Earlier this week Bruton Smith had made remarks about wanting NASCAR to do away with start-and-park entries. The issue was brought up to Front Row Motorsports' Jerry Freeze on WSB Radio because the team's No. 26 Ford driven by Josh Wise was a start-and-park car for the majority of the 2012 season.
The answers that Freeze gave as to why they used the No. 26 in the way they did were a really good.
He said that the No. 26 was a start-and-park car to give FRM an opportunity to fund the other two cars better that are driven by David Ragan and David Gilliland. He also said that it still gives Wise some seat time to develop as a Cup driver and also gives FRM a chance to develop other team members that they can then move to the No. 34 and No. 38 teams.
Wise qualified the No. 26 for 30 of the 36 races in 2012 but was only running at the end of one race. That was the road course event at Sonoma where he finished a season's best 30th. He completed 18.5% of the laps in the races he was in. Wise finished 39th in the drivers standings.
Front Row Motorsports plans to give Wise more of a chance to race in 2013 and say they will run him in eight to 15 full races this season and start-and-park in the other events according to Freeze.
Freeze also said that the only way that NASCAR can do away with start-and-park operations would be to reduce the number of cars that make a Sprint Cup Series race from the 43 that it is at now.
The other news out of Front Row Motorsports on Friday was that David Ragan and the No. 34 have a new sponsor. CSX Transportation and its "Play it Safe" around railroad tracks campaign will sponsor Ragan as the primary sponsor at Richmond on April 27th. CSX will be featured on the No. 34 every week and also be a major associate sponsor in five more races. Those will be at Daytona on February 24, Michigan on June 16, Watkins Glen on August 11, Chicagoland on September 15, and Talladega on October 20.
"It's important for all of us to be safe around railroad crossings and tracks," Ragan said. "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."
FRM marketing director Mike Laheta is pleased with the way the 2013 sponsors are lining up for the team and said that adding a Fortune 250 company like CSX bodes well for the future of Front Row Motorsports.
Ragan had one top 5 and two top 10 finishes in 2012 in his first season with FRM. He finished 28th in the drivers standings and had an average finish of 27th.
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