LOUDON, NH (September 19, 2004) - Without prior on-track experience at New Hampshire International Speedway before the Sylvania 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, David Reutimann started and finished fifth at the 1.058-mile oval in the...
LOUDON, NH (September 19, 2004) - Without prior on-track experience at New Hampshire International Speedway before the Sylvania 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, David Reutimann started and finished fifth at the 1.058-mile oval in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra on Saturday.
"This finish was huge and you can't put a dollar sign on it," said Reutimann, who moved up to 14th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings, 120 points out of tenth-place. "This was a great finish mentally. I'm proud of the efforts the team made because they did an awesome job. We really needed this finish. I can't say enough about the team because they've stuck with me this season. We were able to race our way into the Top-5 and come away with a solid finish at a track I've never raced at before. It's just a tremendous effort on everybody's part."
Rain delayed the 200-Lap event nearly four hours before the event was underway. At the start of the race, NASCAR elected to run 36 competition laps under caution to ensure track conditions were suitable for the 36-truck field.
"We said there was no possible way that we were going to race on Saturday because it had rained all morning," said Reutimann. "NASCAR's deadline to start the race was around 5 p.m. NASCAR did a really good job of getting the Craftsman Truck race started. We all figured that we would be racing at New Hampshire on Monday."
When the green flag finally waived, Reutimann was credited with running third for one lap behind leader Jack Sprague and eventual winner Travis Kvapil. From laps 39 to 67, the Raybestos Rookie points leader maintained a Top-5 spot in the running order.
"I was driving as hard as I could," said Reutimann. "This race was a big deal for me because I've done enough stupid stuff this year that I have to cut it out. I've been fortunate to have NTN Bearings and Toyota supporting our efforts and I want more than anything to do well for them and the team. DW gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and I'm enjoying it. My hats off to DW as well because he's the real deal."
Running fourth at Lap 67 under caution, Reutimann prepared for his first of three pit stops during the course of the race. While some trucks stayed out, the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team changed four tires and made adjustments sending the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota back out onto the track in 11th-place.
"We started the race off a little snug and the truck had a skating nose," said Reutimann. "We came in and the team changed tires and did some adjustments. The truck was pretty free afterwards."
Still occupying 11th-place, Reutimann pitted around Lap 103 for two right-side tires. On the final pit stop around Lap 118, the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team brought the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota in for fuel only.
"The guys calculated fuel mileage and knew we had to stop to make it to the end," said Reutimann. "Team Manager Bobby Kennedy had that figured out. Him and Crew Chief Jason Overstreet never told me anything, which is a good thing because I have enough bouncing around in my head. A couple guys didn't make it on fuel."
With a loose-handling truck, Reutimann reentered the Top-10 by Lap 123 and his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota was a mainstay. Running seventh with less than five laps remaining in the 200-Lap event, Reutimann watched the second and third-place truck run out of fuel. After Reutimann moved into fifth, an accident occurred on Lap 198 and NASCAR opted to finish the race under caution due to darkness.
"NASCAR ended the event under caution because it was really dark," said Reutimann. "I would've been fine if we finished it under green. I've raced at dimly lit places with 20 tear-offs on my windshield covered in dirt. It wouldn't have been a big deal to me. It would've been nice to have had a shot to win. We are happy with fifth and thankful the truck is in one piece. This gives us huge momentum going into Las Vegas this week."
Live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled to air Saturday, September 25th at 10:00 PM EDT live on SPEED Channel. The event will be broadcast on MRN Radio.