Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reutimann Finishes 12th in Chicago

JOLIET, Ill. (July 11, 2009) - David Reutimann came into Saturday night’s race looking for a solid finish to keep him within sight of the all-important 12th place in the points standings. The No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota started out very loose and immediately Reutimann knew he would be in for a long night. But crew chief Rodney Childers and the Aaron’s crew kept working on the car and eventually were able to get it into racing shape, enabling Reutimann to pull out a 12th place finish in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

David Reutimann had a great qualifying run on Thursday to earn the ninth starting spot, but he knew the Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry probably wasn’t as good as it appeared. Soon into the race his fears were confirmed. “Really not good right now,” Reutimann radioed in.

By lap 35 Reutimann had slipped to 13th place as he battled a car that was “loose on exit,” meaning the rear end of the car would slide as he came out of the corners.

On lap 39 a caution came out, allowing the crew a chance to work on Aaron’s Dream Machine. Childers called for four tires and trackbar adjustments to work on the handling.

The changes seemed to work as Reutimann restarted in 14th after the caution and within ten laps was up to eighth. However, as the sun went down the track started to cool and the handling problems returned.

“I’m fighting this thing on exit,” said a frustrated Reutimann. “I’m spinning out everywhere. (The changes on the last pit stop) might have killed us.”

But the Aaron’s team kept plugging away at the problem, bringing in the Aaron’s Dream Machine each time they could and making major changes to the handling of the car.

Then on lap 211 things would start to go their way.

After spending most of the race caution-free, suddenly three cautions came within 26 laps of each other. This gave the team a lot of time to work on the Aaron’s Dream Machine and it responded. By lap 227 Reutimann was up to 11th.

Even a minor brush with the wall after being bumped by the No. 42 of Juan Pablo Montoya wasn’t enough to slow down the Aaron’s Dream Machine.

“This is the best it’s been by a bunch,” said Reutimann.

“You’re in 11th and moving fast,” responded Childers. “Go get ‘em.”

Unfortunately, another caution came out with six laps to go, hurting Reutimann’s momentum as the Aaron’s Dream Machine was better on the longer run. Restarting with just two laps to go, he was only able to capture a 12th place finish. Nonetheless, that was enough to keep Reutimann within 76 points of the Chase for the Championship and only 79 points behind 10th place Kyle Busch, who is a mere three points ahead of 12th place Matt Kenseth.

Mark Martin scored his fourth win of the season in holding off a late-charging Jeff Gordon. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin completed the top five.

Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has an off weekend before traveling to the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26, 2009. ESPN will provide the television coverage, beginning at 1 p.m.

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