TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In one of the greatest upsets in NASCAR history, David Ragan, with drafting help from Front Row Motorsports teammate David Gilliland, passed Carl Edwards on the final lap Sunday, then held off Edwards and Gilliland to win the rain-delayed Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.
A wild nine-car melee with six laps to go resulted in an even wilder green-white-checkered flag finish that saw Ragan and Gilliland come from well back in the pack to surprise everyone, including superstars Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Edwards, who were battling hard for the lead.
Kenseth was the leader on the final restart, but Edwards got by him on the white flag lap, only to see Ragan and Gilliland come roaring by on the last lap.
Edwards tried to block, but Ragan and Gilliland had too much steam for Edwards as they shot by to move to the top two. Edwards rallied on the outside, but Ragan blocked him as they raced through the tri-oval. Edwards and Gilliland then raced side-by-side for second as Ragan earned his second Sprint Cup win. His first came at Daytona in 2011 while driving for Roush Fenway Racing.
Gilliland edged Edwards for second, with Michael Waltrip and Johnson completing the top five. The second five was composed of Regan Smith, Martin Truex Jr., Kenseth, Scott Speed and Aric Almirola.
Ragan admitted his victory was "a true David vs. Goliath moment. I'm kind of a low-key guy, but man, I don't know how to describe all of this.
"I have a great teammate. David Gilliland gave me a great push. I owe him a lot. I'll definitely buy him lunch this week or something."
"On that last restart, I was pushing the 43 (Almirola) and I wanted to stay with the 43, but the 20 (Kenseth) had been the class of the field all day, so I decided stay with Matt, and then coming off turn two, he was blocking everyone and I had a great run. The 38 (Gilliland) pushed me like there was no tomorrow."
Gilliland said he was being pushed by Waltrip.
"He gave me a great shove, and I had some good momentum and got hooked up with my teammate," Gilliland said. "I just stay glued to his bumpee and we worked our way up through there and came home 1-2 for Front Row Motorsports.
"I can't thank Bob Jenkins for sticking with us and doing this deal -- probably 80-90 percent out of his own pocket. It's just a special day."
Edwards said, "I was doing everything I could. David did everything but wreck me. He did everything right, and I still thought he was gonna wreck when he almost hit the apron and he wiggled coming to the line.
"We were gonna win this race if it rained (it out), and then I thought we were still gonna win this thing, and it just wasn't meant to be.
"It's awesome for David Ragan."
Edwards was the man out front when the race was stopped after 125 laps due to rain.
The red flag lasted three hours and 46 minutes.
Kenseth dominated the race both before and after the rain, leading a whopping 142 laps, but he was not able to hold onto the lead when it counted.
The green-white-checkered flag finish, which extended the race to 192 laps, was set up when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made it four wide as he tried to squeeze between the wall and J.J. Yeley. Stenhouse clipped Yeley, turning him into Kurt Busch, who flipped over in the air before landing on the top of Ryan Newman.
Busch and Newman were both OK, but both of them were quite upset by what they called "wild, crazy racing."
During the ensuing yellow flag, Kenseth complained to NASCAR that it was too dark to continue, but NASCAR felt otherwise.
The top five on the restart were Kenseth, Edwards, Johnson, Smith and Stenhouse.
Kenseth got the jump as the green came back out, but as he switched back and forth between the low line and the high line, Edwards dived below him to grab the top spot.
And then seemingly out of nowhere came the charging duo of Ragan and Gilliland. They were carrying so much speed that none of the top three could hold them off.
Ragan, who was released by Roush Fenway Racing after the 2011 season because of a lack of funds to keep his No. 6 car afloat, was picked up by Bob Jenkins and his Front Row Motorsports team.
Ragan's best finish during his first year with Front Row was fourth in the second Talladega race.
After missing four races because of a compressed fracture in his back, Denny Hamlin started the race before being relieved by Brian Vickers during the first caution flag on lap 25.
However, Vickers' No. 11 was one of 13 cars caught up in the infamous "Big One" at Talladega on lap 42 when Kyle Busch clipped Kasey Kahne in the right rear as they battled for second place behind Kenseth.
"You can't push with these cars (the new Gen-6 machines)," Kahne said. "We learned that at Daytona, but (Kyle Busch) was pushing me and spun me into the wall. "
Kyle Busch agreed that he caused the accident.
"I got into the back of the 5 and was going to go to his outside and he moved up. I didn't expect it," Kyle Busch said. "I hate I caused a helluva mess for everyone. It's way too early to be making those kind of moves. "
The wreck knocked out potential winners Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart as well as Kahne and Kyle Busch.