Ragan’s Ford Fusion paint scheme for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 will pay tribute to the Ford Thunderbird that Jarrett drove to victory after a closing-laps battle with Davey Allison at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 18, 1991. Ragan, Jarrett, and David Ratliff, representing the CITGARD brand, unveiled the No. 38 CITGARD 700 Ford throwback design Thursday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Jarrett drove the red and white car, sponsored by CITGO® Petroleum Corporation, for Wood Brothers Racing during the 1990 and 1991 seasons. The 1991 win came after a multi-lap, door-banging battle with Allison that ended in a photo finish and sent Jarrett to Victory Lane for the first time. Ragan, who was six years old at the time, remembers the race and the paint scheme.
“Dale Jarrett was a hero of mine growing up,” Ragan recalled. “I have an old photo of me as a little kid holding a hero card of Dale and the CITGO car, and I remember watching that race with my dad and seeing him win. We were both fans of Dale and the Wood Brothers especially, so this is a great opportunity to honor Dale and his Hall of Fame career.”
The historical, storytelling theme of the Darlington weekend was the perfect time for CITGO to make a return to the sport, this time with the CITGARD brand.
“This is really an exciting partnership for CITGARD 700 to join with David Ragan and Front Row Motorsports for this throwback weekend at Darlington,” said Ratliff, national sales manager of CITGO lubricants. “We’re really proud of the CITGARD brand and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this historic weekend to celebrate NASCAR and its legendary history.”
After that first victory, Jarrett went on to record 32 wins, including three Daytona 500s, and earned the Cup championship in 1999. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014. The North Carolina native is now a commentator for NBC Sports and will be in the television booth for the Darlington race when the CITGARD 700 Ford is on track.
“That was really the moment, the day, the race that really set my career off,” recalled Jarrett. “It showed a lot of people that thought, but weren’t sure, that I could do it. The opportunity to get the win with CITGO and the Wood Brothers was great.
“I look forward to reliving that moment at Darlington,” Jarrett continued. “To be able to be on the air and tell others about that day that maybe aren’t familiar with how much it means it to me, I look forward to that.”
Overseeing the partnership is Fritz Sports & Event Enterprises.
“We are honored to be part of bringing a major new brand into the sport of NASCAR and facilitating the return of an iconic company with a long and rich history in motorsports,” said CEO Doug Fritz. “We want to say a special thank you to Dale Jarrett and (emcee) Winston Kelley for being part of today’s announcement.”
The CITGARD 700 Ford will first hit the track at Darlington Raceway on Friday, Aug. 31, when the throwback weekend kicks off with Cup series practice sessions. The Bojangles’ Southern 500 airs Sunday, Sept. 2, at 6 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
-Front Row Motorsports PR