David 23rd in Richmond BGN race by Kellyanne Lynch
7 September 2007
Within the first several laps of tonight's Busch Series race at Richmond, the #99 Aaron's Dream Machine stopped with a left front flat and was caught on pit road when the yellow flag waved for debris from that tire. Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann lost the lead lap and finished the Emerson Radio 250 two laps down in 23rd.
"We just struggled right from the beginning today," David said at the end of the race. "I had a cut left-front tire early in the race and had to come down pit road -- that cost us track position and that's ultimately what we had to battle all night. We had a fast car and I think we were able to make a lot of changes to the car, but we could never make up the track position that we lost early on. It's real disappointing because I know we had a car that was a lot better than where we finished."
The call to start engines came at 8:08pm ET, and the green flag waved nine minutes later. Pole-sitter Kyle Busch led the field to the stripe. Although he spun during his second lap in qualifying, David kept the car off the wall and rolled off 17th. Marcos Ambrose passed on lap 3, moving back the Aaron's Dream Machine; Ambrose had gained three spots since the start of the race. David Ragan got into David's left side on lap 5, causing the #99 to drop dramatically through the ranks with a flat tire. Debris scattered on the track; however, David had to pit under green.
NASCAR finally drew the first yellow flag for debris from the #99's tire on lap 10, while the car was on pit road. David was now last and two laps down; however, he got the Aaron's Lucky Dog and gained back one of those laps.
Busch's #5 led the lap 15 restart. David was last throughout the run as others got lapped.
The second caution came on lap 36 when Mike Wallace turned Kevin Conway into the outside wall. Kyle Krisiloff received the free pass back onto the lead lap, and drivers pit under yellow. Kevin Harvick hit the left front of Clint Bowyer's #2 while coming off pit road.
Lap 40 saw the restart. Because he'd stayed on track, David was 38th and at the tail end of the lead lap. Leader Kyle Busch put him back one lap down almost immediately. Harvick was black-flagged for leaving pit road for running over equipment, which allowed the #99 to move into 37th. David got bumped around lap 85 when Brad Keselowski and Todd Bodine were battling for position, but he did not appear to pick up damage.
David went a second lap down to leader Kyle Busch on lap 100; seventeen cars were on the lead lap. Seventeen laps later, the #99 got around Brent Sherman for 36th.
John Graham lost a tire and hit the wall, drawing the third caution on lap 119. He had been going three-wide with AJ Allmendinger and Steve Wallace, and they came down the track on him. Bobby Hamilton Jr got the free pass, and drivers pit under caution. Jamie McMurray was black-flagged for running through several pit boxes before getting to his own.
Busch led the lap 127 restart. David was 33rd, two laps down. Passing Richard Johns three laps into the run gained the #99 a spot.
Matt Kenseth took the lead on lap 144 and was part of the upcoming caution. The yellow flag waved for the fourth time on lap 158 when Steve Wallace dropped low and spun Paul Menard. Kenseth was just behind them and spun when slowing. Brad Keselowski received the free pass. The leaders pit, and Busch was the first one off pit road.
Racing resumed on lap 167 with Busch leading and David two laps down in 29th. Passing Bryan Clauson two laps into the run advanced the Aaron's Dream Machine. David passed Kelly Bires two laps later, also for position.
The fifth caution came on lap 185. Tim McCreadie had run David Ragan up the track, ripping up the left front fender of Ragan's #6. Although the race remained under green, the #6 made a full stop on the track and forced the caution. As a result, NASCAR black-flagged Ragan, who went to the garage.
Busch led the lap 190 restart with David running 28th and twice lapped. Passing Johns four laps into the run moved him into 27th.
Lap 195 saw the sixth caution. Jason Leffler and Brad Keselowski were running side-by-side when Bobby Hamilton Jr took them three-wide. Keselowski got squeezed in the middle. The free pass went to Marcos Ambrose.
Fifty laps remained when Busch led the restart. David was 25th after Keselowski's departure. Bryan Clauson was black-flagged for smoking but returned to the track shortly after the mandatory stop.
David was marked on the lead lap starting on lap 209; he had passed race leader Busch. He was running top ten times. He lost that second lap again on lap 218. Tim McCreadie pit shortly after going a second lap down, allowing David to move into 24th on lap 230.
Allmendinger spun, bringing out the seventh caution with 14 laps to go. Steve Wallace got the free pass. Some of the leaders chose to make stops. Kyle Busch was not one of them, although he said over the team frequency that he thought he was losing a tire.
Racing resumed with nine laps to go and Busch leading. David was 24th, two laps down. The #99 passed Bobby East's #21 on lap 245.
With five laps to go, the yellow flag waved for the eighth time. Derrike Cope's #28 was smoking and may have dropped oil. NASCAR red-flagged the race on lap 247 at 10:13pm and returned the field to yellow six minutes later.
Busch led the field to a green/white/checkered restart. David was 23rd, two laps down, which is where he finished. Busch won after leading 225 laps.
Be sure to watch David and teammate Dale Jarrett in tomorrow's Chevy Rock & Roll 400! Coverage begins at 7:00pm ET on ABC.