DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— David Ragan came so close to scoring the victory at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400, but was shuffled back to the sixth position on a late-race restart in NASCAR OT.
Ragan was leading the race when the race restarted on lap 162, but Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. had the dominate car and shuffled Ragan out of the lead.
His sixth place finish at Daytona was his best finish since a fifth place finish at the Martinsville Spring race in 2015.
Despite a sixth place finish, Ragan admits he didn’t have the speed when he was out front:
“Our car didn’t have speed up front. Our car drove really good which allowed me to stay in the throttle and really push cars. We had a little damage to our right front fender too. It just didn’t go as it needed to,” said Ragan.
Despite being on the front row on the final restart, Ragan estimated the run by Ty Dillon, but underestimated the charge from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Michael McDowell.
“I really thought that if we could clear the 13 (Ty DIllon), we would be in good shape. I didn’t know the 17 and 95 had that good of a run. My car wasn’t good on the bottom either. It liked to run that middle and top. I just didn’t want to let anybody get on my outside.
Despite his recent records at Daytona, Ragan was pleased about his run:
“If it was Thursday and you said ‘Hey, we will give you a sixth place finish,’ I would probably would have took that coming to Daytona. My record hasn’t been that great the last several years. I have been caught up in wrecks. I haven’t been able to finish these races clean. To be that close its bittersweet, but I can handle it,” said Ragan.
Ragan understands defeat. In 2011, Ragan lost the Daytona 500 on a late race restart to Trevor Bayne. Ragan will think about it but believe losing this race is nothing.
“I lost the Daytona 500 down here. Losing the Coke Zero 400 that ain’t nothing. I will think about it tonight and tomorrow a little bit. I can think about it and smile.”
Ragan currently sits 28th in the Cup series points standings, 438 points behind Kyle Laron, but 41 points ahead of Aric Almirola, who sits 30th in points.