In easily the most exciting race of the 2009 Nationwide Series season, David Ragan barely beat Ryan Newman by only .300’s of a second to take the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. Coming out of turn four on the final lap, Ragan’s Discount Tire Ford was in a big pack of cars with Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick’s number 33 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 5 car battling out front. Ragan explains what happens next.
You know it’s like the 5 jumped out, he had a small run but 33 blocked him. Kind of slowed down the bottom lane and I just happened to have enough push from the 20 and the 33 moved back down the racetrack to block the inside and just kind of opened up a little bit of gap. Something that certainly isn’t scripted by any means, things just tend to happen and I think the biggest thing is just being in position. Certainly if we would have been 10th we couldn’t have won, if we would have been sixth we couldn’t have won. So just being in position and making a good decision coming out of turn four.
Just before they got to the line Newman moved up and body slammed Ragan in the driver’s door but the 23-year-old Georgia native was able to hold on by the thinnest of margins to grab his first career Nationwide series win, leading only the money lap.
You know it feels great, it will probably soak in a little more the beginning of next week but it certainly feels good to win. It feels good to make a last lap pass like that. You know it’s something that you grow up watching on TV and I’m just fortunate to be in a position to make it happen.
Even though they didn’t wind up in victory lane, neither Newman or Dale Jr. were upset about how the race ended.
If David Ragan told you he thought he was going to win the race from where he was at on that last restart he would have probably been lying through his teeth but things happen and the way the racing is here at Talladega, you know it was his day.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
It was a lot of fun, a lot of great racing out there. Congratulations to David getting his first win. I told him before the race he was certainly due and I had a good time. We had a good car. The GoDaddy Chevrolet was running really good all day. It was fast and we were right where we needed to be at the end of the race to put a move on him and we just got to beating around and it knocked all the speed out of the car. The run I had was gone once, it was just fun racing their team.
In the mad scramble coming to the checkered flag Junior was bumped back to fifth with Joey Logano finishing third behind Newman, fourth, driving for an under funded team, Tony Raines.
I honestly thought last re-start I had a shot to win because I knew the 5 was going to try to get by the 33 and if he crossed him up and I slipped by but I also knew just as easy I could get collected in a wreck so, it was just a crap shoot you know and you come out of here with one piece of Talladega which is very unusual for me. I’m very thankful for that and I had a lot of fun.
Six to 10 at the end were Jason Leffler, Jason Keller, Scott Lagasse Jr., Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Carl Edwards came home 13th and fell 62 points behind Kyle Busch in the battle for the Nationwide Series championship. Now there were no big multi-car crashes but there was one spectacular wreck when ironically David Regan flipped his team mate Matt Kenseth down the back straightaway. After that 180 mph tumble team owner Jack Roush caught up with Kenseth at the infield care center.
I looked at him in the eye, both of his eyes were pointed straight ahead and they were speaking clearly and he said, "That’s the first time I’ve been upside down so that was no great fun." I said, "Well I know it’s not worth much but I will give you that car" and he said, "Well thank you very much." He didn’t even ask me if I would fix it for him. I’ll let David fix it for him if it gets fixed.
A full set of the pictures taken at Talladega Superspeedway can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationwide/sets/72157617266070111/
The Nationwide Series will run at the Richmond International Raceway. Look for the audio interview following the Lipton Tea 250.
And don’t forget, Nationwide’s Media Team will be Twittering from Richmond. You can follow the Team’s whereabouts on the track at Twitter/Nationwide (http://twitter.com/Nationwide). If there is a picture of someone or something you would like to see trackside, send your request to http://twitter.com/Nationwide. The team will try its best to get the shot. Pictures will be posted at http://www.twitpic.com/photos/nationwide