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 – he also won at Daytona in July 2011 – 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. Ill 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 Ragan has his own win – just in time to qualify for the Sprint All-Star race in two weeks.
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. Im very proud of David Ragan. I know he would have done the same for me. I had a heck of a run, we were pushing, I was locked to his bumper and I wasnt going to let him go.
The race took seven hours to complete after rain stopped it for 3 hours, 36 minutes. With darkness quickly closing in, contact between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and J.J. Yeley triggered a frightening crash that sent Kurt Buschs car airborne and on top of Ryan Newmans car.
They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they cant get their heads out of their (expletive) far enough to keep them on the race track, and thats pretty disappointing, Newman said. I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Yall can figure out who they is.
He also was upset NASCAR continued the race with darkness closing in on the track so quickly.
Thats no way to end a race, he said. Thats just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment. I mean, you got what you wanted, but poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain. Thats it, thank you.
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 Kenseths 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.
I saw David at the last minute but he was going too fast, Kenseth said. If I pulled in front of him I was just going to get wrecked. I just had to bite the bullet and try to find the hole, which there wasnt one. It was a disappointing end to the day but man, we had a great car.
Thats when Ragan and Gilliland came charging out of nowhere, sweeping past Edwards and Jimmie Johnson and to the front.