TALLADEGA, Ala. (November 1, 2009) – David Reutimann had a car capable of winning Sunday’s Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, but was involved in two different accident resulting in a disappointing 26th-place finish.
With rain canceling Saturday’s qualifying session the field was set by owner’s points, putting Reutimann in the 16th starting spot. But within a handful of laps the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine was out in front of the pack at Talladega. In fact, Reutimann led multiple times within the first quarter of the race.
“[The 00] is the fastest car I’ve ever seen,” radioed in team owner Michael Waltrip.
Reutimann told his crew chief the car would not “suck up” and needed someone behind him to push him, but overall the car was handling very well.
Unfortunately, on lap 89 a multiple-car accident occurred and Reutimann got into the back of the No. 6 car as they tried to slow down to avoid the wreck. With the cars bunched up the way they often are at the superspeedways, Reutimann wasn’t able to slow down quick enough and sustained damage to the front of his Aaron’s Dream Machine.
Reutimann lost the draft when the resulting pit stop for repairs went very long as the team struggled to get the tire off with all of the damage to the right-front fender. Luckily, another caution on lap 105 allowed team to do more work on the car and get Reutimann caught up with the pack.
On lap 186 under the caution for the spectacular crashed involving the No. 39 of Ryan Newman, crew chief Rodney Childers called his driver to pit road for tires and fuel. This was to be the final pit stop and would allow Reutimann to make it until the end while other drivers found themselves running out of fuel at the end.
The strategy may have resulted in a good finish for the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine, but with just over a lap left another large wreck took place. Reutimann got caught up in this second “big one” and received major damage, forcing him to limp around the final lap and finish 26th as the last car on the lead lap.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” explained Reutimann. “We had a great Aaron’s Dream Machine today. I needed a little help from behind to give me a good push, but we should have been able to get out of here with a great finish if it wasn’t for the accidents.
“I have no idea [what happened at the end],” Reutimann continued. “They started wrecking and we were in it so I don’t know what led up to it. There are just a lot of torn up race cars. You get in a situation like when we had that red flag and then have a green-white-checkered and guys running out of fuel and stuff. It gets pretty wild there towards the end and you don’t know what to expect. [It’s] just a bad day. Next week we head to Texas – a track I’ve had a lot of luck at – so I’m just looking forward to that.”
Jamie McMurray took the checkered flag, with Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton rounding out the top five.
Next weekend the Sprint Cup series heads to Texas Motor Speedway. ABC will provide television coverage for the Dickies 500 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on November 8.