May 6, 2013 in Sports

Davids team up in OT, give Ragan second win

Jenna Fryer Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

David Ragan won the NASCAR race at Talladega on Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

Hamlin starts, climbs out

 Denny Hamlin’s return to the racetrack has ended safely and early.

 Hamlin climbed out through the roof panel and let Brian Vickers take over in the No. 11 Toyota when the first caution came out after Trevor Bayne’s blown engine Sunday.

 The driver switch was swift enough that the team was able to stay on the lead lap.

 Hamlin was cleared Thursday after missing four races with a compressed fracture of a vertebra in his lower back.

TALLADEGA, Ala. – A pair of Davids slayed the Goliaths at Talladega Superspeedway.

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.

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.”

Gilliland wanted the win but was content settling for second on a day his team earned its first career victory.

“What a great day for Front Row Motorsports, an underfunded team coming in here and being able to finish 1-2 is awesome,” Gilliland said. “I’m very proud of David Ragan. I know he would have done the same for me. I had a heck of a run, we were pushing, I was locked to his bumper and I wasn’t going to let him go.”

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 numerous 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 said he only stopped to do a live television interview to criticize cars still being able to go airborne.

“They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they can’t get their heads out of their (expletive) far enough to keep them on the race track, and that’s pretty disappointing,” Newman said. “I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y’all can figure out who ‘they’ is.”

Carl Edwards wound up third for a sweep of the top three spots for Ford.

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