For David Ragan, a first victory in one of NASCAR's top three touring series took a long time coming - 196 races combined - and, when it came, there was still a bitter-sweet aspect to it.

In a wild scramble at the finish, Ragan beat polesitter Ryan Newman to the stripe to win the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway, but the victory came at the expense of team-mate Matt Kenseth, who barrel-rolled and slid on the roof of his #16 Ford after contact from Ragan's #6 Roush Fenway entry sent him out of control on lap 105.

In a green-white-chequered finish that took the race three laps past its scheduled distance of 117 laps, Newman led Dale Earnhardt Jr past the white flag, but contact between them as they came off turn four gave Ragan his opportunity, and a push from third-place finisher Joey Logano sealed the win.

"I was kind of content with a top five," admitted Ragan, who restarted fourth for the final two laps, "No-one seemed to be able to really run on the outside and really push hard, so I've got to give credit to Joey Logano. He helped me out - an old Legends Car buddy.

"I just kind of saw beating and banging there with first and second and said 'what the heck? Let's jump to the outside and see what we can make of it'."

Ragan and Newman rubbed fenders right before the finish line, before the #6 Ford crossed the stripe 0.030 seconds ahead of Newman's #33 Chevrolet.

"I knew Junior was coming," Newman said of the final half-mile, "I blocked, and he got me sideways, but I really didn't expect the #6 to come that fast. I guess he had someone pushing him."

Tony Raines ran fourth to post his best Nationwide finish since 2005, while Earnhardt came home fifth, ahead of Jason Leffler, Jason Keller, rookie Scott Lagasse Jr - earning a career-best finish - Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.

Busch was involved in the lap 115 wreck that caused the final caution and forced the race to overtime, as contact from his #18 Toyota turned Justin Allgaier's Dodge into the Chevrolet of Bobby Gerhart.

The crash that dulled some of the lustre of Ragan's win came ten laps earlier, however, as Kenseth moved up the track on the backstretch to block Busch and then returned to the inside line in front of Ragan, who bumped his team-mate and set him rolling and sliding towards turn three. Kenseth's car burst into flames but righted itself, and the Daytona 500 winner escaped unharmed.

"Kyle had a run, and I tried to block the top, but I couldn't get up there in time," Kenseth said, "I pulled to the bottom, and saw David there, but I was well clear. David hit me as I was turning back down - to bump-draft me - but you just can't hit somebody when they're turning. The cars aren't stable enough for that."

Ragan shared Kenseth's view of the accident in victory lane.

"It looked like Matt was going up the hill," he said, "They had a good run, and I thought that I had a good run on the bottom. He came back down about the time that I was there at his left-rear quarter. Certainly, I feel bad for the #16 team and for [owner] Jack Roush. It cost them a good finish. We'll chat a little bit, and I'm sure that we'll move on."

The race ran caution-free for the first 54 laps - a record for a green-flag run in the Nationwide Series at Talladega - until Logano bumped Michael Waltrip's Toyota and sent it spinning into the Chevrolet of Clint Bowyer. Hard contact with the inside backstretch wall knocked Waltrip out of the race.

"Same guy, every damn time," Bowyer radioed, reprising a refrain he had started during the March race at Bristol, where he called Waltrip 'the worst driver in all of NASCAR' after an incident there, "How'd I wreck? What happened?" Bowyer continued, mimicking the veteran.

Replays of the crash, however, showed clearly that Logano had turned Waltrip - who had some choice words for Bowyer after being told of his rival's remarks.

"If he wants to continue to be an idiot, we can play that game," he said after a visit to the infield care centre.

Logano backed up Waltrip's version of events and apologised profusely after the race.

Despite not being a factor for the win at the end, Busch retained the series lead by 62 points over 13th-place finisher Carl Edwards.

by Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service