STATESVILLE, NC - David Ragan will line up for a shot at winning $1 million Saturday night in NASCAR's Sprint All-Star Race, and he's bringing partner CSX with him. The transportation company returns to the No. 34 Ford for its second primary sponsorship in one of the biggest showcases of the Sprint Cup Series season.
Ragan earned his spot in the All-Star starting line-up with his dramatic win at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on May 5 - the first victory in Front Row Motorsports history. The All-Star race will feature all of the race winners from 2012 and 2013 to date.
Saturday night's non-points event will be the second time this season that CSX will use the entire Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford to promote safety around railroad tracks and crossings. The car will feature a special "Play it Safe" paint scheme, including a bumper sticker on the back that says "I brake for trains," the "Play it Safe" logo and a hood that says "Beats Goliath, Brakes for trains," as a nod to Ragan's status as the last driver to qualify for the prestigious All-Star Race.
"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," said Terry Ludban, CSX Director-Community Affairs and Safety. "Motorists should look both ways at crossings, and always expect a train, and pedestrians should stay well clear of railroad tracks."
The All-Star start will be Ragan's third appearance in the annual event, but the first earned with a Front Row win. Saturday's race will comprise four 20-lap segments and a mandatory four-tire pit stop before a final, 10-lap dash to the finish. The winner earns a $1 million prize - plus an extra $1 million bonus if he leads all five segments.
Comments from CSX team driver David Ragan heading to the All-Star race:
"We're thrilled that CSX is back on our No. 34 Ford for this event. We had a great week with them a couple weeks ago, going to visit the trainyard and CSX employees in Jacksonville and then promoting the 'Play It Safe' message throughout the race weekend in Richmond. After we won at Talladega and earned our spot in the All-Star race, they called and said they wanted to be a part of it. So we couldn't be happier that they're going racing with us again. There will be a lot of eyes watching Saturday night's race and it's a great way for CSX to get out their message of playing it safe around railroad tracks.
"It's huge to be in the Sprint All-Star Race, and it especially means a lot to a team like Front Row Motorsports. It's NASCAR's showcase of the best teams in the sport, and to be included in that is a big deal. Bob Jenkins has been building this team over the last several years and making it better and more competitive every year. Qualifying for the All-Star Race as a result of a Front Row win just shows that he's doing things right and all the hard work is paying off.
"You don't realize how important the actual All-Star Race is until you're in it. I didn't make the All-Star Race until my third or fourth year in the Sprint Cup Series, and then I realized what a big deal it was to be in that line-up. Even before the green flag waves, you're proud just to be on the starting grid, representing your team and getting a shot at racing for a million dollars.
"The All-Star Race is something we really look forward to. It's a little less of a pressure-packed weekend because you don't have points on the line and it's a little shorter race. You get to sleep in your own bed for a few nights. So, the All-Star event for the Sprint Cup Series is probably one of the best all-star formats in all the major-league sports.
"Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of the early tests that we had with this Generation-6 car back in December. It's something that we'll definitely learn from during our first weekend there coming up and we'll see how things changed. Really, December seems like an eternity ago with these Gen-6 cars. So we'll definitely learn a lot that will help us for the 600-mile race the following week."