Willwerth: NASCAR Notebook
By Brian Willwerth
Sometimes, you get a second chance at redemption. Just ask David Ragan.
The driver of the #6 car earned his first-ever Sprint Cup victory Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, winning the Coke Zero 400. He survived two, green-white-checkered finishes, during which much of the field wrecked (more on that in a moment.)
Ragan could’ve swept both races at Daytona, but he blew his chance at winning the Daytona 500 back in February when he changed lanes too early on a late restart and was penalized.
With the win, Ragan climbed to 17th in the point’s standings. But more importantly, with one more win he would be in great shape to at least earn one of the two wild card spots that have been added to this year’s Chase.
Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
The other headline coming from this race is a change atop the standings.
THE WRECK WRAP
Kevin Harvick is now leading in the points, because… Carl Edwards had a rough night. His drafting partner, Greg Biffle, sent him spinning across the track and into the inside wall. Cousin Carl finished 37th.
In the final two laps, who didn’t wreck? In the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finished, a “big one” took out about 10 cars, including pole sitter Mark Martin. Then on the final lap of the second overtime, there was another massive wreck, but Ragan was able to take the checkered flag. Who was involved in the pileups? Too many to name here, that’s for sure. I’m still amazed how Jeff Gordon managed to finish in the top 10, despite wiping out before the chaos began.
There would be no magic this time around for Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne. Brad Keselowski sent him for a spin early in the race.
I’m not a big fan of this whole two-car drafting thing. I miss the old Daytona and Talladega racing, (which really isn’t that old but anyway…) but if you think I don’t like it… well, my statement pales in comparison to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s.
Next week: the first ever Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.