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.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.