NASCAR: Front Row expands to three full-time cars, adds Cole Whitt

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Cole Whitt’s NASCAR career has taken him from the Red Bull driver ladder to Swan, then BK Racing last year and now to Front Row Motorsports for 2015.

Whitt, who’s still only 23 despite the career odyssey, will enter his second full-time season in FRM’s third full-time entry, the No. 35 Ford, alongside David Ragan and David Gilliland.

It’s a good resolution after a misplaced tweet about Whitt’s 2015 plans earlier this offseason by Anthony Marlowe, who later apologized about the situation in an exclusive interview with my MotorSportsTalk colleague Jerry Bonkowski.

Sponsorship for Whitt will come from Speed Stick for 10 races, including the season-opening Daytona 500. Randy Cox will also join the Front Row team to continue his relationship with Whitt as crew chief.

“I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity to go racing with Front Row Motorsports and continue my relationship with Speed Stick,” Whitt said.

“Bob Jenkins is a smart businessman and has grown his team the right way over the years, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that growth. The 2014 season was great for me as a driver. We had some important personal victories and some areas where we’ll want to improve.”

The No. 35 ran selected rounds of the 2014 Sprint Cup schedule with several different drivers, but struggled to find footing after failing to qualify in several of the opening races.

Whitt, too, endured a trying year as Swan Racing went under, and his entry was fused into BK Racing for the balance of the season. He started all 36 races, and posted a best finish of 15th in the fall Talladega race with two other top-20 finishes. He ended 31st in the points standings.

Ideally, the race-winning FRM squad – traditionally a strong performer at the restrictor-plate races where Ragan has won before – should propel Whitt a bit further forward in 2015.

Wickens undergoes successful surgery

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Just days after successfully piloting an Acura NSX around Toronto’s Exhibition Palace street course, Robert Wickens has undergone a successful surgery operation to remove hardware from his leg after a previous infection had returned, the 30-year-old Canadian revealed on social media Wednesday.

“Spinal Cord injury has such highs and lows,” Wickens said in an Instagram post prior to surgery. “One day I’m in the NSX driving the hand controlled car, and the next day I’m getting ready for surgery. Life is so unpredictable!”

Fortunately, the surgery went well for Wickens, as he later announced that his surgery had no complications. Wickens will now start six weeks of IV antibiotics before he returns to a full rehab program.

“One piece (there’s a lot) of the hardware had an infected screw,” Wickens wrote. “All hardware in my leg was removed.”

Wickens is currently recovering from spinal fracture sustained in an IndyCar crash at Pocono Raceway last August. Since his crash and diagnosis, Wickens has openly documented his recovery process through social media.

Wickens returned to the INDYCAR paddock for the first time since his accident at the season-opener in St. Petersburg in March, and his laps behind the wheel in Toronto last weekend marked the first time he had driven in public since his accident.

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