TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) – David Ragan earned his first NASCAR victory by passing Ryan Newman right before the finish line in the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ragan won for the first time in 196 starts – 85 in Nationwide – spanning all three of NASCAR’s top series.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Ragan said. “I didn’t know if it would come this weekend or not. A lot of fun. A lot of emotions. We’ve got 500 miles to do it again tomorrow.”

Newman started from the pole and led the field on a final restart for a two-lap sprint to the finish. He had his hands full with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who followed him bumper-to-bumper as he looked for a chance to pass.

But Newman and Earnhardt made contact when Earnhardt tried to dart around him on the final lap. Ragan used some momentum off a push from Joey Logano and squeezed by Newman for the win.

Earnhardt, who was shuffled back to fifth, waited for Ragan on pit road to congratulate him on the win.

Newman finished second, Logano was third. Tony Raines and Earnhardt rounded out the top five.

“It’s cool to get David that win,” Logano said. “He’s been trying for a while now.”

For car owner Jack Roush, it was his second consecutive Nationwide Series win. Greg Biffle’s victory in Phoenix last weekend was Roush’s 100th in the Nationwide Series.

Newman said if Earnhardt had stayed lower on the track, Ragan would have never had the opening he needed for the win.

“I know he’s been close a few times. And he won it in fashion,” Newman said. “It wasn’t given to him. He won it by 6 feet at Talladega. He did it with a little bit of help, and it wasn’t even his teammate.”

Ragan knew he was fortunate to have Logano’s help and to get drenched in soda by his crew in Victory Lane. He just couldn’t believe his dry spell had lasted from his trucks and Nationwide debuts in 2004. His first two Cup starts were in 2006.

“I’ve been thinking about it since race 1 and it’s probably gotten me in trouble before,” Ragan said. “I’ve been disappointed at times, but a lot of people have come up and said don’t force this thing.”

The race was marred late by cautions that made the overtime finish necessary.

Matt Kenseth was in a scary accident with 12 laps left when he lost control of the No. 16 car. The car skidded on its roof, flipped three times and caught fire before it settled in the grass. He made a quick escape from the car, as his pregnant wife watched, put on his hat and hopped in the ambulance.

Kenseth went to block Kyle Busch, and when he moved back to his line, Kenseth took a shot from his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ragan to spark the wreck.

Kenseth was able to smile after the accident.

“I was really just hanging on hoping I ended up rightside up,” Kenseth said.

Roush laughed when he said he was giving Kenseth the charred car as a souvenir.

There was one more caution with three laps left – yet another traditional wreck at Talladega inside five laps remaining – that took out Bobby Gerhart and Justin Allgaier.

The race was running caution free until Logano tapped Clint Bowyer from behind to bring out the yellow. Bowyer and Michael Waltrip both spun out.

Bowyer initially believed Waltrip was responsible for the accident, saying, “Every damn time, the same guy.” After an accident last season at Bristol, Clint Bowyer said over his radio: “Michael Waltrip is the worst driver in NASCAR, period.”

Waltrip, who was knocked out of the race, was agitated Saturday that Bowyer blamed him for the wreck.

“If he would watch the video, he would see that there was a man that drove over the top of me and spun me out,” Waltrip said. “Clint made a butt of himself at Bristol with stupid remarks. If he wants to continue to be an idiot, then we can play that game. I don’t mind. I just prefer to be nice to people.”

Logano apologized to Waltrip for the accident.

Earnhardt made a big blunder early when he missed his pit box on the first pit stop of the race. He didn’t quite fall a lap down, but dropped a long way back from the leaders.

Earnhardt, who was running his fourth Nationwide race this season, also missed a pit box at the Daytona 500, the first of many pit road mistakes this year.

“I didn’t even know where my pit stall was when I got on pit road,” he said. “There were a couple of cars in front of me and I never saw it.”

He hit the right stops the rest of the way and nearly came away with the win.

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