Monday, September 14, 2009

Reutimann Battles Ill-Handling Car, Finishes 20th at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 12, 2009) - Knowing the chances of making the Chase were slim, David Reutimann's plan for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 was to drive hard and maybe play spoiler for the Chase contenders by picking up a win. Unfortunately, the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine handled poorly all race, relegating Reutimann to a 20th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night.

On Friday, Reutimann qualified the Aaron's Dream Machine 23rd and believed that the car was much better than that effort. But when the green flag dropped he would discover that the No. 00 Toyota wasn't ready to perform as well as he hoped. For most of the race the car wasn't able to accelerate out of the turns, preventing Reutimann from easily passing cars on the short track.

Over the course of the race, Reutimann fought behind the wheel of the Aaron's Dream Machine as the team worked to get the car dialed in. Each pit stop the crew would make changes to the handling and chassis, but each time the adjustments made the car better for about ten laps and then the problems would return.

Nearing the halfway point in the race Crew Chief Rodney Childers decided to take a larger swing at the problems and called for the team to pull spring rubbers out of the right-rear of the car, but that only made things worse.

Reutimann quickly radioed in, "It's like you flipped a switch and the thing went from bad to worse. These changes killed the center now. The thing won't turn anywhere now."

The No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine was never able to make it higher than 15th and ultimately finished a disappointing 20th.

Denny Hamlin scored the win after leading for 298 of the 400 laps. Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch round out the top-five finishers. The fifth place finish would not be enough to get Kyle Busch into the Chase with Brian Vickers coming in 7th to pick up the last Chase position.

"You run like that, we don't deserve to be in the Chase," said a frustrated Reutimann. "The guys worked hard, they did a great job all year. We'll continue to do a great job and just keep trying to win these things every week. That's all we can do."

The tough finish caused Reutimann to slide back one spot in the points to 16th, 147 markers back from Kyle Busch who holds the top spot outside the Chase.

Next week the Sprint Cup series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Television coverage of the Sylvania 300 will be provided by ABC starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 20.

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