By admin | April 7, 2009
By Richard Allen
David Reutimann is in the process of putting together a solid season for his Micheal Waltrip Racing team. That solid season almost became spectacular in the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.
After starting from the pole position, Reutimann battled #2 starter Jeff Gordon for a few early laps before settling into a 2nd place running position. That, however, did not last long as Reutimann blasted past Gordon to take the lead on lap 8. He held that lead for the next 38 laps.
For most of the first one-third of the 334 lap race, Reutimann ran in the Top 5. Unfortunately, during a round of green flag pit stops his car was ruled out of the pit box by NASCAR officials. The penalty for such an infraction is to lose one lap.
Reutimann was dropped down in the running order and spent much of the rest of the race in catch up mode. This was made especially difficult due to the fact that so much of the first two-thirds of the race was run under green flag conditions, which limited the opportunities to get a lost lap back via the â€˜Lucky Dogâ€™ free pass.
Eventually, Reutimann did get his lap back and raced up to an 11th place finish. It turned out to be a good run that could have been a great run.
This driver and team have put together an early season of good runs. Only once, in Atalnta, has the #00 car finished outside the Top 20. They have had five Top 15s including a best finish of 4th in Las Vegas. And more, Sundayâ€™s pole was the fourth Top 10 starting position for this Toyota team.
Reutimann is currently 11th in the overall Sprint Cup standings.
Last year this team struggled through having to exchange places with driver Dale Jarrett who retired after the Bristol race. At this point of the season Reutimann was 31st in the standings in 2008. Now, with those distractions behind them the MWR #00 team has made great strides toward becoming a serious contender.
Not bad for a team that at the start of the season was not even sure of being able to run the full schedule because of sponsorship uncertainties.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
*Click on the link below to check out my animated short film, “Racing Re-Cap: Texas” as serious reporter Mark Mustang attempts to recap the race in Texas but his co-host, Daisy Dreamboat, had too good of a weekend and wants to tell him all about it.
None of the characters represent real people.
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