Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 15) and Talladega (Oct. 20). As well, the “I BRAKE FOR TRAINS” logo will be featured on the 34 throughout the entire 2013 season—all 36 races.

David Ragan, described as “a seasoned safety messaging spokesperson happy to be pairing up with CSX at Front Row Motorsports,” said, “It’s important for all of us to be safe around railroad crossings and tracks. Far too many incidents occur each year simply because people don’t recognize the danger associated with taking unnecessary chances around railroads. I’m glad CSX is bringing this issue to the forefront of the NASCAR fan base and I’m honored to champion their message.”

“We’re pleased to join with Front Row Motorsports and David Ragan to show people that the injuries and fatalities associated with crossing collisions and trespassing on railroad tracks are completely avoidable if you play it safe,” said CSX Director-Community Affairs and Safety Cliff Stayton. “David’s work on distracted driving and other safety messages makes him the right spokesman for CSX’s campaign.”

Front Row Motorsports Chief Marketing Officer Robin Johnson said, “CSX is not only a leading transportation provider, but a leader in safety initiatives.” FRM Marketing Director Mike Laheta added, “I’m encouraged with the sponsorship landscape that is shaping up for 2013. Adding a highly respected Fortune 250 company like CSX to our sponsorship base is evidence of the value proposition here at FRM.”

CSX noted that more than 2,000 crossing collisions occurred in the U.S. in the most recent year for which statistics are available, and more than 400 pedestrians were killed on the nation’s railroad tracks. “Play it Safe” is a CSX safety campaign that is online, at NASCAR events, and on college campuses. This year’s Sprint Cup initiative follows a successful first venture into NASCAR in 2012 with Furniture Row Racing and no. 78 driver Regan Smith (who has since moved on to another team, having been replaced by Kurt Busch).

David Ragan, 27, began his racing career in the Bandolero Series at age 12. Four years later, he began competing in the Goody’s Dash Series with Cam Strader. After one year, he moved to the Legends Pro-Division to race for Mark Martin. He concluded the season by finishing fourth in the point standings. At age 18, Ragan began racing in NASCAR’S Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series, and ARCA Racing Series. In 2007, he moved to the Sprint Cup Series, driving for Roush Fenway Racing through 2011, then signing with Front Row Motorsports in 2012. Between 2007 and 2012, he recorded 31 top-tens and 13 top-fives in the series. On July 2, 2011, Ragan won his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup series race, the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.Ragan also owns David Ragan Ford located in Perry, Georgia.

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