STATESVILLE, N.C. (February 19, 2013) – One has been to Victory Lane. Another earned a podium finish in a wild dash to the checkers. The third is looking to make his first-ever start in the Great American Race. All three Front Row Motorsports drivers have milestone memories or big expectations as a competitor in the Daytona 500.
David Ragan, David Gilliland and Josh Wise could each factor into Sunday’s season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway. Ragan, driver of the No. 34 Detail Doctor Ford, earned a victory at the Daytona Beach, Fla., superspeedway in July of 2011.
“Daytona is obviously a special place for me,” Ragan said. “Any time you have a win somewhere, you carry some confidence every time you go back there. Restrictor-plate races always make for some exciting finishes, and if we just keep our Detail Doctor Ford out of trouble, we can be there at the end and be a factor.”
Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford, surged through the field in the closing laps of the 2011 Daytona 500 to finish third – Front Row Motorsports’ best finish to date.
“That was a big day for this team and I know we turned some heads,” Gilliland said. “But it didn’t surprise me at all. We always bring fast cars to the superspeedways and I know we can be competitive every time we come here. I can’t wait ‘til Sunday to drive our Love’s Travel Stops Ford to the front.”
Wise is entering his second full-time year with Front Row Motorsports, but attempting to qualify for his first Daytona 500. He earned a career-best 14th-place finish at Daytona one year ago in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
“Every racer dreams of being in the Daytona 500,” said Wise. “All the guys on this ‘35’ team have been working hard all winter to put together a fast car for us to make sure we’re in the line-up on Sunday. We’ve just got to keep our nose clean and get a decent finish in our Duel on Thursday. But I like our chances.”
Before the teams can prepare for Sunday’s race, they need to get through the qualifying Duels. Gilliland will start in the first of the two 150-mile qualifying races Thursday. Ragan and Wise will compete in the second race. The two races will determine the starting field of Sunday’s main event. SPEED will air the Duels Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, and FOX will air the Daytona 500 Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.