‘I Brake For Trains’: Behind The Controls Of CSX Locomotive, NASCAR Driver Regan Smith Promotes Rail Safety

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.

Other executions in the series include the lines, “Cautious Diem,” “Open up a giant can of safety” and “I’d rather be chicken than fried.”

CSX pedestrian and motorist campaigns have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Associated Press, ABC, FOX and other national media.

One audience, in particular, Stayton hopes to reach are the 42 other drivers racing in the Daytona 500. “We want them to trail the No. 78 for as much of the race as possible,” says Stayton, “especially at the end of the last lap.”

CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX), based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation’s leading transportation companies, connecting customers to ports, distribution centers and markets across the eastern United States. Through grass-roots volunteerism and focused corporate giving, CSX is committed to supporting the communities where it operates. For more information on the company, visit www.csx.com . For more information on CSX Corporate Citizenship, visit www.beyondourrails.org .

The Denver-based Furniture Row Racing single-car team and its driver Regan Smith enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2011. Smith and Furniture Row Racing captured their first career NASCAR victory in May, winning the famed Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Copyright Business Wire 2010