Friday, December 04, 2009

East Champ Truex Commits To NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown

Three-Time 2009 Winner To Make Irwindale Debut

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 24, 2009) – NASCAR Camping World Series East Champion Ryan Truex is the first driver to confirm his intention to compete in the 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Jan. 29-30 in Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.).

“I'm really excited about the Showdown,” Truex said. “You're racing against some of the best drivers in the country. All of those guys can drive and they have the records to prove it. If you win the Showdown, you can say you've beaten the best of the best.”

The seventh running of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, which brings together the top racers from across North America for the ”Daytona 500 of short-track racing,” will be highlighted by the 225-lap Camping World Series all-star race. Each race winner during the 2009 Camping World Series season is eligible for a protected starting spot, as are the 2009 champions from each of NASCAR’s six regional touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.

Truex, a development driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, registered three wins and eight top 10s during the 2009 Camping World Series East season. He became just the second driver in series history, along with Joey Logano, to win the title and Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

Logano followed up his 2007 championship season by winning the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, something Truex hopes to replicate.

“I've never raced at Irwindale before, so that adds another level of excitement for me,” Truex said. “Everyone talks about how great the track is, so I can't wait to get the NAPA Auto Parts Camry out there and see what we can do.”

The No. 00 Toyota will have a new look for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown as team owner Michael Waltrip wanted to do something special for the event. The all-white car Truex ran during the 2009 season will be transformed to blue for Irwindale, with a paint scheme that NAPA and MWR are currently designing.

Truex, from Mayetta, N.J., plans to return to the Camping World Series East in 2010 to defend his title. MWR also intends to enter him in select NASCAR Nationwide Series races during the second half of the 2010 season. Truex does not turn 18 until next March.

In addition to eligible 2009 race winners and series champions, the starting lineup for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will be determined through time trials, limited provisionals for Camping World Series regulars, and the last-chance "Open" race that provides drivers one final chance to make the grid.

The 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown schedule also includes 100-lap Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model and 75-lap Late Model races. Both nights of racing will air on SPEED.

For more information, contact:
Jason Cunningham, NASCAR Public Relations

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Michael Waltrip gives EZ Grill's away on the Trackside Live set.

A 15th-Place Finish at Homestead Rounds Out Reutimann’s Successful 2009 Season

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 22, 2009) – David Reutimann came into the weekend looking for a solid run at Homestead-Miami Speedway to cap-off his breakout 2009 season. While the team struggled with the handling of the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine for much of the race, Reutimann was able to pull off a respectable 15th-place finish in the Ford 400.

Starting 22nd after a disappointing qualifying run, Reutimann’s Aaron’s Dream Machine immediately flexed its muscles. Within the first 20 laps the No. 00 Toyota Camry had move up ten spots to 12th.

However, Reutimann soon radioed in to his crew chief Rodney Childers that his car was, “real loose on exit (of the turns).”

By lap 45, Reutimann was running 11th, but the problems were getting worse. “I need help with forward bite and center off,” pleaded Reutimann.

On lap 51, Childers called his driver to pit road for new tires and a handling adjustment that he hoped would correct the loose condition on the Aaron’s Dream Machine.

However, Reutimann soon reported that the car wasn’t much better than before. Luckily, a caution flag waved on lap 81, allowing the team to bring in the No. 00 for more changes. This time Childers called for both wedge and trackbar changes.

The changes initially appeared to be working, as Reutimann moved from 15th up to 11th by the time another caution came out on lap 101. Bringing in the Dream Machine for another stop, the team again made trackbar and wedge adjustments.

The third caution was brought out just a few laps later on lap 108, when teammate Marcos Ambrose brushed the wall.

Childers opted to pit again and take on four fresh tires. But with only a few laps on their tires many teams chose to only take two tires, which caused the Aaron’s Dream Machine to lose several spots.

After listening to his crew chief apologize for the loss of track position, Reutimann calmly radioed in, “That’s OK. Get me fixed up and I’ll drive back by those guys.”

Unfortunately, while he was indeed able to regain the lost track position the drive up the scoring chart was short-lived.

The No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine was great at the beginning of a run, allowing Reutimann to easily pass competitors. But every time, the handling would start to go away within a dozen laps and he wasn’t able to maintain his forward march.

The team tried to make major changes to the Dream Machine on the last three pit stops, but each stop the extra time on pit road cost Reutimann more spots on the track than his car was able to make up before the handling went away.

Ultimately, Reutimann and the Aaron’s team would have a settle for 15th-place finish.

“We’re a little disappointed with the finish,” said Reutimann after the race. “The car was just off. We chased it, but were never able to get it running the way it should’ve. But I’ve got to thank my guys. They’ve done a great job all season and lately have been doing an awesome job in the pits. We’ll take a little break, then regroup and come back strong at Daytona.”

Denny Hamlin was able to score his fourth win of the season, beating out Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson. However, the celebration belonged to Johnson, who held on to the points lead with his fifth-place finish and vaulted himself into the history books with his fourth consecutive championship.

With two poles, ten top-tens, five top-fives plus the win at Charlotte, Reutimann locked up the 16th spot in the final point standings. After such a successful 2009 season, it’s time for a well-deserved break before the No. 00 Aaron’s team begins preparing for the Daytona 500 in February, David Reutimann’s 100th start in the Sprint Cup series.

Until then fans can continue to receive NASCAR news and promotions by following Aaron’s Sports on Twitter at or by becoming at fan at

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waltrip Ends Season With 30th-Place Finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Michael Waltrip closed out his final full season of driving the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota with a 30th-place result in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The two-time Daytona 500 champion finished 32nd in the owner points standing. It guarantees his new driver, Martin Truex Jr., a starting spot in the first five races of the 2010 season.

“Unfortunately we struggled all weekend with our NAPA Toyota,” said Waltrip who qualified for Sunday’s race in 39th position. “It’s a little sad. We just kept working on it. My crew chief Gene Nead made some good calls and we were able to stay on the lead lap until the last lap or so. I am happy that we hung with it like we did, but sad at the result.”

The opening laps of the race saw the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota run extremely loose. The first opportunity to pit came under green flag conditions on lap 50. Waltrip entered the pits in 34th position for a service that included four fresh tires, wedge and the addition of fuel. He returned to the track to find the car still on the loose side. The challenge caused Waltrip to lose a lap to the leader, Kevin Harvick on circuit 61.

Waltrip’s teammate Marcos Ambrose, who passed Jimmie Johnson to take the lead for four circuits, brought out of the first caution after a tire went flat. The NAPA pit crew used the unfortunate opportunity to work on the car. They made wedge, air pressure, and packer adjustments. The No. 55 returned to the race in 38th position.

Crew chief Gene Nead kept Waltrip out on the track after the second yellow flag was thrown on lap 101. The strategy put the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota back on the lead lap. The strategy paid off as the race was slowed eight laps later. During the caution, Waltrip was on pit road for the addition of spring rubbers on lap 110. The race went back to green on lap 112 with Waltrip in 36th and Kevin Harvick in the top spot.

At the halfway mark, fans were treated to a heated battle between Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Stewart. It resulted in two on-track altercations. The first saw Montoya having to go behind the wall for repairs after Stewart caved in his fender. It cut down Montoya’s tire and sent him in the wall to bring out a caution on lap 116. Then as Waltrip was pitting with the frontrunners, several cars got bunched up when entering pit road. Elliott Sadler did not see what was happening and crashed hard into the back of the No. 43. Waltrip sustained minor damage to the nose of his car. The NAPA team fixed the nose and made a toe change on laps 118 and 120. Waltrip returned to the track in 32nd place.

The next 20 laps saw the NAPA Toyota respond to the changes. This time is was extremely tight. Another chance for Nead to get a better balance for Waltrip happened on lap 155 after Montoya spun out Stewart. The driver of the No. 42 was cited for rough driving and penalized two laps. The rest of the field was on pit road for service. The NAPA crew removed spring rubbers and changed the track bar and wedge. Waltrip restarted in 31st and Denny Hamlin was the new leader.

Two more services for Waltrip were completed on laps 196 and 216. The NAPA Toyota was extremely loose on the final run, but Waltrip liked the feel of it in comparison to the tight condition. The No. 55 driver was able to pick up one more position before Hamlin took the checkered flag to claim his fourth victory of the season. During Hamlin’s victory lane interview, he congratulated Waltrip for his 25 seasons in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and appreciated the positive influence he has had on his career.

Meanwhile, the night’s biggest winner was Jimmie Johnson who finished fifth. He made history by winning his fourth straight championship. It also put his car owner, Rick Hendrick in the records books. Hendrick is the first owner to have three drivers finish in the top-three positions in the points standings.

The top-10 finishers of the race were Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and AJ Allmendinger. As for Waltrip’s teammates, David Reutimann and Ambrose, they finished 15th and 35th.

Crew chief Pat Tryson who will lead the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS team next season guided his team to a fourth-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings. Truex’s top-10 finish at Homestead resulted in his 23rd-place finish in the standings.

The NAPA AUTO PARTS team will now focus on getting ramped up for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. All the action begins at Daytona Speedweeks for the 52nd running of the Daytona 500 on February 14. Both Waltrip and Truex will be behind the wheels of NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyotas. The Great American Race will air on FOX, MRN and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

Unofficial Results:

Lap By Lap:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ambrose reflects on first full season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heading into season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Marcos Ambrose has his backpack packed for his journey from America to Launceston, Tasmania, Australia as soon as the checkered flag falls on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For Ambrose, his season has somewhat exceeded his JTG-Daugherty Racing team’s expectations as they currently sit 18th in the championship standings with four top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

“On Monday after Homestead, I have a 3:50 p.m. flight to Australia and I can’t wait to get home because my family is already there,” Ambrose said. “It’s just been a great year for the No. 47 Little Debbie® JTG-Daugherty Racing team in the Cup Series. We didn’t expect that we would be in position to finish in the top 20 in points because we were just hoping to finish in the top 30,” Ambrose said. “We have exceeded our expectations and we have been very competitive. We have seven top-10 finishes, but were so close to having more. We had at least three 11th-place finishes that with a bit of luck would have been top-10s. But, it doesn’t really matter. We’ve done plenty this year.”

Ambrose’s flashes of brilliance occurred at a variety of tracks, not just road courses. In addition to finishing third at Infineon Raceway and second at Watkins Glen International, he finished fourth at Talladega Superspeedway, 10th and third at Bristol Motor Speedway, sixth at both Pocono Raceway and Daytona International Speedway. In 35 starts, he’s racked up 15 top-15 finishes.

“Our team is growing and our results this year prove that,” Ambrose said. “I’m a lot more confident as a driver and secure in myself that I can do the job. All those things will play a part. You can’t guarantee you are going to move forward. It’s a challenging world we live in. We are very focused on understanding that not every step is going to be forward and sometimes you may take a step backwards.”

The Australian driver knows there are no guarantees in this business, but he feels his JTG-Daugherty Racing team will be able to build a strong case for a spot in the Chase in 2010.

“We want to win a race and make the Chase,” Ambrose said. “Sure, it’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s achievable with our No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota if everything goes well. I think we are worthy of it and can do it. We know we gave away 300 points before the Chase started and we were about 200 points behind in the end.”

Before he looks ahead to 2010, Ambrose is ready to tackle Homestead-Miami Speedway with his No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota and close the book on the season. Last year, Ambrose completed 222 laps and finished 42nd after sustaining damage to his machine in the 267-lap event at the 1.5-mile oval.

“We were in a crash," Ambrose said. "I’m hoping to end the season on a better note this time. I'm ready for a fresh start. It’s been a long year and I’m pretty tired. I’m not starting to wilt, but I feel the effects of the season. I’m looking forward to refreshing my mind and body by getting back into training and forgetting about going in circles for a while. I’m looking forward to joining my family in Australia and starting a new year in NASCAR.”

Live coverage of the 267-lap event on Sunday, November 22nd begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Michael Waltrip Racing Wraps Two-Day Test with Salo and Trulli

Michael Waltrip Racing officials were pleased with the outcome of a two-day test with Formula One drivers Jarno Trulli and Mika Salo behind the wheel of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, Florida.

"Both Jarno and Mika have done really well," said Steve Hallam, Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing and a 27-year Formula One veteran. “They have both delivered competitive lap times. They bring a different perspective to our ears. We are able to hear about the cars in a different way. Also, Trevor (Bayne) being here is very useful because he is articulate and able to relate their experiences to reality. It has been a really positive test and has brought good value to us."

"They wanted to test our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and see what our sport is all about," Waltrip said. "They did an outstanding job and were turning some pretty quick times. We were just as serious about this two-day test as they were. We brought down an entire crew. Toyota, our team and engineers fully supported this effort. We were 100% committed to giving it our all just like we would at any of our tests.”

On Tuesday, Diamond-Waltrip NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Trevor Bayne climbed into the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota seat to shake down the car before Salo took to the wheel for the first time during his one day of testing. For over two years, Salo searched for an opportunity to test a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Ironically, Salo knew MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman for a little over a year, but what he did not know was that he co-owned multiple NASCAR teams until recently.

“Thanks to Rob, I was able to test a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car for the first time in my life,” said Salo, who turned 208 laps in the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. “I was very comfortable out there and had a lot of fun. I was quick and I know that if I had today to test, I would be a lot quicker. Now, I want to have 42 other cars around me and see what it is really like.”

“I have never raced on an oval before and New Smyrna is a good place to do my first run,” Salo said. “I would be scared if we were at a high speed circuit. I was just trying to get the feel of the car with the changes they were making. At the beginning, I was running to get comfortable. The car is a lot heavier and has a lot of power. I was comfortable in the car and that’s basically what I wanted. They made different changes. They changed springs, bars and so forth. We tried different things so I could understand what everything does.”

As Salo tested, Trulli observed. Midday the two were surprised when they had a visit from one of the locals - - Mark Martin.

“All of a sudden, Mark Martin was here at New Smyrna,” Salo said. “He sat down in front of me and I listened. I learned some things from him during his time here. I also learned some things from Michael, David (Reutimann) and Marcos (Ambrose) when I attended the race at Phoenix International Raceway.”

Trulli turned his first laps Wednesday morning. Climbing out of the car for the first time he said he was shocked by the differences between Formula One and NASCAR.

"In the beginning, it was a big shock for me," said Trulli, who turned nearly 300 laps today. "It was the first time in my life I was leaving pit road in a closed cockpit. I needed to get used to that feeling of not having my head out. I'm used to being in a stiff car on the ground. The Cup car moves around a lot. It requires skill, feeling and understanding. There are so many different factors and you need to be a smart person to be aware of what is happening around you."

By the one hour lunch break, Trulli had a better feel for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry.

"Running here at New Smyrna is easy and very exciting, but racing here might be difficult," Trulli said. "It would take a lot of experience. I prefer a high speed circuit, but at least I have a taste and know the feeling. Today, was important for me to understand what I have to do to get better. In driving the car, I must understand the car. I have to trust it. The center and exit of the corner are important. Braking is crucial here."

Trulli is thankful to MWR and Toyota for the opportunity and admitted his interest was sparked when Juan Pablo Montoya made his move to NASCAR.

"I didn't know about NASCAR until Juan Pablo Montoya made his move," Trulli said. "The world has changed and everyone is looking at different Series. I haven't signed with anyone yet and I've talked to teams. My door is open right now."

MWR benefited just as much from the test as did Salo and Trulli.

"We have two enormously talented drivers that showed interest in trying NASCAR," said Ty Norris, Vice President and General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing. "MWR wanted to participate because we are always interested in recruiting talent and we have a great desire to expand to a fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup team in the near future. We know the talent pool currently racing in NASCAR, so it is of great interest to us to evaluate talent from other racing disciplines. It just adds another international element to our organization.”

NAPA Racing Press Box featuring Michael Waltrip - Homestead-Miami Speedway

Heading into Homestead-Miami, what do you expect to see when it comes to the Chase?

“It is a two-man battle between Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin. I ran across Jimmie Johnson at Texas and congratulated him on the year he has had. I told him that I was in his corner as being one of the greatest race car drivers to ever be in one of these cars. I basically congratulated him because the championship was his. Then on lap 3, he crashed. I thought Jimmie might think I jinxed him. Seriously though, Jimmie needs to finish 25th or better to win his fourth championship. If he has an accident, he can’t finish 25th or better nowadays. It’s going to be a great race and as we have seen, anything can happen. Regardless, I stand by what I have said about Jimmie. What we saw last week in Phoenix was amazing. The 48 team bounced back from adversity to win the race. It is a sign of a true champion.”

What is your opinion of the track?

“The track is a little strange and strange means good. I guess you could say I fit in nicely there. You almost go into the corner and run it deep, but then you let off and sort of search for a groove. There are a lot of things that go on at that track. You never feel like you have a 100 percent handle on things at Homestead. I talked to some of the other drivers and they feel the same way. That’s why I think you see a lot of drivers roll in right next to the fence. It is something they can predict. Once they get up there, it is pretty much the same banking. You go in low and there are some transitions that make driving the corner more challenging than normal.”

MWR is coming off a week of more announcements. You must be proud.

“MWR had a lot of good news to announce at Phoenix. NAPA was certainly instrumental in what happened since they are the cornerstone sponsor of my organization. Best Western announced its extension with us through 2010. Toyota also signed an extension with MWR to continue the support of our cars for multiple years. I want to thank NAPA for signing the extension earlier this season and getting Martin Truex Jr. It was really big for our young company. It helped us grow with the addition of TUMS and extend our partnerships. I am really thankful to NAPA and I look forward to more great things to come.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

* NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will start in his 759th NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he competes in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

* He will start in his ninth race at the 1.5-mile track. His best start is eighth and best finish is second while driving the No. 15 NAPA car on Nov. 11, 2001.

* During his career at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Waltrip has earned one top-five and one top-10 finish. His average start is 29th and average finish is 30th.

* Waltrip has completed 1873 of 2140 laps (87.5%) at the track and has led a total of two laps in competition.

* Entering this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, the NAPA team is 32nd in the owner points standings and is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s race.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

David Reutimann - Homestead-Miami Speedway Preview

Fan question of the week: Jerry from Tampa, FL asks, 'With all your success this year and great potential for MWR in 2010, do you wish the next season would start right away or are you looking forward to the break?'

"After a long season a break is welcomed by everyone that works in NASCAR. Everybody gets a chance to rest, take vacation and visit with family. But this season was great and it really shows us what we can accomplish in 2010, so I’m sure it won’t take long until I’m ready to get back to the track. I know we have the ability to do even more in 2010 than we did in 2009."

With the level of competition in NASCAR these days, how much of an off-season do you really get?

"The testing ban gives us some extra time and the holidays are usually spent with family or on vacation, but once 2010 rolls around it's time to get back to it before Daytona. There are always sponsor-related needs such as photo shoots or commercials, and media engagements to attend."

Why is Homestead a popular track among drivers?

"Well, I know why it’s one of my favorite tracks. The first reason is because it's located in my home state of Florida, which means I'll have more fans, friends and family cheering me on. Second is because I’ve had some success at the track. I've won three poles there, including my first in the Sprint Cup Series last year."

What's challenging about racing at Homestead?

"It's a unique track - it's banked in some parts and flat in others. The challenge is keeping up with the changes in the track throughout the race. We start in the afternoon and the race ends as the night begins, so the track will change and that can affect your handling if you’re not prepared."

What are your goals for this final weekend of 2009?

"Nothing would be better than putting the Aaron's Dream Machine in Victory Lane. I know Rodney (Childers) and the guys are bringing a good Aaron's Dream Machine, so I'm confident that we can run strong this weekend and end on a very high note."

2009 NSCS Points Standings: David Reutimann sits 16th, 207 points behind Kyle Busch in 13th place – the highest non-Chase driver.

Chassis Information: The No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine for this week is chassis No. 625. This Aaron's Dream Machine has seen action in four races, including the recent race at Texas, where David ran in the top ten throughout the race. Its best finish was 4th at Las Vegas.

Race Information: This weekend the Sprint Cup Series makes its final stop of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Race coverage for the Ford 400 begins at 2:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 22 on ABC.

Monday, November 16, 2009


AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 15, 2009) – David Reutimann spent much of Sunday’s Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 frustrated with the way his Aaron’s Dream Machine was performing. But he and the team displayed the never-give-up attitude that has helped them establish the series’ longest streak without a DNF, and by the end of the race Reutimann was able to catch the leaders and score an impressive top-ten finish at Phoenix International Raceway.

On Friday, Reutimann wasn’t happy with his qualifying effort of 15th. He thought his No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine had the potential for more if they could get the handling fixed. Unfortunately, when the green flag dropped on Sunday the issues continued.

He was initially able to move up from his 15th-place starting position to 13th, but on lap 13 he reported that the car was “loose on entry, loose on exit” – meaning that the backend of the car would start to slide going into and coming out of the corner.

Within another ten laps Reutimann was starting to lose positions. “We’re in really big trouble here,” said the concerned driver.

He would slide back as far as the 18th position before the team was able to make its first pit stop on lap 71. As Reutimann was preparing to come in for the stop he radioed instructions to his crew chief Rodney Childers, “Forget the entry. I need a ton of help in the center (of the turns) and I can’t get up off the corner.”

The adjustments made in the pits immediately started to pay dividends as Reutimann began to move up, getting as high as 11th by lap 96.

“The exit is a hundred percent better,” said Reutimann. But he cautioned, “When (the handling) goes away, it goes away in like three laps.”

When the caution flag came out for debris on lap 114, Childers summoned his driver to the pits for another wedge adjustment and four new tires. Reutimann entered the pits in 12th place, but the Aaron’s crew knocked out the stop in 12.9 seconds, gaining their driver three positions and moving the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine into the top-ten.

The radio from the car went silent for a little while as Reutimann maintained a steady pace within reach of the top-ten. But on lap 145 the frustrated driver complained, “It’s back to driving (poorly) again.” Several laps later he went further. “We might have done too much. It hasn’t been good since the restart.”

Luckily, a caution quickly came out, giving Childers the chance to make some adjustments to the Aaron’s Dream Machine. Realizing the over-adjustments made on the earlier stops, Childers decided to undo the wedge adjustment made on the last pit stop and instead made a change to the air pressure in the tires.

The changes weren’t quite enough as Reutimann explained on lap 200, “Can we just concentrate on one thing? I’d like (help in) the center if I can get it.”

So when the driver of the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine brought his car down pit road for the team’s final stop on lap 240, Childers ordered four new tires and a trackbar adjustment.

Restarting 15th with about 70 laps to go, Reutimann began his final surge towards the checkered flag. Slowly and methodically, the Aaron’s Dream Machine began slipping past the competitors. On lap 258 Reutimann moved into 12th place. On lap 276 he passed Kyle Busch for 11th.

Finally, with just eight laps left, Reutimann made it past teammate Marcos Ambrose to get back into the top-ten where he would finish.

“We got behind in the middle point of the race there and then we got pretty good until we over adjusted and got it bad,” explained Reutimann after the race. “There towards the end, we got it decent again. We’ll have to try a little different approach next time when we come back. The pit stops were awesome. The guys did a great job today, so I’m really happy with that.”

Points leader Jimmie Johnson rebounded from a horrible race in Texas last week to pick up the win. Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr. round out the top-five.

Next weekend the Sprint Cup series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the 2009 season. ABC brings the television coverage of the Ford 400 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on November 22nd.

Bayne, Aaron’s Racing Team Take Top-15 Finish at Phoenix

Event/Date: Able Body Labor 200/Nov. 14, 2009

Venue: Phoenix International Raceway – Avondale, Ariz.

Starting Position: 37th

Finishing Position: 15th

Avondale, Ariz. (Nov. 14, 2009) – Trevor Bayne and the No. 99 Aaron’s team overcame a poor qualifying effort to finish 15th in the Able Body Labor 250 at Phoenix International Raceway.

While the end result just missed the mark in terms of expectations, the 15th-place effort earned the Knoxville, Tenn., native his seventh top-15 finish in only 15 starts.

On Saturday morning, Bayne announced he would drive the No. 99 NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota fulltime in 2010 for the newly-formed Diamond-Waltrip Racing.

The good news off the track didn’t transform to good news on the track when Bayne struggled in qualifying and started the 200-lap event 37th. However, the young driver didn’t let the poor qualifying effort discourage him as he picked up nine spots before the first caution flag flew on lap seven.

He hit pit road two laps later for four fresh Goodyears, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment to help with the tight-handling conditions. The 18-year-old driver restarted 33 on lap 12.

Bayne began picking his competitors off one-by-one and by lap 37 he was listed in the 13th spot. His forward progress came to a halt when tight-handling conditions returned to the No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota.

The second caution flag of the day flew on lap 77 for debris. Veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter summoned his driver to pit road for another round of adjustments to hopefully cure the tight-handling conditions. A solid pit stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed Bayne to restart 10th on lap 83.

The rookie driver worked his way up to the ninth before the tight-handling conditions returned. Over the final 100 laps Bayne raced in and around the top 15. The young phenom crossed the finish line 15th in his final start for 2009.

Carl Edwards grabbed his fifth NNS victory followed by Kevin Harvick, Reed Sorrenson, Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski.

Next weekend, NASCAR’s junior circuit will close out the 2009 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

ESPN2’s live coverage of the 300-lap event will begin Saturday, November 21 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Qualifying will air live the same day beginning at 11:30 a.m. EST on SPEED. MRN and Sirius XM Satellite Radio will also provide live updates of time trials.


“We got to pass a lot of cars, that’s for sure. We started 37th after qualifying and going out first, that killed us. I love this race track. It’s one of the most fun places I’ve been just because you get to drive it. It’s not riding around holding the steering wheel. We had a pretty good car at the beginning. We followed the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 29 (Clint Bowyer) all the way up through the field. Once we got to about 12th we leveled off with everybody. We kept trying to adjust it and made some good adjustments and we made some bad adjustments and unfortunately some bad adjustments were at the very end. We had to try something, we were maintaining where we were at and we needed to try moving forward. We just lost too much rear grip and fell back a couple extra spots. I think if we would have left it alone we could have stayed in the top 10, but you know you have to try stuff. You have to keep moving forward because you know everyone else is going to be. It was a good run, I guess. Good job in the pits. The car was halfway clean until about 20 (laps) to go and then they got in the right side of us in the wreck in turn four. It was a decent day and we learned a lot.”