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Ragan pulls off a stunning upset at Talladega



Talladega, AL (Sports Network) - In one of the bigger upsets in NASCAR history, it wasn't only one David but two of them who beat Goliath on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

David Ragan avoided two major wrecks -- one before a lengthy rain delay and the other in the closing laps -- and then received pushing help from his Front Row Motorsports teammate, David Gilliland, to take the lead on the final lap and grab a victory in the Aaron's 499.

Ragan and Gilliland drafted through the field during the last lap before Ragan pulled in front of Carl Edwards, the pole sitter, for the lead between turns 3 and 4. Ragan then beat Gilliland to the finish line by 0.212 seconds for his second career Sprint Cup Series victory.

It was the maiden win for Front Row Motorsports, an underfunded three-car team in the Sprint Cup Series. Josh Wise, a Nationwide Series regular, also drives for Bob Jenkins' racing organization.

"I'm kind of a low-key guy," said Ragan, who led just four laps. "I don't know what to say. This is a true David vs. Goliath moment here. They're not all this easy. This is so special to get Front Row Motorsports their first win. It feels like I've never been here before."

It's the sixth time in the past seven Sprint Cup races at Talladega that the winner grabbed the lead on the final lap.

Ragan's first victory in the series came in July 2011 at Daytona International Speedway (64 races ago) when he drove for Roush Fenway Racing. Daytona is the sister track to Talladega.

"You win one and you don't want to be that guy that just wins one," he said. "You want to win two and three."

Gilliland has yet to score a victory in NASCAR's premier series.

"It's been my dream since I came to Front Row to get Bob Jenkins to victory lane," Gilliland said. "This was about as much as I could help today. I'm very proud of our whole Front Row Motorsports team. What a great day for them. An underfunded team coming here and finishing one and two is awesome. I'm very proud of David Ragan. He would have done the same for me."

The first big crash of the day occurred on lap 42 when Kyle Busch nudged Kasey Kahne from behind and put him into the turn 1 wall, triggering a 16-car pileup.

"I know I got into the back of the 5 (Kahne), and I guess I was trying to go to the outside of him, but he just moved up in front of me, and I wasn't expecting it," Busch said. "Before I could go to the outside, I got into the back of him. I just hate that I caused a melee like that."

No drivers were injured during the accident, but Kahne said he had the wind knocked out of him after making contact with wall.

"I was trying to stay behind (Hendrick Motorsports teammate) Jimmie (Johnson), and I had a ton of momentum and just had to basically go to his right so I could get in front of the 18 (Busch)," Kahne said. "I was just going for it, but everybody was shoving, and you really can't hit from behind with these cars. I got hit a little bit and went to the right."

The race ran incident-free from there until lap 124 when rain began falling on this 2.66-mile superspeedway. Edwards had pulled a half-car length ahead of his Roush Fenway teammate, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., for the lead when the caution flag came out. NASCAR stopped the race on the following lap when the rain intensified. It did not resume until 3 hours and 36 minutes later.

With just a handful of laps remaining and darkness approaching, "the big one" happened on the backstretch, involving 12 cars. Stenhouse had squeezed to the outside of J.J. Yeley but bumped into him while trying to avoid hitting the wall. Yeley spun down the track and collected Kurt Busch, who's car rolled over once on the track before it landed on the front end of Ryan Newman's vehicle. There were no injuries.

"I just got hit from behind, and along for the ride I went," Busch said.

Newman has had a history of being caught up in several big wrecks at Talladega in the past, including a few that have occurred in the closing laps. He criticized NASCAR for resuming the race after the rain delay.

"That's no way to end a race," Newman said. "That's 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."

Danica Patrick was also involved in that crash, as she made contact with the wall. Patrick finished 33rd in her first Sprint Cup race at Talladega. She avoided being caught up in the earlier wreck while running in the top-10 at the time.

The fifth caution set up a one-attempt only green-white-checkered finish due to limited daylight.

Matt Kenseth had been dominant throughout the race, leading 142 of 192 laps. Kenseth was in front for the final restart, but his former teammate, Edwards, moved ahead of him to take the lead heading into the final lap. He fell back in the pack to finish eighth.

"It was a really disappointing finish," Kenseth said. "Congratulations to David and David there. That was cool to see the underdogs go up there and grab one, so I'm happy for those guys."

Edwards crossed the line in third, while Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson, who won the first restrictor-plate race of the season, the Feb. 24 Daytona 500, rounded out the top-five.

Denny Hamlin competed in his first race since he suffered a compression fracture in his lower back during an accident six weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Hamlin ran the first 23 laps under green before the first caution came for fluid dropped on the track from Trevor Bayne's blown engine. Hamlin pitted during the caution period and made the exchange with his relief driver, Brian Vickers, in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Vickers drove the car up into the top-10 before he was involved in the lap 42 crash. He returned to the track after spending more than 40 laps in the garage for repairs. Hamlin was credited with a 34th-place finish.

"I felt good," Hamlin said after he climbed out of the car. "Every week, I feel a lot better, and this is the best I've felt physically. Gosh, it's probably been months since I felt this good. I'm definitely looking forward to going back to full competition next week."

Hamlin plans to run the full 500-mile distance in next Saturday night's race at Darlington Raceway.

05/05 22:56:40 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
 
Final
PHI 91
BRK 99
Final
ORL 96
GSW 111
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
CLE 113
WAS 87
Final
DET 98
LAC 104
Final
DAL 109
NYK 102
Final
ATL 115
TOR 126
Final
MIN 86
MIL 103
Final
HOU 102
SAC 89
Final
OKC 97
UTA 82
Final
SAN 106
IND 100
Final
PHO 120
DEN 112
 
4th
LAL 91
MEM 95
 
7:30pm Tonight
TEXAM
LSU
7:30pm Tonight
TEX
TCU
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
Final
WCU 66
CHIST 61
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
Final
EVAN 79
USF 72
Final
COL 71
GTDNS 75
 
Final
VERM 73
BRY 47
 
Final
OSU 91
CAMP 64
Final
LOU 45
CLST 33
Final
UCF 69
DAVID 95
Final
IONA 126
DELST 76
 
Final
OU 78
UGST 83
Final
TOWS 97
GOUCHER 43
 
Final
ND 81
GRAM 54
 
Final
YALE 82
LAF 60
 
Final
GWU 91
LONG 66
 
Final
VT 78
UMO 63
Final
WAKE 83
MNTER 49
 
Final
NAVY 67
PSUHARRIS 42
 
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
MINN 61
STJ 70
Final
JVU 69
TRINBAPT 57
 
Final
YOUNG 66
UMKC 63
 
Final
UAB 43
WISC 72
Final
CORN 67
CAN 60
Final
WVU 103
VMI 72
Final
DEP 74
LEH 86
 
Final
UNT 67
MVSU 52
 
Final
MARS 68
MORE 77
 
Final
TCU 74
RAD 50
 
Final
SELA 86
TENT 65
 
Final
SMU 72
TXSOU 59
 
Final
UTAH 85
TXPA 48
Final
LMU 66
UCR 62
 
Final
SCAR 89
UNCA 75
 
Final
SD 86
WAYNEST 69
 
Final
PITT 70
KYST 47
Final
UWGB 59
FLGC 45
 
Final
IOWA 70
NILL 49
 
Final
ORST 69
AUB 71
 
Final
MONT 75
CARROLLMT 52
 
Final
SUTAH 64
EKENT 73
 
Final
NMST 78
FAM 33
 
Final
WYO 65
STET 41
 
Final
EWASH 81
NKENTUCKY 60
 
Final
IDST 57
WLVRN 60
 
Final
GEOR 66
UF 65
 
Final
GONZ 88
UGA 76
 
Final
NIOWA 61
NW 42
 
Final
CAL 72
CPSL 52
 
Final
UCD 77
UTST 70
 
2nd
SDST 56
ARZ 59
 
Final
NDAK 75
ALAST 68
 
2nd
CSNO 53
PORST 60
 
Half
AKAN 27
PAC 28
 
Half
OKST 45
TULSA 30
 
2:00am Today
COLST
MIZST
12:00pm Today
TENN
SCU
 
12:00pm Today
RMU
LAMON
 
1:00pm Today
BUT
OKLA
 
2:00pm Today
BRO
PEAY
 
2:00pm Today
UTEP
PRIN
 
2:30pm Today
CHAT
CCAR
 
2:30pm Today
RIU
KU
 
3:30pm Today
USCU
FIU
 
3:30pm Today
GEOR
WISC
 
4:00pm Today
USB
LIU
 
4:30pm Today
XAV
SDU
 
5:00pm Tonight
INDST
ILL
 
6:00pm Tonight
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CSFU
 
6:00pm Tonight
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8:30pm Tonight
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9:00pm Tonight
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9:30pm Tonight
UF
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WASH
SJST
 
11:59pm Tonight
MEM
BAY
 
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
WASU
 
Final
NYI 3
WAS 2
Final
BUF 1
WIN 2
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
Final
TAM 4
NYR 3
Final
DET 5
PHI 2
Final
PIT 4
TOR 3
Final
MIN 0
LOS 4
Final
COL 2
CHI 3
 
3rd
SJS 0
CAL 1
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
EDM
 
12:30pm Today
DET
CHI
4:30pm Today
DAL
PHI
8:30pm Tonight
SFX
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