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Ragan signs with Front Row Motorsports

David Ragan will drive the No.34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports during the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season, the team announced on Monday.

Ragan drove the No.6 car for Roush Fenway Racing in Sprint Cup the past five years but was released after the 2011 season when the team ceased operations due to lack of sponsorship, which had come from UPS. The 26-year-old from Unadilla, GA pursued opportunities with Penske Racing, Phoenix Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports before landing a ride with Front Row this year.

"Front Row has made great progress in the last few years, and I look forward to helping them advance to the next level," Ragan said in a team statement. "I think the team appreciates what I can bring to the table, and I think it's a good opportunity for both of us. I've also enjoyed a long relationship with Ford, and I'm glad that I'll get to keep working with them."

Last year, Ragan picked up his first win in NASCAR's premier series in the July race at Daytona. He has also recorded 30 top-10 finishes in 182 starts in the series. Ragan's career-best finish in Sprint Cup points is 13th, which came in 2008. He ended the 2011 season 23rd in points.

Ragan will team with David Gilliland, who has been retained by Front Row to drive its No.38 car.

Front Row, formed by restaurant and transportation entrepreneur Bob Jenkins, has competed in Sprint Cup each year since 2005. The racing organization elevated to full-time in the series in '09.

"I am committed to building a competitive race team by employing the same fundamental business principles that have worked for my other successful endeavors, and it all begins with the people," Jenkins said. "We took some pretty big steps in our race program last year, and adding David Ragan is another giant step in the right direction."

Front Row said in its news release that sponsorship for Ragan and Gilliland's teams this season is being finalized and expected to be announced soon. Both drivers are guaranteed a starting position in the February 26 season-opening Daytona 500 due to owner points from last season.