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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 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
2nd
UNCW 42
ECU 28
 
2nd
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
Half
CHA 52
UTA 39
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
Half
NOP 44
POR 62
 
Half
CHA 52
UTA 39
 
1st
HOU 2
ATL 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
Final
UTEP 6
UTST 21
Final
COLST 10
UTAH 45
3rd
AFA 23
WMICH 10
 
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
Final
KENT 83
UCLA 44
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
Final
RIU 69
DET 55
Final
UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
Final
MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
Final
NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
WAGN 66
MON 74
 
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
PITT 81
OU 77
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
Final
AFA 75
UCD 81
Final
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Final
JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
Final
DRAK 54
ISU 83
Final
SHU 73
UNH 60
 
Final
SCU 72
NE 78
 
Final
MSU 64
TXSOU 71
Final
UF 63
WAKE 50
Final
ND 94
PURD 63
Final
SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
1st OT
AUB 73
XAV 73
 
2nd
AKR 60
BLUFFTON 33
 
Half
DAY 39
BU 32
 
2nd
UNCW 42
ECU 28
 
2nd
CLMB 34
HOF 38
 
2nd
GMAS 45
IONA 38
 
2nd
TOWS 20
LAS 34
 
2nd
MAN 47
MRGST 48
 
2nd
CCST 52
YALE 67
 
2nd
PEPP 34
RICH 35
 
2nd
MAR 36
STJOE 47
 
2nd
KYST 39
TEXAM 32
 
2nd
MAST 49
VALPO 46
 
2nd
UMKC 47
INCWORD 35
 
Half
IDST 29
CALST 32
 
1st
NIOWA 20
IOWA 26
 
1st
SIUE 17
UWMIL 18
 
1st
TEX 8
LBSU 5
 
1st
TCU 5
TXSA 5
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
2nd
CLB 1
CHI 0
 
2nd
BUF 0
COL 2
 
1st Intermission
PIT 2
FLA 1
 
2nd
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
2nd
MON 1
OTT 1
 
1st Intermission
TOR 3
PHI 3
 
2nd
NYI 0
TAM 0
 
2nd
NJD 0
WAS 1
 
1st
MIN 1
NAS 0
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC