David 9th in Napa 200 by Kellyanne Lynch
4 August 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann finished 9th in the Napa Auto Parts 200, today's inaugural and eventful Busch Series race at Gilles Villeneuve Circuit. His #99 Napa Auto Parts Toyota ran in the teens much of the day and suffered tremendous tire rub when polesitter Patrick Carpentier ran over a curb and hit him in later stages of the race.
"We survived," David stated after the checkered flag. "We kept plugging away and stayed on the course. I got jammed up there one time just trying to let guys go and kind of got run over. Other than that it ended up being fairly uneventful. During the racing, we were fine, but under the yellows, it would be really hard to shift. Once you would get racing, it would be fine. I was a little confused as to why that was. The car would have that shifting problem every time there was a yellow, but once we were racing, we were fine. The guys did a good job, the car drove well and I learned a lot out here today. It was a positive day, especially to come out of here with a top 10 finish."
Carpentier led the field to the green flag. Although David had qualified 29th, he gained positions with five drivers dropping to the rear for driver or engine changes. He, Carl Edwards, and David Ragan were the only Nextel Cup drivers to get to the track in time for Busch Series qualifying.
Carpentier held onto the top spot to lead the first lap while David rode 21st. The next time around the track, cars slowed and accordianed. Michal Jordain got into the back of Ron Hornaday, and other drivers got noses under other cars. Andy Lally sustained damage and had to pit his #47.
By lap 6, David was up to 18th. Boris Said took the lead the next time around the track, but Carpentier was all over his tail.
Meanwhile, a few teams chose to make green flag pit stops. The #99 was 17th on lap 8, two laps before more drivers pit. Said came in on lap 11, relinquishing the lead to Ron Fellows. David pit around this time too and was 20th on lap 12 after his stop. One lap later, he was 18th. Fellows pit on lap 13, allowing Carpentier to retake the lead.
Carpentier's #22 finally made a stop and gave the lead to Nick Jonsson. David was now 16th but was fighting back and forth with Jeff Burton for position. David let Burton go to avoid losing time. Jorges Goeters also passed, and Greg Biffle goosed his #99 but remained behind the Napa machine.
Jonnson pit. Stops had cycled, and Scott Pruett was in the lead. David rode 16th.
On lap 25, Carl Edwards pit for what was said to be a scheduled stop. He'd taken a shortcut through the grass on the track - earning him a warning from NASCAR to stay on the pavement - and his team worked on the car for quite some time before taking the #60 to the garage. David Ragan pit with a shredded tire shortly thereafter. Departures gained David 15th by lap 26. Meanwhile, Marcus Ambrose passed along the inside for the lead on the next circuit.
Alex Garcia's #98 car smoked and dropped oil, drawing the first full-course caution on lap 30. Kyle Krisiloff received the free pass. Some drivers made stops under yellow. When leaving pit road, Steve Wallace slid through the grass and hit the tire barrier. Fluid was coming out of his #66.
Ambrose led the restart on lap 34. Boris Said, who was the first driver off pit road, was 12th. David was 13th but was 9th one lap later and moving forward.
The second caution came on lap 35 for Wallace's #66, who smoked tremendously on the course and dropped oil. David was 14th. Aric Almirola received the free pass, and many drivers made stops.
Carpentier led the lap 40 restart with David in 20th. The #99 and other drivers who had made stops under yellow would not have to make another stop while front runners would. He was battling Andy Lally for position. Although he didn't pass Lally, David was 19th on lap 41. He was one of the last drivers on the lead lap. Boris Said made his final stop two circuits later, which gained the #99 a spot. David was up to 16th by lap 44 when others who hadn't pit under the last caution made their last stops. Max Papis pit the next time around the track, bumping the #99 up to 15th.
Meanwhile, Jonnson took the lead from Carpentier; he passed along the inside. The front runners hadn't pit, Ambrose was catching them when he had. Jonnson pit on lap 48, allowing Ambrose' #59 to take the top spot. By then, David was 12th. With 20 laps to go, Boris Said and Brad Coleman passed, dropping the Napa Camry to 14th. David lost two more spots to Carpentier and Papis with 18 laps to go; his right front was smoking heavily with severe tire rub.
"There were two heroes out there, the road course guys, and they had taken tires and were quicker than I was," David explained after the race. "I had moved out to let them go, and one of the guys jumped the curb and started to loose it and when he did he came across and hit my right front fender and kind of caved everything in. He was actually trying to stay off of me and he got up on the curb. It is just something that happens and the fender got caved down into the tire. We were able to fix it and it ended up being okay anyways. It didn't really affect us that much at the end of the day."
David talked about road course ringers in general next. "Honestly, it's cool to have these guys because they are some of the best in the world at doing this. You just have to take into consideration who you are racing because at the end of the race they aren't going to give you anything because they don't care. They are here to win the race and you have to respect that. You have to realize who you are racing and race accordingly -- if you don't, you'll just get ran over."
Goeters got into the barrier shortly after that. The race remained under green. Edwards slid through the grass again, Biffle made donuts in the gravel, and Goeters hit the barrier and stalled.
The yellow flag waved for the third time with sixteen laps left in the race. David was 15th at the time. Some teams chose to pit, including the #99.
Ambrose led the restart with thirteen laps to go. David was 18th and the last driver on the lead lap. Lally struggled to get going, but cars maneuvered around him. David got around Lally too and gained 17th with twelve laps to go.
Oil on the track brought out the fourth caution. Just before the yellow, Coleman had turned Carpentier, Pruett spun and lost 2nd, and Said lost his engine.
Racing resumed with four laps to go with Ambrose leading and David in 15th. Kevin Harvick got into Scott Pruett who hit Ron Fellows in the #33 he owns, and cars piled into each other. Ron Hornaday got pushed off-track and tagged a few more cars when he came back onto the course. Jeff Burton sustained a great deal of damage. Ambrose got into Robby Gordon after the accident after Gordon had moved in front of the #59 for the lead. David appeared to have been bumped while trying to get by the mess.
Under yellow, Gordon ran up through the ranks, bumped into the back of the #59, and rode alongside him. The two ran side-by-side under caution as NASCAR attempted to determine who was leading the race when the yellow flag waved. The sanctioning body determined that Ambrose was in the lead and Gordon was 12th. When Gordon did not move, he was told he would be black flagged if he didn't drop back. Gordon remained in the 2nd spot, despite NASCAR's call.
Ambrose led the restart with two laps to go. Gordon spun him out and continued to drive. Although he was in front, Kevin Harvick was the race leader as Gordon's position did not count. Carpentier bumped Harvick's rear, but Harvick held his ground. David was 8th going into the final lap. Harvick went on to win with former teammate Robby Gordon's black flagged #55 well in front of him. Carpentier's second-place car spun at the end. David crossed the stripe in 9th.
Coverage of the Nextel Cup's Pennsylvania 500 begins at 1:00pm ET on ESPN.