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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]
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads the field in a restart during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America on August 29, 2015 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Hisense Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 JEGS Toyota, race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 race, at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in 20th place Sunday, August 16, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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