It wasn't the "little engine that could" that NASCAR driver Regan Smith toured. Instead, it was a big, powerful machine with a weight of approximately 125 times more than his 3,400-pound No. 78 Chevrolet stock car.
Smith, who is currently residing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Daytona 500 Sprint Cup season opener, took a side trip last week (Friday) to Jacksonville, Fla. to pay a visit to the CSX Transportation headquarters. The visit also included a trip to a railroad yard where Smith got up-close-and-personal to a 434,000-pound CSX locomotive.
CSX Transportation, which is the largest railroad in the East with more than 21,000-mile freight network serving 23 states and portions of Canada, joined Smith's Furniture Row Racing team as an associate sponsor for the 2012 season.
CSX is building upon several years of its innovative safety communications campaign and will utilize the Furniture Row Racing sponsorship as part of the "Play it Safe" campaign to urge pedestrians and motorists to exercise caution around railroad tracks.
“It was both a thrill and an incredible learning experience to tour a CSX locomotive," stated Smith. "We’re honored to get the opportunity to spread such an important message. "Unlike our Furniture Row/CSX Play it Safe Chevrolet, trains can’t stop on a dime. In fact, they can take up to a mile to stop. So, even if they see you on the tracks, it’s usually impossible for them to avoid you."
Smith's Daytona 500 car will carry a bumper sticker reading, "I brake for trains."
"One incident is too many," said Cliff Stayton, Director-Community Affairs and Safety for CSX Transportation. "We hope that by getting our message out in one of the greatest sporting events in the world with a great driver, we can prevent a tragedy. We’re thrilled to be working with Regan and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team."