Ragan, little guys front and center

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.


What we saw last Sunday at Talladega was nothing short of fantastic and phenomenal for Front Row Motorsports. I think it gives owner Bob Jenkins a renewed hope that his approach, plan and vision of where he wants to take his racing program are achievable.

He has concrete proof that the choices he has made have been the right ones.


Don't turn away — things happen fast at Talladega. PHOTOS

David Ragan is a great ambassador for our sport. He’s a great young man and has absolutely shown flashes of brilliance behind the wheel. He has always been regarded, even in his short NASCAR Sprint Cup career, as an excellent restrictor-plate driver.

He now has brought that talent to Front Row Motorsports and gives his team and the entire organization their first win in our sport's highest series. His teammate David Gilliland is a proven veteran of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, so it was just so cool to see the Davids pull off what they did last week by finishing first and second.

There is no denying both those teams as well as their third teammate, Josh Wise, are underfunded. By winning one at one of our most prestigious tracks in the fashion they did, it gives the organization a chance to go out and talk to potential sponsors and really have something now to hang their hat on.

Talladega was special. The other ancillary thing it does is it gives hope to all those other independent and smaller teams out there. Given the right circumstances, they too could possibly be David defeating Goliath.

Go down and look at the finishing order. It could easily be called “Independent Sunday.” We had four independent teams in the top 10. Go even a step further and look at the top 20, which is sprinkled with one-car operations that had really strong runs. To me it was refreshing.

Yes, we had the Big One like we always do there, but those cars were able to avoid it. When it mattered the most there at the end, they beat some of the premier drivers and teams in our sport today. I think it makes for a very exciting and compelling chapter in our history of NASCAR once again.

It was a big day for those independent teams showing that NASCAR has worked really hard with this new Gen-6 car to level the playing field across the board. It just once again gives hope to these smaller, underfunded teams that on, any given Sunday, magic can be produced.

That is nothing but great for our sport.

Tagged: David Ragan, David Gilliland

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