Ragan wins in wild finish at Daytona

David Ragan celebrates in Victory Lane at Daytona

David Ragan has won his first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup race and it has come at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

It was redemption for Ragan at Daytona after he was given a late race penalty at February’s 500 for re-start violation.

Despite two heavy wrecks on the final lap, including one that involved Australia’s Marcos Ambrose, Ragan was out front with his Roush Fenway Racing Ford team-mate Matt Kenseth stuck underneath his rear bumper pushing him all the way through to the win.

“This is fun and what a great place to do it – Daytona,” said Ragan.

“I have to thank Matt for sticking with me for the entire race. I have to also thank my team and especially my spotter who did a great job all night. The win is great and the points are really important for us.”

In fact the win is all-important for Ragan. The top-10 drivers after 26 of the 36 races qualify for the Chase for the cup. Then two wild-card spots are held for the drivers that score the most race wins outside the top-10 in points. After the Coke Zero 400 Ragan is 17th in points, but the only driver to have a race win outside the top-10.

The race featured the two-car draft where team-mates in general worked together to drive towards the front. The ability to work together was so important that cars would drop back in the field to find their team-mate and then hook-up to drive to the front.

The other feature was a 100-lap ‘green flag’ run between lap #54 and #158. It was during the final ‘green flag’ pit stop that Ambrose’s chances all but ended when his team-mate A.J, Allmendinger ran out of fuel as he came to the pits. The pair lost a lap and even though a ‘lucky dog’ caution flag came late, it was Allmendinger who was in front of Ambrose at the time and he got his lap back.

Luck then appeared to smile on the Tasmanian as the first attempt of a ‘Green-white-chequered’ finish also saw another caution with a multi-car wreck. So he was able to drive his #9 Ford back around to the rear of the field, but on the lead lap.

On the final re-start Ambrose was running 16th when he was turned by Landon Cassill and appeared destined for a finish in the high 20s. However, another massive pile-up a few hundred metres up the road left a smouldering mess just prior to the finish line and Ambrose limped passed to score a 17th place finish.

Two drivers of note to have tough nights were Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who was the first car out of the race after a crash, and Carl Edwards who lost points lead to Kevin Harvick after another wreck placed him 37th.

RACE RESULTS: Coke Zero 400 – Daytona

1 David Ragan Ford UPS “We Love Logistics” 170 Running
2 Matt Kenseth Ford Affliction Clothing: Live Fast 170 Running
3 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 170 Running
4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 170 Running
5 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate All Battery Center 170 Running
6 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Pepsi Max 170 Running
7 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser Folds of Honor 170 Running
8 Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards 170 Running
9 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 170 Running
10 A.J. Allmendinger Ford U.S. Air Force 170 Running
11 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Burger King 170 Running
12 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 170 Running
13 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 170 Running
14 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 170 Running
15 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 170 Running
16 David Gilliland Ford Front Row Motorsports 170 Running
17 Marcos Ambrose Ford Dewalt 170 Running
18 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 170 Running
19 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard Heritage / Amp Energy 170 Running
20 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s Summer Salute 170 Running
21 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 170 Running
22 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald’s 170 Running
23 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / NRA 170 Running
24 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 170 Running
25 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 170 Running
26 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 169 Running
27 Andy Lally Ford Interstate Moving Services 169 Running
28 Terry Labonte Ford C&J Energy 169 Running
29 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver’s 169 Running
30 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com – Pellet & Wood Stoves / Extenze 169 Running
31 Bobby Labonte Toyota Kingsford 168 Running
32 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 164 Running
33 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / GoDaddy.com 164 Running
34 Robby Gordon Dodge Speed Energy 163 Running
35 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 162 Accident
36 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Wheaties Fuel 162 Accident
37 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 144 Running
38 Geoff Bodine Chevrolet Luke & Associates 143 Wheel bearing
39 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Golden Corral 47 Accident
40 Mike Skinner Toyota Big Red 5 Wheel bearing
41 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 4 Accident
42 Michael McDowell Toyota HP Racing LLC 2 Electrical
43 Kevin Conway Toyota Extenze 1 Rear Gear

Driver Standings: Race 17 of 36

1 +1 Kevin Harvick 586 Leader
2 -1 Carl Edwards 581 -5
3 +2 Kyle Busch 576 -10
4 Kurt Busch 570 -16
5 +1 Matt Kenseth 564 -22
6 -3 Jimmie Johnson 564 -22
7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 534 -52
8 +1 Jeff Gordon 519 -67
9 -1 Clint Bowyer 505 -81
10 Ryan Newman 498 -88
11 Denny Hamlin 495 -91
12 Tony Stewart 494 -92
13 Greg Biffle 473 -113
14 +2 Juan Montoya 468 -118
15 A.J. Allmendinger 467 -119
16 +1 Paul Menard 466 -120
17 +3 David Ragan 457 -129
18 -4 Mark Martin 455 -131
19 Kasey Kahne 452 -134
20 +3 Joey Logano 439 -147
21 Marcos Ambrose 435 -151



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