David Ragan scored a huge win at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday after a massive crash and an hours-long rain delay. Ragan, a journeyman from Unadilla, Georgia, has won just one other time during his seven-year-old Sprint Cup career.
The 27-year-old toiled through the day and was in the perfect place to drive by Carl Edwards in a last-lap pass that gained him the win during one of NASCAR’s longest days.
Ragan also won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in July 2011. His teammate, David Gilliland, came in second after helping out with drafting pushes that scored Ragan the victory in a two-lap overtime finish.
The victory was also huge for David Ragan’s team, Front Row Motorsports, who is one of NASCAR’s most underfunded teams. Front Row admits it often skimps on tires, which can cost more than $1,000 each. It also concedes it can’t beat powerhouse teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing at most of the tracks.
But the win at Talladega was huge. Ragan commented, “This is a true David vs. Goliath moment here … we’re up against it every week.” Despite not winning, Edwards was happy with the outcome. He commented after the race:
“As frustrated as I am by loss, I’m really happy for [Ragan and Gilliland]. I see how hard teams have to work to be competitive at this level. It truly couldn’t happen to two better guys.”
Sunday’s Talladega race was marked by two huge crashes and a long rain delay. The first crash came when Kyle Busch got into the back of Kasey Kahne, sending both cars into the wall. They collected 14 others, though most were able to continue in the race. Then, a rain delay on Lap 130 caused a three hour and 36 minute delay.
Finally, an 11-car incident on Lap 184 brought the caution our. The wreck began when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tried to go four wide. He rubbed J.J. Yeley, triggering the massive wreck. Along with Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer being involved, Ryan Newman got a surprise when Kurt Busch’s car flipped onto his hood.
The final crash set the field up for a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR officials announced there would be one attempt, because of the sun setting and the lack of lighting at Talladega. In the final lap, David Ragan passed Carl Edwards for the win.