REUTIMANN SCORES CAREER-BEST FINISH WITH SECOND-PLACE AT MEMPHIS MILLINGTON, Tenn. (July 24, 2005) -- After leading 58 laps, David Reutimann finished second in his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series...
REUTIMANN SCORES CAREER-BEST FINISH WITH SECOND-PLACE AT MEMPHIS
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (July 24, 2005) -- After leading 58 laps, David Reutimann finished second in his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline at Memphis Motorsports Park Saturday night.
"We had a great truck all night and we're starting to run like we're supposed to run," said Reutimann, who is rapidly closing in on the top-five in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings. "We struggled a little bit midpoint during the race, but we were trying to figure out what we needed to do. Then, I missed a shift on a restart that cost us one position. I feel pretty bad about that because positions are so hard to come by at a track like Memphis. If that hadn't happened, maybe we could've won. I should've been running second at the end of the race. I don't think Brandon Whitt could've got by us. I don't really know because if I was running second, maybe I would've been the guy that got spun out."
Reutimann started second and maintained his position until sliding to third at Lap 47. Under caution six laps later, Reutimann did not pit his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra. Reutimann assumed the lead as leader Ron Hornaday Jr. and eventual winner Brandon Whitt pitted at Lap 54.
"The truck drove good all night," said Reutimann. "We didn't pit with the leaders and we were able to stay out front to lead a bunch of laps."
Pit strategy worked as Reutimann led laps 54-108. At lap 109, Brandon Whitt finally got by Reutimann on fresher tires. Reutimann then settled into second-place hoping for a caution. Five laps later, Reutimann was able to pit under caution for his first and only pit stop of the night to take on four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment.
"Before pitting I had no forward or side bite," said Reutimann. "After we pitted, the truck was good. We just needed the long runs. Last year, I qualified 30th at Memphis and finished 17th. This is a big turn around for our deal."
Restarting third on Lap 117, Reutimann quickly passed Brad Keselowski for second-place setting his sights on leader Rick Crawford. Ten laps later, Reutimann passed Crawford to lead three more laps before Ron Hornaday retook the lead.
"We had a strong truck," said Reutimann. "We were able to lead 58 laps. It's just a shame that we didn't win this thing."
Under caution in second at Lap 159, Reutimann had problems on the restart allowing the No. 38 truck of Whitt to pass him for second.
"I was mad enough that I could've bit the steering wheel in half because I missed a shift," said Reutimann. "It allowed Whitt to get by me. It's something that happened. The team calmed me down when I was on the back straightaway. It's like my guys told me, it happens all the time to other people. It's just unacceptable to me. I'm okay with someone else making a mistake, but when I make a mistake I have a hard time dealing with it. I'm blessed to be with such a good race team."
As the race was red flagged at Lap 164 for a multi-truck accident on the backstretch, Reutimann was third. After restarting third one lap later, two more cautions followed with the last one creating a green-white-checker situation. On the last lap of the race, Reutimann was tucked in behind Whitt as he followed suit to Hornaday. As smoke filled the air left over from the No. 2 truck spinning in Turn 3, Hornaday checked up and Whit nudgedthe back of his truck. Hornaday spun and Reutimann went on to finish second to Whit. J
"I should've been running second instead of running third," said Reutimann. "That's because of the deal on the front straightaway with missing the shift. I really don't think anybody could've got by us. It is what it is. Bottom line is that we had a great run and we've gained a lot of points. I've got a great race team. They are phenomenal. The trucks driving great. I'm having the time of my life. I can't believe how good my deal is right now."
After three top-five finishes in a row, Reutimann is now seventh in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings and only 15 points out of fifth-place. Next up after an off weekend, Reutimann and the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota team travel to Indianapolis Raceway Park. J
"I wish we were racing IRP this weekend instead of next," said Reutimann. "We started 10th and finished 17th there last season. We struggled with our short track program last year. We've really turned things around. There were only a couple tracks that I was concerned about and Memphis was one of them. After our run at Memphis, I think we'll do fine at IRP."
TheNASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Indianapolis Raceway Park Friday, August 5th begins atw:45 p.m. EDT and will be carried live by SPEED Channel. MRN Radio will broadcast the event.