David Ragan claimed his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win on the last lap of the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Ragan was running fifth as the last lap started on the green-white-checkered finish and as others rubbed fenders ahead of him, the Roush Fenway driver made the most of a push from Joey Logano to be able to make his way to the front and just beat pole-sitter Ryan Newman, leading only the last lap of the race.
"That was an exciting race," said Ragan after winning his first NASCAR-sanctioned event following 196 starts. "We've been waiting for this for a long time. I didn't know if it would come this weekend or not but a lot of fun, a lot of emotions.
"I was kind of contending with the top-five and no one seemed to be able to run on the outside and really push hard. I've got to give credit to Joey Logano. He helped me out, an old legends-car buddy. I just kind of saw some beating and banging in first and second and said, 'What the heck, let's jump to the outside and see what we can make out of it.'"
Twelve laps before going through the checkered flag first, Ragan had tapped the rear of his teammate Matt Kenseth, causing him to flip several times on the backstraight. Ragan apologized for the incident, while expecting they will both move on from it ahead of Sunday's Sprint Cup series race.
Before that he was penalized for speeding on pit road, but he eventually got back in contention thanks to a later caution period.
Newman, who was driving for Kevin Harvick's team, was disappointed to have lost the race on the last lap. He made contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr who had pushed him since the last restart, waiting for the right moment to make his move for the lead.
However their battle left the door open for Ragan to go by both and take the win, despite Newman trying to block and even bang against the 23-year-old's car, while he was making the move that won him the race.
"I knew (Dale) Jr was coming, I blocked him and he got me sideways," said Newman. "Just really didn't expect the #6 (Ragan) to have that run. I guess he wouldn't have if he didn't have a little help from somebody behind him. In the end that was a good finish for us, but not what we wanted."
Logano finished third on his first Nationwide outing at Talladega, moving through the field behind Ragan on the last few yards of the race. Tony Raines finished fourth, while Earnhardt Jr was fifth, both seeing how Ragan drove past between them as they approached the finish line.
"I didn't think I had a shot at winning so I just started pushing who was in front of me and David happened to be there," said Logano. "I just started pushing him and his run finally opened up by the time we were halfway past the tri-oval. I just started following him through the holes he made and it was cool to push him up to the lead."
Logano's race was not without incident though, as he spun Michael Waltrip out of the race, getting Clint Bowyer involved in the incident as well. His team-mate Kyle Busch, who finished tenth, was also involved in a couple of incidents, first in Kenseth's flip and then in a second wreck when he hit the back of Justin Allgaier's car.
Despite that, his top-10finish allows him to maintain his lead in the championship ahead of Carl Edwards and race-winner Ragan.
Pos Driver Car Laps
1. David Ragan Ford 120
2. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 120
3. Joey Logano Toyota 120
4. Tony Raines Chevrolet 120
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 120
6. Jason Leffler Toyota 120
7. Jason Keller Ford 120
8. Scott Lagasse Jr Toyota 120
9. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 120
10. Kyle Busch Toyota 120
11. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 120
12. Kerry Earnhardt Chevrolet 120
13. Carl Edwards Ford 120
14. Brian Keselowski Dodge 120
15. Michael McDowell Toyota 120
16. Robert Richardson Jr Chevrolet 120
17. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 120
18. John Wes Townley Ford 120
19. DJ Kennington Dodge 120
20. Brian Vickers Toyota 120
21. Michael Annett Toyota 120
22. Kertus Davis Chevrolet 120
23. Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet 120
24. David Green Toyota 120
25. Eric McClure Ford 120
26. John Borneman III Ford 120
27. Shelby Howard Chevrolet 120
28. Donnie Neuenberger Chevrolet 120
29. David Reutimann Toyota 118
30. Brandon Whitt Ford 118
31. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 117
32. Justin Allgaier Dodge 114
33. Bobby Gerhart Chevrolet 114
34. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 109
35. Matt Kenseth Ford 104
36. Jeff Green Chevrolet 104
37. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 86
38. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 73
39. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 58
40. Michael Waltrip Toyota 52
41. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 41
42. Kenny Hendrick Dodge 19
43. Mark Green Chevrolet 2