Team Preview: Front Row Motorsports
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on February 6, 2017 | 11:16 A.M. EST
There’s a new look to Front Row Motorsports in 2017. Landon Cassill (left) and David Ragan are teaming up as the organization looks to repeat last year’s accomplishment of making the playoffs. (Photo: Getty Images)
There’s a new look to Front Row Motorsports in 2017 as the team looks to repeat last year’s accomplishment of making the playoffs.
Chris Buescher gave the organization its very first spot in the Chase last season thanks to his Pocono win. But the sophomore Cup Series driver moves on to JTG Daugherty Racing this year, opening up an opportunity for Front Row to reach back to its past to fill the ride.
David Ragan, who won for Front Row at Talladega Superspeedway in 2013, returns to the fold and will join holdover Landon Cassill as the team’s tandem.
"It’s a nice homecoming," said Ragan, who will take the wheel of the No. 38 Ford. "I’ve always had a great deal of respect for (team owner) Bob Jenkins, how he put together his team and grew it the right way. We’ve celebrated some pretty big highlights together and now, we need to go make more."
Cassill has Love’s Travel Stops as primary sponsor of what will no be his No. 34 ride and is looking forward to the opportunity to team up with the veteran Ragan.
"I’ve raced alongside David for years and respect him as a competitor," Cassill said. "He has a ton of experience with different teams and manufacturers that will make him a great teammate. I'm proud of what our team accomplished in 2016 in our first year together and excited to build on that."
Jenkins, who has fielded the organization in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series out of Statesville, N.C., since its inception, is hoping the combination of Ragan and Cassill will lead to more success in 2017 after last year’s playoff appearance.
"We got Landon last season because we knew he was talented and we’re happy he'll be back another year," Jenkins said. "And we’re excited to have David back. He’s a big part of Front Row’s history, bringing us our first win. His experience will be a big asset."
Ragan, who has two career Cup wins - one each at Front Row and Roush Fenway Racing, believes pairing with Cassill will give the team a unique view and perspective.
"I’ve learned as much driving for small teams as I have for the larger ones," Ragan said. "Landon is a young guy, he’s healthy and he’s got a high racing IQ, I call it. He’s a short-track racer and he's worked on his own racecar. It's fun to have a teammate that’s a racer, who enjoys it, gets it. He knows the business side of it, too."
Cassill, who finished 29th in last year’s final standings and enters his second full season with Front Row, thinks NASCAR's new race format including stages may provide an opportunity for his team to benefit.
"You’re gonna see us caught in the middle of some of that action over the course of the year," Cassill said. "The teams that have to fight are always gonna fight. We’re not magically going to be top-10 teams. We have to work very hard to get there."
Front Row acquired a third Charter in the off-season, but will lease it to TriStar Motorsports for the 2017 season as they prepare to expand to three chartered cars in 2018.
Daytona International Speedway will open for NASCAR teams on Friday, Feb. 17, with the season-opening Daytona 500 scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26. Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of "The Great American Race" beginning at 1 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.
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