David 15th in Fontana BGN race by Kellyanne Lynch
1 September 2007
David Reutimann's #99 Aaron's Dream Team experienced lug nut issues late in the Camping World 300, tonight's Busch Series race at California Speedway. Nevertheless, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver salvaged a 15th-place finish.
"The car wasn't running as well as it should have all night," David said after the race. "Our Camry was capable of running in the top-10, but we had some lug nut issues. On that last pit stop, we came in and the lug nuts came loose as we were pitting . The left rear tire came off and messed up our quarter panel. Overall, it was a good day for the points but we would have liked to give Toyota a solid finish in their backyard. We are going to put this behind us and go to Richmond next weekend."
The call to start engines came at 10:07pm ET. During the pace laps, AJ Allmendinger and Scott Wimmer were sent to the rear of the field for engine changes. Denny Hamlin led the field to the stripe at 10:18pm, with David starting 13th. Stephen Leicht fell through the ranks like a rock when he missed a shift and was bumped in the rear by Mike Wallace. Hamlin led the first lap. David dropped to 17th by the time the yellow flag waved.
The first caution came on lap 3 when Kyle Krisiloff's #14 hit the wall in Turn 2. The green flag returned on lap 7 with Hamlin leading. David was 18th; somehow, Jamie McMurray passed him on the previous lap under caution. Two laps into the run, Kyle Busch moved into the top spot.
David moved throught the ranks. He got around McMurray by lap 11, and he passed Marcos Ambrose the next time around the track. Lap 14 saw the Aaron's Dream Machine pick up 15th from David Ragan. David got around Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards within the next five laps.
Brian Vickers passed former teammate Kyle Busch on the high side, taking the lead going into lap 24. David got around Robby Gordon eight circuits later; however, McMurray passed him on lap 37 and moved him back to 13th.
Green flag pit stops began on lap 42 with Kevin Harvick's #33. Jason Leffler and David Ragan visited their boxes next, among others. David pit around lap 45, just before Vickers came to pit road. Jeff Burton assumed the lead but stopped the next time around the track. Reed Sorenson inherited the top spot but gave it to Mike Wallace for his pit. Meanwhile, NASCAR issued Kyle Busch a pass-through penalty for speeding on pit road.
Stops cycled when Wallace pit on lap 47; Vickers' #10 was back in the lead, and David was 16th. The #99 was up to 14th within the next three laps and picked up another position three circuits after that when Bobby Hamilton Jr made a stop. Ambrose passed David for position on lap 57. Kyle Busch got around the Aaron's Dream Machine two laps later, around the same time Kasey Kahne scuffed the wall five spots in frot of the #99.
Burton powered past Vickers along the high line, picking up the lead on lap 64; Vickers got stuck behind Mike Wallace's #7.
A violent multi-car wreck in Turn 4 drew the second caution on lap 68. AJ Allmendinger, JJ Yeley, and Brad Keselowski were going three-wide when they suddenly came upon Eric McClure's slow #0 on the outside. Cars got loose, and Allmendinger popped Keselowski's #88 up on the wall.
NASCAR red-flagged the race on lap 69 at 11:15pm. Safety workers helped Keselowski out of his car and cleared the debris and the wrecked cars. They also repaired the safer barrier. Because the nose of his #88 was severely crunched, Keselowski injured his legs. The workers held him in their arms until others brought a backboard for him. Just after the wreck, he had told his crew over the team frequency, "I think I'll be okay, guys." Due to the heat, NASCAR allowed drivers to come out of their cars and for one crew member to come to each to bring them water.
The yellow flag returned at 11:45pm. Burton was in the lead, and David was 15th when drivers came onto pit road. Mike Wallace received the free pass.
Lap 74 saw the restart with Ryan Newman in the lead and David in 16th. Burton took the lead almost immediately. Meanwhile, the #99 picked up two spots two laps into the run. Getting around Kasey Kahne on lap 83 moved David into 13th. Kahne got back around him three laps later.
The third caution came on lap 95 for Greg Biffle. His #16 got loose on the high side and spun, and Kyle Busch narrowly missed him. He went to pit road with substantial damage to his left rear. Drivers pit under yellow, and Scott Wimmer received the free pass.
The restart came on lap 98 with Denny Hamlin in the lead. David was 17th - the last driver on the lead lap - but gained a position one lap into the run. Meanwhile, Ryan Newman slowed with a dropped cyllander and went to the pits, where his crew put up the hood. He ultimately dropped out of the race, rather than drive slowly. He explained that the #12 team quit rather than ride around in the way.
David got around Jason Leffler on lap 102, moving him into 15th. He passed Mike Wallace two laps later for position. At the front of the field, Jimmie Johnson took the lead just before the yellow flag waved.
Lap 107 saw the fourth caution. Kasey Kahne had been racing Robby Gordon when he slid up the track into the marbles, spun, and slapped the wall. David pit with other lead lap cars while Hamlin, Burton, and others stayed on track.
Hamlin led the restart with 40 laps to go. David was 14th. NASCAR black-flagged Kasey Kahne for not going to the tail end of the longest line at the restart.
Burton took the lead four laps into the run, while David moved into 13th by getting around Jason Leffler. Lap 116 saw David pick up another spot to Marcos Ambrose.
The fifth caution came with 25 laps left in the race. Hamlin was running 2nd when he spun along the outside groove. David pit with many other leaders under the yellow flag.
Kyle Busch led the lap 130 restart with David in 17th. Another multi-car wreck drew the sixth yellow flag two laps later. Cars had gone four-wide. Kelly Bires clipped the rear of Matt Kenseth, sending Kenseth's #17 up the track into Carl Edwards, who slammed Brian Vickers into the wall. Stephen Leicht's #90 t-boned the #17 as Kenseth came down the track.
Racing resumed with eleven laps to go. Busch led, and David was 13th. David Ragan passed one lap into the run, dropping the #99 back to 12th. At the front of the field, Burton dropped inside Busch's #5 and raced side-by-side for the position. Burton took it going into six laps to go and went on to win the race. Meanwhile, David was passed on the last lap by Jason Leffler and finished 15th.
He and car owner Michael Waltrip will compete in tomorrow's Nextel Cup race, the Aquos 500. Tune into ESPN at 8:00pm ET!