Monday, June 29, 2009

REUTIMANN TURNS FUEL STRATEGY INTO TOP-5 FINISH AT NEW HAMPSHIRE


LOUDON, N.H. (June 28, 2009) - To say David Reutimann had an up-and-down day on Sunday would be an understatement. The Aaron’s Dream Machine started out the day on fire, quickly moving up into the top 10 and running steadily around the 8th position until getting involved in an accident on lap 175. The damage to the car would prevent it from running the way it did before, but crew chief Rodney Childers came up with a game plan. With one eye on the weather radar, Childers brought in the Aaron’s Dream Machine multiple times for fuel allowing the No. 00 to stay out longer at the end. This strategy would pay off as rain forced an early end to the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 and gave the Aaron’s Team an impressive fourth-place finish.

The Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry was among the fastest cars in practice, but rain canceled qualifying and forced Reutimann to start 14th based on points. From the drop of the green flag the No. 00 quickly moved up the scoreboard and into the top 10 on lap 13, where Reutimann would stay for most of the day. Running between 7th and 10th throughout most of the early runs, the team was confident they could get at least a top-5 finish out of the Aaron’s Dream Machine and possibly contend for a win.

Then disaster struck when the No. 1 of Martin Truex spun in the middle of the track. Reutimann did a masterful job of avoiding major contact, but did sustain minor damage to the rear quarterpanel. This would have a much worse affect on the car than Reutimann expected. Radioing to his crew, he exclaimed, “This thing is terrible. It’s loose everywhere … I can’t even turn the wheel.”

For the next 30-40 laps Reutimann would be forced to ride around in the 20s, not able to display the same speed he had earlier in the race.

“I thought we were going to be OK, but [after the wreck] we were just terrible. We couldn’t even remotely get back to where we were,” explained Reutimann.

But, as he’s done several times this year, Childers stayed calmed and planned a new method of attack. The team would continue to bring in the Aaron’s Dream Machine for stop after stop, packing it full of fuel in preparation for a long run at the end. Then, as the leaders started pitting for fuel over the last 50 laps, Reutimann was able to stay on the track. The team knew rain was on the way and was able to simply outlast the other competitors, moving all the way up to the fourth position.

“Rodney Childers said, ‘come on, let’s keep working on it and plugging fuel into it. I know some rain is coming,” said a relieved Reutimann after the race. “Again, Childers did a great job today and it ended up being a whole lot better than it looked like it was going to be for us. I really felt if we hadn’t gotten jammed up we could’ve definitely run a top-10, but I’m not going to complain about the way things went down.”

Joey Logano employed a similar tactic, staying out for the last segment and holding off Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch to pick up his first career win. Points leader Tony Stewart rounded out the top five.

The fourth-place finish moves David Reutimann within 12 points of 12th place. The race for the last spot in the Chase for the Championship is so close that Reutimann is only 17 points behind 10th-place Matt Kenseth. With nine races left every week will be of the utmost importance if Reutimann is to have a shot at contending for a championship this season.

Next week the Aaron’s crew heads to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 4th. TNT will provide the TV coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. As the first restrictor plate race under the new double-file restart rules, it’s sure to be an exciting night of racing.

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