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Sweet redemption: David Ragan wins at Daytona



Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - After letting a victory slip away from him in the Daytona 500 earlier this year, David Ragan found salvation at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night by winning the Coke Zero 400.

Ragan took the lead from Ryan Newman just before a 15-car pileup occurred during the first green-white-checkered attempt. Mark Martin, the pole sitter, and Joey Logano made contact, with Martin bumping into Brian Vickers and then triggering the big one.

After the second and final two-lap overtime restart, Ragan stayed in front with pushing help from his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. The Roush Fenway duo held off Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch before another big crash -- this one also involving 15 cars -- occurred coming out of the final turn of the last lap.

The race ended under caution, with Ragan picking up his first Sprint Cup Series win in his 163rd start.

"This is fun and what better of a place to do it than Daytona," Ragan said. "I got to thank Matt Kenseth for helping me. Our four teammates work great together."

Ragan held the lead in the closing laps of the February 20 Daytona 500, but prior to the restart for a green-white-checkered attempt in that race, Ragan was penalized by NASCAR for illegally changing his lane position for the restart. He wound up finishing 14th.

"I just tried to zero it out and take some positives from it and move on," he said. "My team has really humbled me and kept me focused."

Trevor Bayne inherited the lead after Ragan's mishap and then went on to become the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 one day after he turned 20 years old.

Ragan and Kenseth gave Roush Fenway and Ford a 1-2 finish at Daytona

"It was a good night for us," Kenseth said. "I'm glad it worked out. The two speedway races have been a disaster so far this year, so I'm happy to not get wrecked tonight and finish second."

Logano, who won Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona, took the third spot, while Kahne and Busch rounded out the top-five.

"It was still a really good race for us, and I'm sure it was entertaining for the fans," Logano said.

Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Juan Pablo Montoya, and A.J. Allmendinger finished sixth through 10th, respectively. Gordon got turned around but did not hit anything in the closing laps, which set up the first two-lap overtime attempt.

Harvick took over the points lead. He holds a five-point advantage over Carl Edwards, who finished 26 laps behind in 37th after crashing on lap 24. Busch moved to within 10 points of the leader.

With the win, Ragan moved up three positions to 17th in the standings. The 25- year-old is currently second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship "wild card" category. Nine races remain before the Chase begins.

Ragan joined Bayne and Regan Smith as first time winners in the series this season. Smith claimed the victory in the 500-mile race at Darlington in May.

Bayne's attempt for a Daytona season sweep came to an end on lap five. Bayne, who started on the outside pole, slammed into the wall after he was hit from behind by Brad Keselowski.

"We really didn't have a plan of who we're going to work with at the beginning," said Bayne, who ended up finishing 41st. "I was there with Clint Bowyer for the first couple of laps, then he dropped off to the 31 [Jeff Burton]. I was kind of dropping back just looking for a partner. [Keselowski] then got to us. Going into turn one, I don't know what happened there, but sometimes these things just get loose when you're the lead car."

There was a race record 57 lead changes among 25 drivers.

07/03 00:21:35 ET


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