MADISON, IL (July 18, 2004) -- After leading laps 52 through 66 in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra, David Reutimann soldiered on to finish ninth after incurring transmission problems at Gateway International Raceway Saturday night. ...
MADISON, IL (July 18, 2004) -- After leading laps 52 through 66 in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra, David Reutimann soldiered on to finish ninth after incurring transmission problems at Gateway International Raceway Saturday night.
"We lost fourth gear near the end," said Reutimann, who started 17th. "We couldn't hold anyone off. You have to have fourth gear down the front stretch. We were fortunate to be able to escape with a Top-10 finish. We were glad that we were able to lead some laps for NTN Bearings and Toyota and still be able to finish ninth after having problems."
Reutimann wasted no time advancing before the first caution of the evening at Lap 26. Running 13th, the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team opted to pit the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota for four tires and a chassis adjustment.
"We needed to be freed up from the center off," said Reutimann. "Then we were pretty decent until I tore out the transmission."
Narrowly missing an accident at Lap 40, Reutimann stayed out as the caution flag waived and the front-runners dove to pit road. Reutimann slid into second-place as Rick Crawford led the way for ten laps. At Lap 51, Reutimann set up Crawford to make his pass for the lead.
"It felt so good to lead again," said Reutimann, who led 15 laps in the 174-lap event. "This is a top caliber team and this is what we are capable of and this is what these guys are used to.
At Lap 67, Reutimann relinquished the lead to Dennis Setzer as he pitted for fuel only. Exiting pit road, Reutimann was 12th. On older tires, Reutimann was able to maintain his stride back into the Top-10 at Lap 104 before pitting again under caution.
"We weren't happy about the caution because we hoping to catch some trucks a lap down," said Reutimann. "At that point, we were free in the center. We had a hiccup in the pits and lost some positions, but we were able to bounce back into the Top-10."
Reutimann maintained his Top-10 run until he lost fourth gear at Lap 151. A melee of accidents caused the scheduled 160-lap event to be extended 14 laps. Four attempts were made to end the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race under green-white-checker conditions. David Starr was the eventual race winner.
"It got a little crazy there at the end, but we were able to stay out of harms way and finish ninth," said Reutimann. "I had a front seat view when Rick Crawford went up on his side. I'm just glad everyone is all right. NASCAR has enforced a new set of rules that will help keep unnecessary accidents from happening."
Reutimann scored his sixth Top-10 of the season. The Raybestos Rookie points leader has one Bud Pole Award, two Top-5s and six Top-10s. In 12 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events, Reutimann is 13th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings.
"This year is a learning process," said Reutimann. "I'm learning every week. Of course, DW (Darrell Waltrip) wants us to win every weekend, but he's not blind to the fact that he has a new driver labeled as a rookie, a new team and a new manufacturer to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Toyota Motorsports is doing a tremendous job. Their engines keep getting better. Toyota has a solid all around package. We've got a great relationship and I'm looking forward to the second half of the season."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has an off weekend before heading to Michigan International Speedway for the Line-X Spray-on Bedliners 200 Saturday, July 31st. Live coverage of the 100-lap (200-mile) event at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway oval begins at 1:00 p.m. EDT live on SPEED Channel. MRN Radio will begin broadcast at 12:30 PM EDT.