Reutimann Charges from 41st to 11th at Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, Tenn. (August 24, 2009) -- David Reutimann narrowly escaped going to a back-up car during Friday's qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 32 Dollar General ...
Reutimann Charges from 41st to 11th at Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol, Tenn. (August 24, 2009) -- David Reutimann narrowly escaped going to a back-up car during Friday's qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 32 Dollar General snapped loose between turns three and four, costing valuable time and relegating Reutimann to a 41st starting position in the Food City 250. With smart pit strategy and stellar driving, Reutimann took the checkered flag in the 11th-place at the "World's Fastest Half Mile."
Despite skies that threatened rain throughout the day on Friday, the clouds cleared, making way for a stunning sunset as the green flag flew at Bristol Motor Speedway. Reutimann quickly advanced through the field, charging the Dollar General Toyota from its starting spot of 41st to the 28th position in only two laps. The first caution of the night came at lap seven as the No. 16 spun in turn two. Reutimann reported to the team that the Camry was a little loose in the opening laps. When the race resumed on lap 12, the Dollar General Toyota restarted from the 25th spot.
By the time the next caution flag was displayed on lap 30, Reutimann was knocking on the door of the top-20. As NASCAR crews cleaned up the debris on the track, Reutimann and crew chief, Trent Owens discussed the car's handling and their pit strategy.
"It was close, but we didn't get hit on that last lap," said Reutimann. "The temperatures are high, though. I think we need to pull some tape off on the next stop."
"I hate to give up track position, but we don't want to low the engine," replied Owens. "Let's come to pit road the next time around."
On lap 45, Reutimann brought the No. 32 to pit road for service. The team changed the right-side tires and added fuel to the Camry. The grill of the Dollar General Toyota was slightly damaged but the radiator was completely intact. Tape was pulled from the grill and Reutimann returned to the track to restart in the 22nd position.
A multi-car wreck on the front straightaway brought out the next caution flag. As the field slowed, NASCAR displayed the red flag and cars came to a halt so crews could clear the large amount of debris and fluid that littered the track. Engines fired 16 minutes later, and when racing restarted on lap 59, the Dollar General Toyota was in the 14th spot.
On lap 64, the No. 20 car made hard contact with the outside wall, bringing out the next caution flag. Reutimann reported that the No. 32 was a little loose in the center of the turns but tight getting on the throttle. As the race restarted on lap 70, he was in the 11th position.
In true Bristol fashion, the racing was intense and exciting. Running three-wide at times, Reutimann fought to move forward in the field. Battling for the next position, the No. 32 was hit on the inside and shuffled backwards. The contact further tightened the car's handling. On lap 138, when the next caution of the night occurred, Reutimann reported that he couldn't turn the car at all. While running 19th, he brought the Camry to pit road on lap 141. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires, packed the car with fuel and made air pressure and wedge adjustments. Reutimann restarted the race in the 22nd position.
Going a lap down to the leaders during the previous green-flag run, Reutimann immediately went to work to position himself to receive the Lucky Dog award at the next caution. On lap 160, he made the pass on the No. 40 for the spot and battled to hold it. The caution flag was displayed on lap 163 as cars wrecked on the frontstretch. As the field circled the track, he reported that the tight-handling condition of the No. 32 had remained. Owens called Reutimann to pit road on lap 173 for service. The team changed two tires, added fuel and made a myriad of adjustments including air pressure, adding a spring rubber and raising the track bar, to assist in the car's handling. When the race resumed on lap 176, Reutimann was back on the lead lap and running in the top-15.
Reutimann focused on picking off cars, one-by-one. By lap 235, he had moved the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota into the 11th spot. The field was spread out around the half-mile track, and Reutimann remained focused on breaking into the top-10. The caution flag was displayed once again for debris on lap 243. Owens made a last minute call to bring the No. 32 to pit road for four fresh tires.
When the race resumed for the green-white-checkered finish, Reutimann restarted the No. 32 from the 12th spot. The final caution of the night came out on the last lap, freezing the field and concluding the Food City 250. Reutimann and the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota finished in the 11th position.
"We just really battled with the handling of the car all day and all night," said Reutimann. "It was tight during practice this morning, crazy loose during our qualifying lap and then returned to a tight condition in the race tonight. The Dollar General team never gave up and worked extremely hard so that we could a good finish tonight."
Jacques Villeneuve will climb behind the wheel of the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota next weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series ventures across the Canadian border to Montreal next weekend for the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge.