REUTIMANN COLLECTS BEST FINISH OF NCTS SEASON WITH THIRD AT GATEWAY MADISON, IL (April 30, 2006) -- David Reutimann's third-place finish in his No. 17 Team Tundra Racing Toyota at Gateway International Raceway advanced him to...
REUTIMANN COLLECTS BEST FINISH OF NCTS SEASON WITH THIRD AT GATEWAY
MADISON, IL (April 30, 2006) -- David Reutimann's third-place finish in his No. 17 Team Tundra Racing Toyota at Gateway International Raceway advanced him to third-place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver's points standings after five starts this season. Reutimann led 63 laps en route to collecting his third top-five and fourth top-10 finish of the season.
"I tried to hold off Todd Bodine (winner) and Ted Musgrave," said Reutimann. "They had fresher tires. In my rookie year I would have blocked them and I would've been in the fence trying to keep those guys behind me. I've matured a lot and I'm racing smarter. We're looking at the big picture. Those guys were faster than me and we had to let them go. At one point, I had a glimmer of hope that I could keep them behind me. I'm proud of my guys for taking a truck that was awful and made it much better."
Toyota drivers swept the top-five finishing order. Todd Bodine was the eventual winner as Ted Musgrave, Reutimann, Jack Sprague and Johnny Benson rounded out the top-five. Toyota drivers have now won 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events since their entry into the series in 2004.
"It was a great night for us and an awesome night for Toyota," said Reutimann. "I hate that we didn't win, but we've got some great tracks coming up for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports and I feel confident we will get a win soon. We're so close. We've just got to be a little better."
During the start of the race and throughout, Reutimann had handling problems in traffic. Reutimann ran as high as second and maintained a top-five position during the first 30 laps of the event until pitting for tires and a wedge adjustment under caution.
"We were really tight center off," said Reutimann. "We battled being tight all night."
During the restart at Lap 35, Reutimann was shown in 15th-place. As NASCAR implemented a mandatory competition caution almost ten laps later, Reutimann stayed out as trucks ahead of him entered pit road. Reutimann became the new leader assuming the position at Lap 46.
"We were good in clean air," said Reutimann. "Once we got out front, we took off."
As Reutimann distanced himself from the rest of the field, repeated cautions diminished his lead throughout the night. Still leading at Lap 71, Bodine was on his bumper trying to complete the pass with Musgrave in tow. The next lap Bodine, with fresher tires, made the pass in Turn 4 as Reutimann fought to hold onto second-place. On lap 79, Reutimann watched Musgrave go by as he fell to third. With flaring handling problems, Reutimann dropped out of the top-five and then out of the top-10.
"At that point during the race, the truck was plowing," said Reutimann. "We needed major changes. I told them to throw everything they had at it from adding a spring rubber in the right rear to a wedge adjustment to a track bar adjustment."
After the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team serviced Reutimann's truck at Lap 89, the Florida native climbed to sixth-place 15 laps later as the eighth caution of the race occurred. As the three of the five trucks ahead of Reutimann pitted, the No. 17 Team Tundra Racing Toyota stayed out and moved into second-place while Dennis Setzer assumed the lead. Before reaching the start-finish line for the restart with 50 laps remaining, Setzer pulled onto pit road relinquishing the lead to Reutimann.
"Something happened to Setzer," said Reutimann. "I think he had a soft tire."
Fighting to keep the lead, Reutimann had Bodine on his bumper when the 12th caution of the night happened as 18 laps remained. On the restart with 14 laps to go, Reutimann tried to hold off Bodine and Musgrave. Approaching Turn 4 on that same lap, Bodine passed Reutimann on the outside to take the top spot with Musgrave in tow. Reutimann went on to finish the 160-lap event third.
"I hated to see them go by me," said Reutimann. "They had fresher tires and I did everything I could to hold them off."
Reutimann's next NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race takes place at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Friday, May 19th. Live coverage of the event begins at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.