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Ragan fades as Keselowski shines

Brad Keselowski's stunning comeback from midweek injury to Sunday success was a fairy tale, but the race was a nightmare for David Ragan whose chance of a Chase slot slips away.
Brad Keselowski stole the headlines with his amazing bounceback from a high-speed testing crash on Wednesday to win the Cup race at Pocono on Sunday, but the Penske driver's success has left Roush Fenway's David Ragan with a major problem and much-diminished chance of making it through to the Chase.

Ragan won his first Cup race at the beginning of July with victory at Daytona, and was 16th in the Cup standings going into the weekend giving him a realistic chance of taking one of the two Chase wildcard slots reserved for the drivers with the most number of race wins in positions 11 through 20 after September's Richmond race.

But a bad day at Pocono saw him spin out of the race on lap 20 of the 200 lap race: "We had a good run getting into turn three," he said of the accident. "Kyle was pretty fast coming up through the field and I just passed some cars on the bottom, so I went down there and I think two or three other cars [including David Reutimann] had the same idea and I just got pinched down. I had to keep it down and just ran out of race track and got loose and spun it out.

"I was probably a little too aggressive this early in the race, but if you're not aggressive on the restarts and pass a few cars, once you get strung out after 10 laps you just can't hardly pass. Our car was driving better than it did when they dropped the green flag and I was just trying to be as aggressive as I could and ran out of race track and didn't have enough room to chase it.

"Typically, you'd have a little bit of wiggle room and I wiggled a little bit trying to stay off of him and spun out," he continued. "If I had to do it all over again, I would have probably made the same decision, but I just didn't have enough room to do what I needed to do."

Although he described it as "just a racing deal", the spin left Ragan classified in 34th place at the end of the race, which drops him down to 19th place in the Cup standings. Worse, Keselowski's win boosts the Penske driver into play in the top 20, whose two wins put him into the Chase ahead of the one-race winners Denny Hamlin and Paul Menard who themselves are now both well ahead of Ragan in the points.

"Trying to make this Chase we need as many points as we can," Ragan admitted, stressing that he wasn't giving up on making the Chase quite yet. "I've said all along we need to be in that top 12 or 13, or get a second win, so there's still a lot of racing left. There is gonna be some bad luck for some of these other guys we're racing for it.

"You don't want to give up anything and we're gonna give up some points today, so that means we've got to go and be extra aggressive these next few races."

Brad Keselowski showed that it can happen, with his determination to race at Pocono delivering results beyond his wildest hopes: "I've always wanted to win a Cup race and earn it, not fuel mileage, not Talladega, a real win," said Keselowski. "And today feels like that. And for that, I'm real proud. And I can't wait to see what the next few months bring us."




Related Pictures

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Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 7 in Long Pond, Pa. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, sits in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 5 in Long Pond, Pa. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Roush Fenway #6 driver David Ragan talks to the media. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
David Ragan`s car gets repairs after an early spin at Pocono as the driver is interviewed by the media. He rejoined the race, 149 laps down by the end of the race. [Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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