Dreams Came True for David Ragan, driver of the #34 Farm Rich Ford, during the Dreams Come True at Aaron 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. This is Ragan’s second victory in 228 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, both Ragan’s victories came at restrictor-plate tracks. His first win came at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 in July 2011.
“This is a true David vs. Goliath moment here,” said Ragan in victory lane after thanking his teammate David Gilliland for the push. “There not all this easy.”
Ragan’s teammate Gilliland would’ve liked to have gained his first victory at the track but was proud to help his teammate. “An underfunded team coming in here and being able to finish 1-2 is Awesome!” said Gilliland. “I was locked to his bumper and I wasn’t gonna to let go.”
All weekend the weather was a factor at Talladega for the race festivities, qualifying, and all but one practice session rained out, which is how the race was lined up by the quickest during the only practice session teams had.
Even though NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series was able to start on time, the race was red-flagged for rain for 3 hours 36 minutes and 6 seconds with 63 laps remaining. Carl Edwards was leading the race when the caution came out for the rain, and said he would be fine with the race being called when the red flag first came out but, noted that it was unlikely.
Edwards, finished in third led the final lap after passing Matt Kenseth’s commanding Toyota, after leading 142 of the 192 laps, had his victory snatched away twice. “As frustrated as I am by a loss, I’m really happy for Ragan and Gilliland,” said Edwards. “I see how hard teams have to work to be competitive at this level. It truly couldn’t happen to two better guys.”
Many of Ragan’s peers in the sport were thrilled that a small team won, points leader Jimmie Johnson responded over his radio, “That’s Awesome!” after being told of Ragan’s victory.
Kenseth, who finished eighth, after his dominating day said, “It was a good run but a real disappointing finish. Congratulations to David and David, it’s always good to see the underdogs win.”
NASCAR made its debut of the new Air Titan drying system that relies on compressed air to dry the 2.66 mile track in less than two hours after two separate downpours soaked the track. The system relies on 17 diesel powered air compressors to push water to the apron, where it is vacuumed by a sweeper truck. The track was just about dry when a stronger storm struck the track at 4 pm eastern time, an hour later track drying resumed and took about two hours to complete, about an hour and a half less than with the just the old jet dryers system on its own.
With the race over Brad Keselowski was unhappy with how the race ended, as he tweeted that Ragan gained an advantaged by changing lanes before the final restart which is not allowed, “I’m happy as hell a small team won. Doesn’t change the fact that the restart was blatantly wrong.”
After an 11-car crash that set up the only green-white-checkered finish as daylight hours were fading rapidly Ryan Newman wasn’t pleased after the #78 of Kurt Busch’s Chevrolet flipped and landed on Newman’s #39 Chevrolet, this is the second time in four years that Newman has had a car land on his hood at Talladega. Edward’s Ford landed on Newman’s hood in the 2009 crash before it shot into the catchfence.
“They can build safer cars; they can build safer walls,” Newman said. “They can’t get their heads out of their (butts) far enough to keep the cars on the racetrack. Pretty disappointing. … That’s no way to end a race. Poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain.”
No one was injured in the crash that also collected Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Michael Waltrip, Bobby and Terry Labonte, and Danica Patrick.
The next race is on televised on Fox with a start time of 6:45 eastern time at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 11.