In spite of gray and threatening skies over Daytona International Speedway, the green flag dropped at the 55th Daytona 500 right on time on Feb. 23. David Ragan, driving the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Detail Doctor/CSX Play It Safe Ford Fusion, started from the 22nd position, “feeling confident” about his racecar, which sported the now-familiar “I BRAKE FOR TRAINS” decal on the right-hand side of its tail panel.
According to FRM, “The first half of the race had the field strung out single file for many of the laps. Ragan played it safe toward the back of the pack for those first 100 laps as he and spotter Roman Pemberton began discussing when and where to try to make a move. Unfortunately, they never got the chance. On Lap 138, Brad Keselowski (2) and Trevor Bayne (21) got together and started a domino chain of wrecking behind them, with Ragan among the victims. The No. 34 team took the car to the garage to repair front- and rear-end damage and returned 38 laps later to try to gain a few positions. Ragan returned to the garage with 10 laps remaining to end his day and finish in the 35th position [out of 43].”
David Ragan, commenting after the race, said, “We were going through a green-flag cycle of pit stops and just kind of riding and all I saw was the No. 2 coming across the race track, so I don’t know if Keselowski cut down a tire or if he spun or if someone hooked him. I just saw the 2 coming up the race track and I hit the guy in front of me (Dave Blaney, No. 7), and the guy behind me (Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17) hit me. It was just an unfortunate event. We had some speed in our Ford. I enjoyed racing hard and was hoping to set ourselves up for the finish, but it just didn’t work out.”
Ragan will hopefully have a much better outing in his next CSX-sponsored race, which will be the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 27. In a first for a Class I railroad, CSX will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 34. The Play It Safe Ford Fusion will sport a CSX livery based on the railroad’s deep blue and gold colors, with white lettering. The graphics package is currently being finalized.
In addition to the prime sponsorship at Richmond, CSX will be sponsoring David Ragan and Front Row as a major associate in four additional races: Michigan International Speedway (June 16), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 11), Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 15), and Talladega (Oct. 20). However, the “I BRAKE FOR TRAINS” logo will be displayed on the 34 throughout the entire 2013 season—all 36 races.