A close call for restrictor-plate maven David Ragan

(Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Both of David Ragan’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories have come at restrictor-plate tracks, and in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway, he was two laps away from a third win.

Driving the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, Ragan led the field to an overtime restart on lap 162, but as the cars approached Turn 3, Ragan realized too late that eventual race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a strong run to the inside.

Stenhouse made the pass and held on for the victory, as Ragan fell back to sixth at the finish.

“I’m certainly proud of our effort tonight,” Ragan said. “Our Shriners Hospital for Children Ford was fast. We had a great day on pit road. Our car was fast, and it drove really good. I give us an ‘A’ for the night. I missed my mark a bit coming to the white (overtime) line.

“I zigged when I should have zagged. It’s tough to block two or three lanes coming to the white flag. I missed it on that run. If I couldn’t win, I’m glad another Ford is in Victory Lane. Ricky’s a good guy and I’m proud for that team. I’m just disappointed that I couldn’t close the deal.”