NASCAR: David Ragan pulls huge upset at Talladega

May 5, 2013

A pair of Davids slayed the Goliaths at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sunday.

David Ragan hooked up with teammate David Gilliland in a two-lap overtime sprint, and together they picked off some of the top drivers in NASCAR to drive to the front and push Ragan into Victory Lane in the Aaron’s 499.

It was the second career victory for Ragan — he also won at Daytona in July 2011 — and Gilliland finished second for a 1-2 finish for Front Row Motorsports.

“I had a great teammate. David Gilliland gave us a great push. I owe him a lot,” Ragan said. “I’ll definitely buy him lunch this week or something.”

The victory came a day after Regan Smith won the Nationwide Series race and Ragan was flooded with misfired congratulatory messages on Twitter.

The race took seven hours to complete after rain stopped it for 3 hours 36 minutes midway through the event.

With darkness quickly closing in, contact between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and J.J. Yeley triggered a frightening crash that sent Kurt Busch’s car airborne and on top of Ryan Newman’s car.

Newman has been in several harrowing accidents at Daytona and Talladega, where NASCAR uses restrictor-plates to control the speeds, and was sharp with his criticism after exiting the infield care center.

He also criticized NASCAR for continuing the race with darkness closing in on the track so quickly.

“That’s no way to end a race,” he said. “That’s just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment. 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.”

NASCAR sent the race into overtime after the final accident for one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, and the two Front Row drivers teamed up to steal the win and give Ford a sweep of the top three positions as Carl Edwards finished third.

INDYCAR: On the final turn of the final lap, James Hinchcliffe finally saw an opening — and made sure he squeezed into it.

Hinchcliffe made a last-ditch move on Takuma Sato, going past the Japanese driver on the inside of the last bend to win IndyCar’s Sao Paulo 300 in Brazil.

The Canadian was barely even sure that Sato was finally behind him by the time the checkered flag went down in front of him.

“I don’t think I was sure until after we crossed the line,” said Hinchcliffe.

The Canadian, also the winner in the opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., moved from third to second with three laps to go and then dueled with Sato before finally making the gutsy move right before the finish at the Anhembi street track.

Sato, coming off his first career victory two weeks ago in Long Beach, drove in too hard for the hairpin at the end of the long back straight and gave just enough space for Hinchcliffe to get past.

“To win a race on the last corner of the last lap is one of the coolest feelings,” Hinchcliffe said.

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