Updated: May 6, 2013, 1:31 PM ET

David Ragan Wins Thriller At Talladega

Sprint Cup: Typical Talladega finish

By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

Sunday was another crazy day at Talladega, which comes as no surprise.

Airborne cars and shocking wrecks that border on madness. Seven hours, mostly just waiting, before the race ends in virtual darkness. And NASCAR decisions that came under question as to whether the right thing was done.

Despite all that, the sport's most dangerous track produced one redeeming result: A driver and team that have almost no chance of winning anywhere else end up in Victory Lane.

In all its volatility and chaos, Talladega Superspeedway is the great equalizer, making contenders out of the pretenders who usually are just along for the ride.

Seeing the genuine joy and exuberance that David Ragan and his team showed after winning has to make you smile -- a "David beating Goliath moment," as Ragan called it.

David Ragan
John Harrelson/Getty ImagesTalladega winner David Ragan put underdog Front Row Motorsports in Victory Lane on Sunday.

Ragan gave Front Row Motorsports team owner Bob Jenkins his first victory. Teammate David Gilliland, who finished second, pushed Ragan to the front through the darkness.

It was a magical ending for a driver and an organization that needed a break. But it came after a long day of decisions some drivers questioned.

Rain brought out a red flag with 63 laps remaining in the 188-lap event. A race needs to complete just half the laps to become official, but to their credit, NASCAR officials wanted to try to complete the event.

However, it was more than three and a half hours before the race restarted. Most of the people in the grandstands had left when the green flag flew. And the 6:05 p.m. CT restart meant darkness might come before the race was finished.

What also came was another late-race multicar wreck, one in which Kurt Busch's car tumbled through the air before landing on the windshield of Ryan Newman's car.

"That's no way to end a race," Newman said on the Fox telecast. "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."

Brad Keselowski also had issues with a NASCAR decision at the end, believing league officials allowed Ragan to restart where Keselowski thought he should have started at the green-white-checkered final restart.

"Me thinks if someone looked at what happened on that restart they might feel differently about that finish," Keselowski wrote on Twitter. "Mad as hell about that finish.

"We were supposed to line up 10th when the 34 [Ragan] switched lanes entering [Turn] 3 before green. That lane won.

"I'm happy as hell a small team won. Doesn't change the fact that the restart was blatantly wrong.''

Martin Truex Jr. agreed with Keselowski on Twitter, but many people didn't.

"Some people just can't handle facts,'' Keselowski tweeted. "Watch full in-car camera replays and judge for yourself guys."

Whoever you believe, it was nice to see the underdog win, an underfunded team finishing on top against the mega-rich super organizations of NASCAR.

Talladega, with all its flaws, can do that sometimes. But this was a race that ended in the dark, in more ways than one for some drivers.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer

Ragan's David Vs. Goliath Moment

SPONSORED HEADLINES