TALLADEGA, Ala. — A pair of Davids slayed the Goliaths at Talladega Superspeedway.
David Ragan hooked up with teammate David Gilliland in a two-lap overtime sprint, and together they picked off some of the top drivers in NASCAR to drive to the front and push Ragan into Victory Lane at the Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499.
It was the second career victory for Ragan — he also won at Daytona in July 2011 — and Gilliland finished second for a 1-2 finish for Front Row Motorsports.
‘‘I had a great teammate. David Gilliland gave us a great push. I owe him a lot,’’ Ragan said. ‘‘I'll definitely buy him lunch this week or something.’’
Gilliland was content settling for second on a day his team earned its first career victory.
The race took seven hours to complete after rain stopped it for 3 hours, 36 minutes midway through the event. With darkness quickly closing in, contact between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and J.J. Yeley triggered a frightening crash that sent Kurt Busch’s car airborne and on top of Ryan Newman’s car.
Newman has been in numerous harrowing accidents at Daytona and Talladega, where NASCAR uses restrictor-plates to control the speeds, and was sharp with his criticism after exiting the infield care center.
‘‘They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they can’t get their heads out of their [expletive] far enough to keep them on the race track, and that’s pretty disappointing,’’ Newman said. ‘‘I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y'all can figure out who ‘they’ is.’’
He also was upset NASCAR continued the race with darkness closing in on the track so quickly.
NASCAR sent the race into overtime after the final accident for one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, and it seemed as though it might have been Matt Kenseth’s race to win.
He led a race-high 142 laps and was the leader on the final restart but was passed by Carl Edwards on the first lap of overtime. He never saw the pack coming behind him and, with nowhere to go, fell out of contention in the blink of an eye.
That’s when Ragan and Gilliland came charging out of nowhere, sweeping past Edwards and Jimmie Johnson and to the front.
Edwards wound up third for a sweep of the top three spots for Ford.
Michael Waltrip was fourth and Johnson was fifth.
Denny Hamlin successfully returned from a compression fracture in a vertebra by turning 23 laps before getting out of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for replacement driver Brian Vickers during the first caution. Hamlin climbed out through a roof hatch and Vickers slid in through the window quickly enough to keep the No. 11 on the lead lap.
A mere 18 laps later, before Hamlin had even completed his media interviews, Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch triggered a 16-car accident on lap 43 that collected Vickers.