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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]
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field on the first lap of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his fourteenth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Truex, Jr. is joined with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his sixth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway (renamed Jeff Gordon Raceway for the day to honor the four-time champion) in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS  and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS advances to the Champion 4 with his second place finish. Harvick is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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