Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Late-Race Wreck Ends Strong Run For Reutimann

Long Pond, PA (Aug. 3, 2009) - David Reutimann started the weekend off as the driver on the cusp. Just 68 points outside the top 12, Reutimann was really excited about coming back to Pocono where he finished third back in June. For much of Monday’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Reutimann ran in the top ten and bettering his previous third-place finish seemed like a real possibility. Then on lap 174 the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine was bumped from behind by the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin, spinning Reutimann into his teammate Marcos Ambrose and ruining a car capable of a top-five finish. Instead Reutimann had to settle for a frustrating 29th.

At the end of final practice on Saturday the Aaron's Dream Machine was not the fastest on the track, but it was one of the most consistent. "We are better on the long runs, able to run consistent lap times for longer periods of time," said Reutimann.

With qualifying rained out the field was set by points, putting the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the 13th starting spot. From there Reutimann would start to slide back as expected because the long-run set up, but soon the Aaron’s Dream Machine would come around and start to move back up through the field.

Throughout the early stages of the race, Reutimann reported to his crew chief that the car was having trouble turning, especially in Turn 3. However, the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota was able to hold its own and maintain a mid-teens position.

It was near the halfway point in the race when Crew Chief Rodney Childers and the Aaron’s Crew really started to tune in the Aaron’s Dream Machine and suddenly Reutimann was on the move. Deciding to take a little different pit stop strategy from the race leaders, Childers brought his driver into the pits a little later than expected.

The move allowed Reutimann to lead a lap, picking up precious bonus points. It also put Reutimann back in the pack, but a few laps later, on lap 97, the gamble would pay off when a caution came out. While the others came in for pit stops the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine was able to stay out and move up to the second position.

Though the car wasn’t quite where he wanted it to be, Reutimann was running strong in the top ten. Each time the team would pit or cars behind him would gamble on pit road causing the Aaron’s Dream Machine to slide back in the pack, Reutimann would quickly drive back through the traffic.

The No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine seemed destined for a top-five finish, perhaps even the chance to challenge for the win.

Then, on lap 174 disaster struck. With Reutimann running side-by-side with teammate Ambrose, Hamlin in the No. 11 drove up quickly on the back of the Aaron’s Dream Machine bumping Reutimann and sending him spinning across the track into the No. 47 of Ambrose.

The Aaron’s Crew would work valiantly to repair the damage, but both front fenders were heavily damaged. The Aaron’s Dream Machine was never the same and with less than 25 laps left there wasn’t time to work on it more extensively. Reutimann was eventually relegated to a 29th-place finish.

Denny Hamlin was able to hold for the win, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kasey Kahne.

The disappointing finish moves Reutimann from 13th to 16th in the points, now 121 points back from 12th place.

Next week the Aaron’s team regroups and heads to Watkins Glen for the second road course of the Sprint Cup season. ESPN provides television coverage of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, beginning at 1 p.m.

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