David Ragan and the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports team will welcome the change of scenery at Phoenix International Raceway. After falling victim to a multi-car, accordion-style pile-up in the season-opening Daytona 500 last weekend, Ragan looks forward to having more control of his own destiny on the flat, one-mile oval in Avondale, Ariz.
"We're ready to begin 'the rest of the season.' So much work and hype goes into the Daytona 500, but we've got 35 more races to go now," stated Ragan. "It'll be good to settle into a groove with the weekly racing schedule now. Race car drivers are creatures of habit, so we like our routines."
The lower banking and significantly slower speeds traditionally make racing at Phoenix more about finesse and handling and put a driver's fate more in his own hands. There will still be some unfamiliarity to overcome at Phoenix. Even though teams have become accustomed to a track reconfiguration completed in 2011, this weekend's race will be the first there in the new Gen-6 cars.
"Phoenix is always challenging. It's flat and it's only a mile, so taking care of your brakes is always important going there," Ragan continued. "With the reconfiguration they did a couple years ago, we kind of had to relearn the track a little bit. And we're kind of in that position again somewhat with the new cars this year. So that first practice on Friday is going to be really important, because we just have that one session before we qualify later that afternoon."
Ragan has 12 starts under his belt at PIR. He has one top-10 finish - a 10th-place run in 2008.
"We definitely aren't going to let what happened at Daytona dictate our mood, Ragan added. "Everybody goes into Daytona knowing anything can happen and all too often you have no control over it. So, we'll put that behind us and look forward to the races that we have a little more control over."
Front Row Motorsports fields the No. 34 of David Ragan, the No. 38 of David Gilliland and the No. 35 of Josh Wise in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team is owned by Bob Jenkins and is headquartered just outside of Charlotte, N.C. In 2012, FRM was named to INC Magazine's "INC 5000" list, recognizing the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., earning a rank of 800. Its partnership base is representative of more than $200 billion of the U.S. economy and includes organizations such as Ford Motor Company, CSX Transportation, Love's Travel Stops, McCall Farms, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver's.
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