Team owner Bob Jenkins fielded his first Cup series entry in 2005. The organization didn’t register its first top-five finish until the 2011 season and picked up its first victory in 2013 with driver David Ragan.
Chris Buescher added another win in 2016, which also gave the team its first appearance in the NASCAR playoffs.
While the organization doesn’t have the resources of other Ford teams like Team Penske or Stewart-Haas Racing, it has generally been most competitive on superspeedways, where the cars are more equal.
Even so, a Daytona 500 victory? It remained a dream until Sunday might when Michael McDowell claimed the win under caution over Chase Elliott.
“It means everything. It means everything to us,” team manager Jerry Freeze said. “We’re a team that incrementally gets a little bit better each and every year and that’s basically the mandate that Bob Jenkins puts on us.
“What are we going to do to get better next year? He doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. I think we’ve probably exceeded this year’s expectations already. It will help with the (sponsor) relationships that we currently have, to make those even stronger for the future.
“Then hopefully we can find some other people that want to be part of our program and know that we’ve got a good value proposition out there and that we’re a team that’s capable of winning races.”
The Daytona 500 victory combined with already being locked into the 2021 playoffs provides a unique opportunity for Front Row to maximize its win.
“I think the biggest part of it is just getting in the playoffs. We know early. We’ve got almost a whole season to prepare for it and I think that’s really what propels us,” Jenkins said.
“I’m sure hopefully some other opportunities will come along and we’ll definitely investment spend. It is now time to go build some cars and try to run better and take our chances in the playoffs, but it feels so good to know here we are in week one and we’re already in the playoffs.”
Jenkins said he realizes the average NASCAR fans is surprised when a team like Front Row Motorsports wins a race, but it never surprises him.
“It’s taken a long time to get our third win and our first Daytona 500 win, but people don’t realize this is our third top-five in the Daytona 500 and I just wanted to get that. It’s a lifetime goal.
“Obviously, you want to win championships, but you’ve got to win races first and I can’t imagine one bigger than the Daytona 500.”