Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reutimann Finishes Tough Sonoma Race in 31st

SONOMA, Calif. (June 22, 2009) – With little experience on road courses and only one previous race at Infineon Raceway, David Reutimann knew this was going to be a tough weekend. Qualifying in the 42nd position, Reutimann had but one goal for Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350: hit his marks and stay on the track. For most of the race he lived up to that mission and steadily moved up through the field, but he was ultimately involved in an incident at the end of the race and finished a disappointing 31st.

Starting the race 42nd, Reutimann and the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine would indeed be in for a long day. Throughout the early part of race the team would struggle with tire grip, causing the Aaron’s Dream Machine to slide in the corners. “Everybody in the world can pass me in the corners,” Reutimann radioed to his crew. “I have no rear grip!”

Then on lap 44, Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 car got into the back of Reutimann and spun him around. But Crew Chief Rodney Childers would take advantage of the low position by bringing in the Aaron’s Dream Machine for multiple pit stops and making numerous adjustments. All the while Reutimann dug deep and stuck to his goal, hitting his mark and doing his best to stay on track, eventually pushing the No. 00 as high as 18th.

On lap 96, a caution was thrown for debris on the track. Childers again called Reutimann into the pits for tires and fuel, getting the Aaron’s Dream Machine back out on the track in 36th.

With 14 laps to go, Reutimann rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He would pass car after car, getting all the way up into the mid-20s before another yellow flag came out at lap 108 when Scott Speed's car stopped in the middle of the track after being spun by Boris Said.

This pushed the race past its normal ending point and into a “Green-White-Checkered” situation where there is essentially a two-lap shootout to the end. Unfortunately, the chaos of the final restart and two-lap melee would not work to Reutimann’s advantage and he was caught in an incident, pushing him back to 31st.

“It’s ashamed,” said Childers. “We should have finished 25th, but someone got into the 00 and we ended up 31st.”

Kasey Kahne would hold on over the final laps to take the checkered flag ahead of Tony Stewart. Reutimann’s teammate Marcos Ambrose would finish third, followed by Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.

With back-to-back disappointing finishes the Aaron’s Team looks to rebound with the next three races at tracks where Reutimann had some of his strongest finishes in 2008: Loudon, Daytona and Chicago.

Next week they travel to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 on Sunday, June 28. TV coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. on TNT.

No comments:

Post a Comment