There will be a lot of decals on David Ragan’s Ford May 11 for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at the Darlington Raceway, but none more important than ones honoring fallen Aiken Public Safety officers Scotty Richardson and Sandy Rogers.
Ragan’s team, Front Row Motorsports, will pay tribute to the officers who were gunned down in a span of 39 days.
Ragan lived in Aiken as a child before moving to Unadilla, Ga.
“You’ll find out in the NASCAR world we give back a lot to the local communities, especially ones we have a connection with,” Ragan said. “I didn’t know them personally, but my family knew of them. We have a lot of mutual friends. It’s our way to pay our respects.”
The team decided more than a month ago to honor the fallen officers. On Tuesday it picked up sponsorship from Effingham, S.C.’s, McCall Farms, but it won’t change how Ragan and Front Row Motorsports plan to bring attention to Richardson and Rogers.
With a weekly cost of nearly $400,000 to operate a race team, every inch on Ragan’s No. 34 Ford is valuable. The team didn’t announce how much McCall Farms will spend to promote its canned boil peanuts, but it probably won’t cover all the costs. Even if more money becomes available, the team said the space reserved for Richardson and Rogers isn’t for sale.
“It’s a small way for us to honor two officers who gave so much,” team manager Jerry Freeze said.
Richardson was killed Dec. 20 when he and partner Travis Griffin stopped a car suspected to be involved in a drive-by shooting. Both officers were shot during the stop. Richardson died and the partner was saved by his bulletproof vest.
Aiken’s Stephon M. Carter, 19, has been charged with murder and attempted murder.
Rogers was approaching a car on Jan. 28 following a shooting that left another woman dead when she was gunned down. She is the first woman in South Carolina state history to be killed in the line of duty.
Joshua Tremaine Jones of Augusta has been charged with killing Rogers and 21-year-old Cayce Vice of Augusta.
“The officers were heroes,” Ragan said. “This is a small token of our appreciation and to let them know we’re thinking about them. When you can do something like this on a national stage, hopefully the family will know how much everyone appreciates their sacrifice.”
The Bojangles’ Southern 500, one of the most-revered races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. with live coverage from FOX.