Monday, October 12, 2009


FONTANA, Calif. (October 11, 2009) – David Reutimann came into the Auto Club Speedway fresh off a top-10 finish at Kansas and looking to continue that success on a track where he’s run well in the past. On Friday it appeared he was well on his way, scoring the number two starting position. Unfortunately, the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine was found to have exceeded NASCAR's gas-level limit in the rear shocks. The resulting penalty put Dream Machine at the back of the field to start Sunday’s Pepsi 500. It would ultimately be a handicap too big to overcome as Reutimann was only able to work his way up to 18th before the checkered flag dropped.

Throughout the practice session on Friday David Reutimann struggled with his Aaron’s Dream Machine, posting the 26th fastest time. So the team regrouped and made several changes to the car before Saturday’s qualifying run. The changes seemed to work as Reutimann jumped up to the outside pole. The fast lap even surprised the driver a little.

"We weren't all that good in practice,” said Reutimann. “But I’m proud of my guys. They did a really great job. They beat on the car a little and made it a lot better."

However, the celebration would be short-lived. During the post-qualifying inspection NASCAR found the rear shocks did not meet the required specs. Knowing the issue wasn’t likely intentional, NASCAR tested the team’s shock equipment against their own and found that the gauge the Aaron’s team used to measure the shocks was off.

“The No. 00 team got a new gauge,” explained team owner Michael Waltrip. “We are responsible for our gauges. We should have calibrated it against NASCAR’s. It’s unfortunate, but rules are rules and we’ll move on.”

“It just really, really stinks that we have to go to the back,” Reutimann said. “My crew does a great job. And my shock guy (Dave Lovendahl) does a great job. It’s not like we came in here with 100 pounds more of rear shock pressure or something. But what can you do? The rule is black and white.”

In accordance with the penalty, on Sunday David Reutimann and the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine dropped to 42nd position for the start of the race. Being that far back allowed the team to try various lines around the track to see which might allow them to move their way through the field.

Throughout the first half of the race Reutimann battled a loose Dream Machine, making it difficult to find a good racing line. While crew chief Rodney Childers and the Aaron’s team would try many changes to the No. 00, these new Sprint Cup cars require very specific changes and any over-adjustment can simply worsen the situation.

Finally nearing the homestretch the team hit on something and David Reutimann began to slowly move up, making it into the top 20.

Then, with 15 laps to go and the Aaron’s Dream Machine making progress, Elliott Sadler and Dale Earnhardt touched off a multi-car accident right in front of Reutimann. While he was able to get through it without major damage, the No. 00 did receive some fender damage.

After a 21-minute delay while NASCAR cleaned up the track, Reutimann the team decided to bring the Aaron’s Dream Machine in for minor repairs and new tires. With only a dozen or so laps remaining Reutimann did his best to capture as many positions as possible, crossing the finish line 18th.

“That was probably about as good of a finish as we could’ve hoped for with the handling problems we had today,” said Reutimann. “It’s frustrating because we were running lap times on pace with the top-10 drivers, we just couldn’t get up there.”

Jimmie Johnson cruised to a dominating victory to move into the points lead with six races left. Jeff Gordon finished second for the second consecutive week, followed by Juan Montoya, Mark Martin and Tony Stewart.

Next weekend the Sprint Cup series heads home to Lowe's Motor Speedway for a Saturday night shootout on October 17. Coverage for the NASCAR Banking 500 starts at 7:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

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