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Ragan wins Bristol Nationwide

David Ragan, Bristol Nationwide, 2009David Ragan fended off team-mate Carl Edwards to claim his second Nationwide Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Starting ninth, the Roush Fenway driver systematically moved up in the order and passed Edwards for the lead on lap 199 when the pair hit traffic. From then on, he was able to remain up front until the chequered flag despite a late caution, which gave his rivals one more shot at snatching victory from him.

The 23-year-old drove faultlessly and wasn't really challenged in the final sprint of the race, taking only his second career win in one of NASCAR's national series.

The race distance was increased by four laps following the ninth caution of the day but a green-white-chequered finish didn't happen in the end as the race officially finished under caution due to a multi-car crash on the last lap.

"It was just a fun night driving such a fast race car," said Ragan. "The outside was our real strength all night. I struggled passing cars on the bottom. I raced with Carl a lot, that was a lot of fun racing with a team-mate, and I was able to pin him behind a lapped car.

"I don't think I was going to be able to pass him because he was riding that middle groove and I just couldn't get around him."

Edwards' second place finish allowed him to profit on a bad day for points leader Kyle Busch, who was classified 28th after an incident on lap 53 with rookie Chase Austin while leading the race. Austin had a tyre down and was trying to drive slowly to the apron out of Turn 4, while Busch was completing a pass on Harvick for the lead at the same spot.

The pair made contact, sending Busch against the wall and then to the garage with massive damage to the front end of his car.

"We're unfortunate that that happened," said Busch. "I've made mistakes too but I guess [Chase Austin's] spotter didn't see the leaders coming or whatever happened.

"He had a flat tyre or whatever. It's a rookie thing. You live and you learn, it's his first time here [at Bristol] or whatever, but he took out a great race car today."

Also involved in an early incident was pole-sitter Brad Keselowski, who got into Penske's Justin Allgaier while battling for the lead as soon as lap 39, three laps after he had been overtaken by the young rookie.

While running nearly side-by-side, Keselowski ran wide at the exit of Turn 4, clipping the left rear corner of Allgaier's Dodge, which spun out of control making contact with the wall.

"It was 100 per cent my fault," said an apologetic Keselowski after finishing third, recovering from a lengthy stop for damage to the right front of his car caused by the incident.

"I guess I was racing a little too hard, slid up and just barely clipped him, but with where the bumpers are in these cars I cut his tyre down. I feel terrible about it, he had a great car, probably could have won the race and I kind of ruined his race. I've got to apologize to Justin and his team for that."

Harvick seemed to have the car to beat for the second time this year at Bristol, as he emerged up front after the incidents involving Keselowski and Busch. However, the Roush Fenway contingent dashed his hopes in the end, while Keselowski passed him for third on the final restart.

Matt Kenseth rounded out a great night for his team with fifth, recovering well from an early spin, which brought the caution flags out for the first time during the night.

The battle for the championship tightened up slightly due to Busch's misfortunes, but he still has a 248-point cushion over Edwards, while Keselowski ranks third - only 55 off from the former Nationwide Series champion.

Pos  Driver              Make        Laps
 1.  David Ragan         Ford        254
 2.  Carl Edwards        Ford        254
 3.  Brad Keselowski     Chevrolet   254
 4.  Kevin Harvick       Chevrolet   254
 5.  Matt Kenseth        Ford        254
 6.  Jason Leffler       Toyota      254
 7.  Clint Bowyer        Chevrolet   254
 8.  Michael Annett      Toyota      254
 9.  Paul Menard         Ford        254
10.  Michael McDowell    Dodge       254
11.  David Reutimann     Toyota      254
12.  Matt Carter         Ford        254
13.  Ryan Newman         Chevrolet   254
14.  Kenny Wallace       Chevrolet   253
15.  Mike Bliss          Chevrolet   253
16.  Jason Keller        Ford        253
17.  Steve Wallace       Chevrolet   253
18.  Benny Gordon        Ford        252
19.  Brendan Gaughan     Chevrolet   252
20.  Sean Murphy         Dodge       252
21.  Scott Wimmer        Chevrolet   251
22.  Ken Butler III      Chevrolet   251
23.  Tony Raines         Chevrolet   250
24.  Trevor Bayne        Toyota      250
25.  Eric McClure        Ford        249
26.  Derrike Cope        Dodge       236
27.  Justin Allgaier     Dodge       226
28.  Kyle Busch          Toyota      195
29.  Brad Coleman        Toyota      177
30.  Brian Scott         Toyota      162
31.  Peyton Sellers      Chevrolet   161
32.  Danny O'Quinn Jr    Chevrolet   137
33.  John Wes Townley    Ford        133
34.  Brad Teague         Chevrolet    79
35.  Reed Sorenson       Chevrolet    52
36.  Chase Austin        Chevrolet    51
37.  Kasey Kahne         Toyota       30
38.  Mark Green          Chevrolet    25
39.  Coleman Pressley    Toyota       23
40.  Kevin Lepage        Dodge        13
41.  Casey Atwood        Chevrolet    12
42.  Terry Cook          Chevrolet     3
43.  Johnny Chapman      Chevrolet     2
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