Ragan pulls out win at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. — A pair of Davids slayed the Goliaths at Talladega Superspeedway.
David Ragan hooked up with teammate David Gilliland in a two-lap overtime sprint, and together they picked off some of the top drivers in NASCAR to drive to the front and push Ragan into Victory Lane.
It was the second career victory for Ragan, and Gilliland finished second for a 1-2 finish for Front Row Motorsports.
“I had a great teammate. David Gilliland gave us a great push. I owe him a lot,” Ragan said. “I'll definitely buy him lunch this week or something.”
The victory came a day after Regan Smith won the Nationwide Series race and Ragan was flooded with misfired congratulatory messages on Twitter.
“All fans- please send all congrats to @ReganSmith. Not this Ragan..... He is the Winner today!! Haha,” he tweeted Saturday night.
Now Smith has his own win.
Gilliland wanted the win but was content settling for second on a day his team earned its first career victory.
“What a great day for Front Row Motorsports. An underfunded team coming in here and being able to finish 1-2 is awesome,” Gilliland said. “I'm very proud of David Ragan. I know he would have done the same for me.”
The race took seven hours to complete after rain stopped it for 3 hours, 36 minutes midway through the event. With darkness quickly closing in, contact between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and J.J. Yeley triggered a frightening crash that sent Kurt Busch's car airborne and on top of Ryan Newman's car.
NASCAR sent the race into overtime after the final accident for one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, and it seemed as though it might have been Matt Kenseth's race to win.
He led a race-high 142 laps and was the leader on the final restart but was passed by Carl Edwards on the first lap of overtime. He tried to get the lead back and was battling Edwards with no drafting partner. He never saw the pack coming behind him and, with nowhere to go, fell out of contention in the blink of an eye.
That's when Ragan and Gilliland came charging out of nowhere, sweeping past Edwards and Jimmie Johnson and to the front.
“That was crazy,” Edwards said. “I blocked everybody I could. I blocked Matt and I thought, ‘Oh, we've got it.' And then I saw Jimmie coming, and I blocked him and I thought, ‘Who is that back there?' It was this Ford freight train coming, and I just couldn't stay in front of them.”