RAGAN WINS WILD RACE FOR FIRST ARCA VICTORY presented by Advance Auto Parts
After Miller Dominate, Ragan Leads The Most Important Lap… The Last One by Jeremy Troiano
WILLIAMS BROS. 200
Lanier National Speedway, Brasleton, GA
1David Ragan/Kannapolis NC
2Joey Miller/Farmington MN
3Jason Jarrett/Hickory NC
4Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN
5Chad Blount/Walkerton IN
6Josh Allison/Martinsville IN
7Brandon Knupp/Sidney OH
8Ron Hornaday III/Mooresville NC
9Mike Harmon/Birmingport AL
10Todd Bowsher/Springfield OH
11Kyle Beattie/Concord NC
12Mark Gibson/Winder GA
13Terry Lawrence/Boise ID
14Bill Eversole/Chelsea MI
15Andy Belmont/Penndel PA
16Darrell Basham/Henryville IN
17Johnny Leonard/Cape Coral FL
18Cale Langford/Kennesaw GA
19Jeff Buice/Mooresville NC
20Brad Smith/Belleville MI
21Jeff Caudell/Austin IN
22Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA
23Tim Turner/Pulaski TN
24Chad McCumbee/Supply NC
25Ryan Howard/Tipp City OH
26Ken Weaver/Dallas TX
27David O'Dell/Lawrenceville GA
28Dana White/Concord NC
29Richard King/Conyers GA
30TJ Bell/Sparks NV
31Tim Mitchell/Fayetteville TN
32Michael Simko/Clarkston MI
33David Boggs/Rock Hill SC
34Joe Cooksey/Centralia IL
35Anthony Hill/Carrollton GA
Look at the final results of Saturday night’s ARCA race at Lanier National Speedway in Georgia and it would look like David Ragan dominated the entire day. He was the fastest driver in practice, he captured the pole position and he won the 200-lap race.
But that would be the problem of just looking at the final results and moving on.
“It just makes my job easier when we have that good of a car. This is a Robert Yates car and a Robert Yates engine. This is the same car that we ran at Salem and Toledo. When we get a good car, we are going to dog it to death. So we were happy to come to our home track with this car and it paid off.”
Ragan led the first couple of laps before Jason Jarrett took over the lead. Jarrett led just a few laps before getting into it with the lapped car of Norm Benning. That allowed Miller to take the lead, which he would never give up until the very end.
But behind Miller, there were all kinds of stories. At lap 95, a few of the front runners, including Ragan, Frank Kimmel, Jarrett and Chad Blount came in to pit for new tires while others, including Miller, stayed out.
David Ragan took his first ARCA win in typical short track fashion at Lanier National Speedway. (51 Photo)
In reality, rookie Joey Miller dominated the race. Miller took the lead on lap 12 and never looked backBut caution after caution never allowed Miller to break away from the pack. And Miller led until the white flag came out. That is when David Ragan took advantage of fresher tires.
But Ragan’s road to the front wasn’t an easy one. He came back from a slow pit stop, a spin while coming back through the field, coming back from a lap down and making that lap up under green to get the win. And he did it all at his hometrack.
“It feels really good to finally get that first win,” said Ragan, a former full-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver. “I’ve been second a bunch of times and have a lot of top-fives. The guys work hard on this program. We are still trying to find sponsorship to run all of these races. That just shows though what kind of team this is.
“This is just a lot of hard work that finally paid off. Racing has a lot to do with luck and we’ve had a lot of bad luck, but tonight we had some good luck and a good car. That makes things a whole lot easier.
Then, as those who pitted worked to come back through the field to get back to the front, Ragan and Kimmel got swept up into a turn two accident with a couple of lapped cars. Kimmel kept going with quite a bit of damage, while Ragan lost a lap before getting his car refired.
On lap 135, Ragan, who had a fast car and fresher tires than the leaders, worked Miller over and got himself back on the lead lap.
Then, the race to the front was on.
The finish between Ragan (#90), Miller (#9) and Jarrett was this close. (ARCA Photo)
“It was tough coming back through there,” added Ragan. “We were a lap down at one time. I have to give credit to Joey Miller and David O’Dell. They both gave me plenty of room when I was trying to get my lap back. They knew we had a little bit quicker of a car.
“We had an awesome car. We were on fresh tires. I knew that I had to get around the 67 (Blount) and the 46 (Kimmel) because I knew they would be right there at the end of the race and I wanted to get track position on them. I got around both of them, but I was probably over driving it. Things stacked up in front of me and I got into the guy and I got spun around myself. We got a lap down. It was just tough racing from then on out.”
Miller kept setting the pace. However, a series of caution flags kept Miller from opening his lead up too much. The #9 Hagans Racing Dodge was even better on long runs, but Miller never got the chance for too many long runs. That allowed Ragan, Kimmel and the others that pitted to catch up.
Ragan in Victory Lane. (51 Photo)
Then, the last 10 laps was a different race altogether.
Jarrett moved into second and set his sights on Miller. Jarrett pressured Miller, which allowed Ragan to catch up. Ragan made a move on Jarrett and got himself into second spot when a late caution waved, setting up one final restart.
ARCA does not have a green-white-checker rule, which might have cost Miller the win.
When the green flew, the white flag flew with it, making it a one-lap shootout for the win. Ragan dove to the inside of Miller going into turn one on the apron, making a lot of contact with Miller. The two raced side-by-side down the backstretch before Ragan finally complete the pass in
turn thee and four and took the checkers with Miller very close behind and Jarrett within a stones throw.
“I hate I had to get into him,” added Ragan. “I knew Joey wanted to win just as bad as I did. But to be able to win it like that is good, hard racing. I grew up racing that way. And to do it at my home track… that was awesome. I had a lot of family here tonight.
“We might not have been the fastest car, but it all goes back to the crew chief and the call he made. I know the 9 car (Miller) was very fast, especially on old tires. Having those fresher tires though at the end is what allowed me to drive down there on apron on that last lap and it stuck. I’m sure I’ll get a little payback someday from some of those guys.
“Hey, I love it though and I think the fans loved it too.”
Miller was expecting a two-lap shootout. It was just one lap.
“The end of the race kind of surprised me,” said Miller. “Normally, it is a green-white-checker finish. That really messed me up more than anything. Had I really known, I would have used him up a little more on that last lap.
“I’m just happy on how the whole night went though. The car is in good shape. Sure, we are the first loser, but worse things could have happened. We showed tonight how good this team really is and I am very happy about that. It was a good points night. I thought it was going to be better than what it ended up being, but that is ok.
Miller had the car to beat for 188 laps on Saturday night. (51 Photo)
“Yeah, I was excited about the car. We knew we were goin to have a good piece when we came here. I don’t think we knew we were going to have such a good car though. I’m just really excited about the results of tonight. Sure, we would have liked to have won, but we led a lot of laps and we showed how good of a team we have and that we can run on the short tracks as well. After tonight’s run, I’m really excited to go to some of the other short tracks later in the year. I think we can now be a challenger from now on for the win at each of those tracks.”
Kimmel came back from the accident and numerous pit stops throughout the night to come home fourth and minimize the points advantage gained by Miller’s second-place finish. Chad Blount finished fifth.