Monday, August 17, 2009


BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 16, 2009) – With only four races left before the Chase for the Championship, the goal each week is to finish in the top ten and pick up points. On Sunday at Michigan International Speedway David Reutimann was able to do both, finishing ninth in the CARFAX 400.

The weekend didn’t start out the way the Aaron’s team would’ve liked. The No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine did not handle well through all three practices and qualified 31st. But crew chief Rodney Childers and the Aaron’s crew continued to work on the Aaron’s Toyota and by the start of the race they were confident that Reutimann would be able to move up through the field.

At the drop of green flag, it appeared Childers was right. Just over 30 laps into the race, Reutimann and the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine had moved up from 31st to 20th. Through that time Reutimann was very quiet on the radio, which is normally a sign that his car is running well.

Finally on lap 52, Reutimann radioed in his approval on the current state of the Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota. “It’s good on the exit (of the turns), good on entry. We might need to work on the center of the turns.”

That gave Childers the confidence to take only two tires and make no adjustments on the pit stop at lap 55. The short stop moved Reutimann from 19th to 6th. The track position would prove valuable as Reutimann would continue to race in or just behind the top ten for most of the day.

By the next pit stop at lap 94, the Aaron’s Dream Machine was running too tight. “It’s getting tighter and tighter and tighter,” said Reutimann. To help Childers would call for four new tires and a handling adjustment to the left-rear.

Taking a little more time on this stop, Reutimann would restart 15th. But the adjustment helped ‘free up’ the Aaron’s Dream Machine and within a few laps he was back up to 10th.

As the race wore down, fuel mileage started to become an issue – as it normally does at Michigan. Teams up and down pit road were trying various pit-stop strategies in order to give their driver the best opportunity at a top finish.

Rodney Childers decided on lap 150 to make such a strategic move. While other teams were pitting following a short caution for rain, Childers told Reutimann to stay on the track. He decided that since most cars would have to pit again for fuel it was worth the gamble to stay out and move up to the lead position, picking up five precious points for leading a lap.

Just seven laps later the caution flag came out when the No. 12 of David Stremme spun in the middle of the track. This allowed Reutimann to pit for four new tires and 13 gallons of fuel. Unfortunately, it also cost him track position, putting him back to 20th on the restart.

“I’m sorry. I probably should have brought you in earlier for two tires and then we could’ve just come in for a gas-only stop this time,” said Childers.

But with an Aaron’s Dream Machine packed full of fuel and running well, Reutimann was confident he could make up the spots. On lap 164 he was up to 17th, then 14th by lap 177. As the race moved into the last ten laps Reutimann was charging while the leaders were doing their best to save fuel.

Finally, on the last lap Reutimann was able to move into ninth place, where he would finish.

“Great job,” said Childers. “I probably cost us a few positions (with the pit strategy). But from where this car was when we started the weekend to be able to get ninth … shows you how good this team is. Everyone worked hard to get us here.”

Reutimann echoed those sentiments, “We struggled since we unloaded and the day went a lot better than I think we anticipated it going. We ended up with a decent finish. I’m proud of my guys and we just kept working all we could and rolled the dice this morning. We knew we weren’t even going to be close the way we were so we had to try to do something. Rodney (Childers, crew chief) made the right call and the car was pretty good.”
Brian Vickers scored his second career victory as leader Jimmie Johnson was forced to stop for fuel with a little more than one lap to go. Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Sam Hornish complete the top five.

The ninth-place finish kept Reutimann and moved him slightly closer to the coveted 12th position in the points. Kyle Busch, with his 23rd-place finish, slid back two positions and now sits just ahead of Reutimann in 15th. “I am just trying to finish ahead of those guys (ahead of us),” said Reutimann. “That’s all we can do. It’s going to be tough, but we just have to go race hard.”

With only three races remaining before the Chase cut-off, Reutimann will look to make up more ground next week at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Sharpie 500 will be shown live on ESPN beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

1 comment:

  1. I've been praying for this team all year. The team is talented enough, only bad luck is keeping David out of the top twelve. With some good luck and other drivers not taking him out, I think he can make it.
    Thats been my saying all year "Don't wreck my guy!"