by Mark AumannNASCAR.com
|David Ragan cashes in at Vegas sports books at 30-to-1 with Daytona win|
So when leading at Daytona with five miles to go -- again -- the last thing Ragan wanted to hear on his radio was "don't forget to stay in your lane until you cross the start/finish line."
"I was on Matt Kenseth's radio on that last restart and his spotter mentioned it," Ragan said. "And I said, 'You don't have to tell me, so don't even say it.' That kind of lightened the mood. Everyone's so tense there at the end. You don't know what to do, you don't know what's going to happen, if we're going to have another green-white-checkered. I thought we might have been a little close on fuel.
"Yeah, that's one thing I did not have to be reminded of."
After giving away a shot at winning the Daytona 500 with an ill-advised maneuver on the next-to-last restart, you could call Saturday night a bit of retribution. Or redemption. Ragan doesn't care, as long as you call him winner of the 2011 Coke Zero 400.
And he's got big plans after winning his first Cup race. Or not.
"I guess I'll go back home and hang out [Sunday]," Ragan said. "I was planning on cutting some grass and cleaning up around the house. I've got an appearance in Atlanta on Monday, so we've got to work Monday. I guess I'll hang out, go over and see [crew chief Drew Blickensderfer] or go have some dinner somewhere.
"I might not leave Daytona. I might just stay down here for a few days."
It's been said that good things come to those who wait. Even though he won't be 26 until December, it seems like Ragan has been waiting for a very long time. His father, Ken, drove a family-owned car for 50 Cup starts in the '80s but failed to record a top-10 finish. And until Saturday night, David had gone 162 races without a win in NASCAR's premier series.
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Coke Zero 400 Results