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David Ragan wins at Daytona at last

3 July 2011

David Ragan looked set to win the Daytona 500 in February only to be penalised for changing lanes too soon at the penultimate restart that mean the win eventually went to Trevor Bayne.

At the series' first return to Daytona International Speedway since that fateful race, Ragan put that wrong to rights and clinched the win, while other big names - including Bayne himself - had more torrid and bruising outings.

"We got one back at Daytona," said Ragan. "It would have been tough to lose another one. I thought about that, actually, under that last caution. I said, 'Man, if we don't win this thing, I'm not going to talk to anyone afterward'!"

It's Ragan's first Cup win in 163 starts, and the 12th different winner of the 2011 season. His victory here means that all three restrictor plate races this year have had different winners, with Bayne winning the Daytona 500 and Jimmie Johnson claiming victory at Talladega.

Ragan won with the help of a big push from Matt Kenseth on the second green-white-chequered (GWC) restart and was given victory when a massive wreck broke out after the white flag flew. Two-car drafting had once again proven to be the default form of racing at Daytona, and the Ragan/Kenseth pairing endured almost the full 170 lap race distance.

Ragan's challenge at the final restart came from the drafting duo of Joey Logano who was being pushed by Kasey Kahne, but Ragan and Kenseth were too strong.

It was a disastrous night for Ragan's team mate Carl Edwards, who spun on lap 23 while being drafted by Greg Biffle and into heavy contact with the inside wall that left him in 37th place even though he resumed running after extensive ongoing repairs. His 25-point championship lead was wiped out and he no longer leads the Cup standings - Kevin Harvick takes over the top spot after finishing in seventh place on Saturday evening.

Bayne spun out early on after an attempt to hook up with Brad Keselowski on lap 5 for some drafting advantage was mistimed. Bayne finished in 41st, the worst finish for a Daytona 500 winner in the season's second Daytona outing since Cale Yarborough in 1983 - which is at least prestigious company for the 20-year-old current Nationwide regular. Bayne's exit also caught up Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray and Bobby Labonte to varying degrees although all were able to continue.

Kyle Busch moves up to third place in the Cup standings despite hitting the wall on lap 157 in the aftermath of a spectacular spin-and-save by Jeff Gordon, the resulting caution setting up the first attempt at a GWC finish of the evening that was thwarted when the biggest wreck of the night saw Joey Logano put Mark Martin into the wall which then caught up Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Landon Cassill, Brian Vickers, Regan Smith, Kurt Busch, Joe Nemechek, Casey Mears, Tony Stewart and David Reutimann in the aftermath.

The second GWC finish made it past the white flag, so when two separate incidents further back down the field caught up at least 15 cars in the maelstrom, the race finished under caution with Ragan declared the winner.

Full times and positions available.


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