Regan Smith, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, got behind the controls of a CSX locomotive at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, February 17 at the company’s Moncrief Yard, 1718-1 North McDuff Avenue. Smith kicked off a NASCAR season dedicated to urging motorists and pedestrians to exercise caution around train tracks.
The following weekend, Smith will drive possibly the first car in Daytona 500 history to sport an actual bumper sticker, this one saying simply, “I brake for trains” when the Great American Race gets the green flag on Sunday, February 26.
As an associate sponsor of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet and Smith, CSX is using one of the hottest, up-and-coming teams in NASCAR to further deliver its message to motorists to never try to beat a train at a crossing and to pedestrians to stay off the tracks. About every three hours, a person or a vehicle is hit by a train, according to federal statistics.
“One incident is too many,” says Cliff Stayton, CSX director-community affairs and safety. “Public awareness is a key part of our safety campaign, and we’re thrilled to be working with Regan and the No. 78 car. Even though they’re a one-car team, they always seem to find a way to be in the mix. I guess, to borrow an old railroad story, they’re the ‘little engine that could.’”
“We’re honored to get the opportunity to spread such an important message,” says Smith. “Trains can’t stop on a dime. In fact, they can take up to a mile to stop.”
The bumper sticker and associated promotion is part of a larger CSX campaign called “Play it safe.” The multimedia campaign includes billboards strategically placed by rail crossings, online advertising, social media and other communications that urge caution.