David Ragan admits he was hocked by his late surge to victory in a rain-hit NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega.
Aided by a push from Front Row teammate David Gilliland, Ragan charged from the fringes of the top 10 to snatch victory in a green-white-checker two-lap dash to the finish. Ragan said his initial move up the order owed more to fortune than design, but that he knew victory was possible once he had moved into the top five.
"When we took the green we were running 10th," Ragan said of the final green-white-checker, "and we ended with a 1-2 finish. Can you believe that?
"I don't know what happened on that first lap, but coming around to take the white I was pushing the 43 [Aric Almirola], he jumped to the outside and I didn't want to be on the top lane.
"I thought that maybe we could get a good run and race for the win coming out of Turn 4, but I didn't know at the time the 38, David Gilliland, was hooked to my rear bumper, and so that gave me a little extra confidence. I knew that he was going to stick with me.
"Carl Edwards was leading, I think he tried to block [Ricky Stenhouse Jr.], which allowed me a clean hole on the bottom, so I went low. Carl I guess didn't see me come quick enough and I was able to get position on him.
"I don't know still today how [Gilliland] had such a good run, but sitting here right now with a 1-2 makes it even more special."
Ragan refuted suggestions from 2012 champion Brad Keselowski that he had lined up on the wrong side at the restart, saying: "There's no controversy; NASCAR will set him straight eventually.
"NASCAR [calls the order] on the radio. Obviously Brad wanted to start on the outside, because he knew the same thing that I knew – that the outside lane had an advantage on the restart – but he just didn't want to listen to NASCAR.
"He maybe won't admit it, but he knows that he lined up in the right spot and I lined up in the right spot."