David Ragan was a surprising winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Talladega, Ala. Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw and Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., were among drivers involved in a massive wreck early in the Aaron's 499.
TALLADEGA, Ala. — It was dark, it was rainy, it was cold. Two laps would decide the Aaron’s 499, about seven hours after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race started.
David Ragan needed a drafting partner, somebody he could trust. Who could be better than Front Row Motorsports teammate David Gilliland?
These two drive for a low-budget operation by Sprint Cup standards. Yet they powered through the likes of Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth to win the green-white-checkered restart of a rain-filled and crash-heavy race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Ragan won and Gilliland finished second, holding off Edwards down the final straightaway.
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“It’s a true David-versus-Goliath story,” Ragan said. “I couldn’t be more proud to play my own role.”
It looked as if Edwards, points leader Johnson and Kenseth had the strongest cars, but that doesn’t necessarily win at the superspeedways, where drafting expertise and the good fortune to avoid massive wrecks loom large.
The first of two huge wrecks Sunday involved 16 cars 44 laps in, when Kyle Busch’s car tapped the back of the car driven by Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw. Kahne veered into the wall, setting off the chain reaction typical of Talladega wrecks.
“I caused it,” Busch said. “I tore up a lot of good cars. I was trying to get to his (Kahne’s) outside and I caught his bumper.”
Kahne, who finished 42nd in the field of 43, said he didn’t need any discussion with or apology from Busch.
“I think we both know what happened,” Kahne said. “I was trying to stay behind Jimmie (Johnson) and we had a ton of momentum. You can’t really hit from behind in these cars.”
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., struck the wall.
“I just saw them wrecking above me,” Biffle recalled. “I thought about going to the left. I had plenty of room and probably should have, but I didn’t. I just stayed straight and moved down all I could and it wasn’t enough. They got me in the right-rear and turned me the wrong way, up into the wall.”
Someone asked Biffle, who finished 36th, if it was too early in the race for such a nasty wreck.
“It can happen any time. You just never know,” Biffle said. “We were trying to be cautious, but that didn’t work.”
The second major wreck came with six laps to go, after NASCAR waited out a three-hour rain delay. Ryan Newman’s car had some of the worst damage and he criticized NASCAR on Fox’s telecast, questioning why the race wasn’t called.
An agitated Newman said the whole field ended up “running in the dark, running in the rain.”
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