The Most Unlikely Talladega Winner?

David Ragan


(WOMR file photo)

“If you can start your engine at Talldega, then you can win the race”.  That is how Darrell Waltrip started off the initial segment of the FOX pre-race show Sunday.  Little did DW know just how prophetic that he truly was going to be!

Of all the race teams that lined up and took the green flag today, Front Row Motorsports would be classed as one of the big dark horse race teams.  However, both Daytona and Talladega races, being restrictor plate tracks, have a way of putting most all race teams on an even playing field.  Today a huge underdog was able to snooker the rest of the “survivors of the Talladega wreckfest” that was called the Aaron’s 499, lof the team’s first Sprint Cup victory.

David Ragan, the driver of the Front Row Motorsports #34 Ford, was the surprise winner of Sunday’s rain-delayed, wreck-marred Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ragan took the lead on the final lap of the race, and got his first Sprint Cup victory at Talladega.

“I’m kind of a low-key guy, but, man, I don’t know,” Ragan said. “I’ve got to thank my teammates David Gilliland and Josh Wise. If it wasn’t for that final push from David Gilliland, I don’t know what to say. This is a true David vs. Goliath moment here. Front Row Motorsports, Ford. I’ve got Farm Rich on our Ford this weekend, their first chance at a NASCAR race. They’re not all this easy, but this is special to get Front Row Motorsports their first win. It feels like I’ve never been here before.”

Gilliland said, “My crew chief, Frank Kerr, said, ‘You’ve got to have the restart of your life,’ and we had a good one. It was dark out there, sprinking a little bit, dry sweep was on the windshield a bunch, but we got a good restart. Our Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion was really fast all day. I got hooked up with my teammate there. Michael Waltrip got behind me and was giving me a great shove, and I had some good momentum, and got hooked up with Ragan there, and just stayed glued to his bumper, and kind of worked our way up through there, and came home 1-2 for Front Row Motorsports.

“It’s a huge day obviously for any team to get first and second, but for Front Row Motorsports and our little team, and what we do it with, we’re really proud of that. And Bob Jenkins, for sticking with us and doing this deal probably 80-90 percent out of his own pocket, it’s a special day.”

The race was delayed 3 hours, 46 minutes because of rain. When it restarted, wrecks claimed the spotlight.

The final big one occurred with eight laps to go. The wreck occurred when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. surprisingly attempted to force his way to the outside when there was no outside lane available.

That forced a green/white/checkered restart with Matt Kenseth leading with Edwards lined up to his outside.

On the first lap after the restart, Johnson jumped past Kenseth. Edwards then passed Johnson for the lead on the white flag laps, but he  (Edwards) was passed quickly by Ragan in the middle of turns #1 & 2. From that moment, Ragan held on to the lead to got the win!

I guess you could say that Sunday David Ragan just “wouldn’t back down”!

Check out the unofficial results of the Aaron’s 499.



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