In a typical Talladega scenario, it was pretty much every man for himself coming down to the green-white-checker finish.
But, for Front Row Motorsports, it was a tale of “David vs. Goliath”, or two David’s in this case, as David Ragan took the checkered flag and a win for one of the smallest teams in NASCAR. Behind him, his teammate David Gilliland finished second and was credited for giving Ragan that last lap push that edged him to victory.
Ragan pulled into victory lane with his second career win, but his first for the underfunded Front Row Motorsports team.
“I’m kind a low-key guy”, said Ragan. “First off, I’ve got the thank the Lord. Without him, nothing is possible. I’ve got to thank my teammates. If it wasn’t for that final push from David Gilliland, I don’t know what to say.”
With most eyes turned towards Matt Kenseth or Carl Edwards, no one saw the Ford teammates linking up and making a charge until the last lap. Battling to the front, there was no stopping the teammates from surging around that final turn, to hold off what was left of a worn field. Rounding out the top five behind Ragan and Gilliland were Edwards, Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson.
After a rain delay brought the race into the final minutes of daylight at a track known mainly for “the Big One”, Sunday’s escapade proved no different.
With Kenseth, Johnson and J.J. Yeley leading the field with just six laps to go, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. made a move to the outside of Yeley, in a four-wide push only big enough for three. Yeley then slung down in front of Kurt Busch, who went sailing through the air and on to the windshield of Ryan Newman.
Taking out nearly a dozen cars, the crash brought the field down to what would be a short dash to the finish and the plaguing green-white-checker run.
After the late crash, Newman voiced his frustration and called out NASCAR officials.
“They can build safer racecars, they can build safer walls, but they can’t get their head out of their a**** far enough to keep them on the racetrack and that is pretty disappointing”, said Newman. “”I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y’all can figure out who they’ is.”
His comments did not stop there…
“That’s no way to end a race… That’s just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment,” Newman said. “I mean, you got what you wanted, but poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain. That’s it, thank you.”
No stranger to fines with his comments after previous Talladega races, this one will probably be no different.
In an earlier crash caused by Kyle Busch, over 16 cars were damaged after Busch tagged Kasey Kahne and sent both cars into the wall. In a chain-reaction, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and several others were taken out of contention early on.
Busch later took the blame for causing the wreck. He admitted that it was way too early to be making those types of moves.
Next week, the Sprint Cup series will be in action on Saturday night as they head to Darlington.
About the Author
Written by Ashley Gulick
Sports Journalism is my passion! I keep up with the latest news on pro/college football, NASCAR and baseball....and just about everthing else. I grew up in Talladega, Ala., but moved to Georgia when I was 15. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be involved with sports somehow. Once I got into college and completed my degree in Communications, I knew that I had a passion for sports journalism. I have covered sports for the Kennesaw Sentinel (KSU's student paper), Marietta Daily Journal and Douglas County Sentinel.