David 18th in BGN Texas race by Kellyanne Lynch
3 November 2007
A flat tire took David Reutimann out of contention sixty laps into the O'Reilly Challenge, today's Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Although he got his #99 Aaron's Toyota back on the lead lap and back in the top ten, he made a stop three laps before a debris caution and was trapped a lap down. He finished in 18th while Michael Waltrip Racing developmental driver Michael McDowell finished 20th in the #00 Napa/Aaron's Camry in his first race in the series.
"We sat on the pole, which was great for our team," David said after the checkered flag. "We had a solid car until we had a right front tire go flat. We tried to fight back and even worked our way back to the top-five, but the cautions played against us. We'll head to PIR (Phoenix International Raceway) looking for a top-five."
The call to start engines came at 3:37pm ET. David's #99 Aaron's Dream Machine led the field to the green flag at 3:46pm, with Michael starting 17th in the #00. Tony Stewart battled David throughout the first lap and edged in front of him to lead the first lap of the race. The #99 fell into 2nd but was quickly challenged by Kyle Busch's #5, who passed during the third lap.
The yellow flag waved for the first time on lap 4 after Jeff Burton spun Mike Bliss' #22; Burton reported that Bliss cut him off on track. Brad Baker was also collected.
Lap 9 saw the restart. Stewart led, David was 3rd, and Michael was 16th. Sam Hornish Jr passed the #00 two laps into the run. By lap 15, Michael had fallen to 20th. David remained 3rd throughout the run.
The second caution came on lap 20 for Hornish Jr, who lost his right front tire. His #12 slid through the grass. Leaders pit under yellow. David asked his crew to make his #99 turn better in the corners, and crew chief Jerry Baxter called for a four-tire stop and a track bar adjustment. Brad Baker received the free pass.
Busch led the lap 26 restart. David was 3rd, and Michael was 28th. One lap into the run, the #00 gained a position. Tony Stewart passed the #99 the circuit after that, putting David back to 4th. On lap 32, the Aaron's Dream Machine was back up to 3rd, having passed Matt Kenseth.
On lap 34, Stewart swooped under Busch's #5 and took the lead. By lap 50, David was up to 2nd as Stewart continued to lead. Michael was 26th. By lap 58, the #00 was up another spot.
David lost his right front tire and scraped the wall on lap 60. He pit for four fresh tires and returned to the track. He was 33rd and a lap down after the stop. Michael was now 24th. By lap 73, the #00 had lost the lead lap, but both Michael and David had gained a position. They were 23rd and 32nd respectively.
Drivers had begun pitting around lap 73. David moved up to 30th by the time the field completed the next circuit. Michael was 22nd on lap 76. Kyle Busch's pit moved David into 29th the next time around the track. Dario Franchitti pit on lap 81, allowing Michael to gain another position. David soon gained 28th, and he was 27th on lap 83. He was up another spot three circuits after that and bounced up to 24th a lap later as stops continued. Michael was 20th. Lap 87 saw David in 23rd.
Michael pit on lap 87. David was 21st but moved up two spots one lap later. Race leader Stewart pit on lap 89, along with a number of the other front runners. Kevin Harvick led a lap before his stop moved Greg Biffle into the lead. David was 15th. Lap 91 saw Biffle go to pit road, allowing Jeff Burton to take the lead.
Stops cycled when Burton pit on lap 93. Stewart was back in the lead, and David was four seconds behind him in 2nd. Michael was two laps down in 31st. Three laps later, Harvick had passed David and had moved the #99 back to 3rd. One lap past halfway, Denny Hamlin got around the Aaron's Dream Machine. David was 5th by lap 106.
On lap 124, David made a pit stop as Stewart continued to lead. Unfortunately, it was incredibly ill-timed.
The yellow flag waved for the third time four laps later for debris in Turn 3. David was trapped one lap down in 19th while Michael was two laps down in 28th. Leaders pit under caution, and Casey Mears received the free pass.
Hamlin led the restart with 68 laps to go. David was 16th and the first driver one lap down. Michael was 24th. David went three-wide with others racing for the free pass and lost two spots to Robby Gordon and David Ragan.
Stanton Barrett's #20 hit the wall hard, drawing the fourth caution on lap 134.
Lap 140 saw the restart with Biffle leading. David was 17th, the first driver one lap down. He loosened up Hamlin and moved ahead of him to get back on the lead lap; however, David was then repassed and lost a spot to Ragan. He was 18th by lap 143.
Around lap 169, race leader Biffle pit with a suspected flat that he turned out not to have. Harvick inherited the lead, and he went on to win. David finished 18th, and Michael came in 20th. Meanwhile, Carl Edwards clenched the Busch Series championship.
Watch David and Dale in tomorrow's Nextel Cup's Dickies 500. Coverage starts at 3:00pm ET on ABC.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 00 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing position: 20th
How was your race?
"At the beginning of the race we were struggling with a loose condition. It's partly my fault because I thought we needed to be a little looser in practice than we should have been. The Michael Waltrip Racing team did really well getting us adjusted on the pit stops. We were fighting the car a little early on and I was just getting used to the pace of everything. During the second pit stop we had a pit road violation which brought us down under green flag conditions and we lost some laps there. All in all, it was a good day for us. With this being my first Busch race, to come out of here with a top-20 at the end there was good. We needed to get all the laps we could under my belt and that's what we were able to do. We'll go to Phoenix -- my hometown -- and hopefully have a better showing with the same plan, run all the laps and do the best job we can."
David's qualifying quotes:
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting position: 1st
How was your qualifying lap?
"It's been a pretty good day so far. My car was good off the trailer and the guys picked up where they left off last weekend in Memphis with a great car. I'm hoping that we'll have a good day tomorrow."
Why is your Busch program so good right now?
"We've been on the verge of doing some good things pretty much all year long, but haven't been able to close the deal. Jerry Baxter (crew chief) and the guys have been doing all kinds of things to the cars, not just to get them better but making them capable of winning races. It's that time in the season where Jerry knows what I like in the car and he's giving it to me on a weekly basis. In turn, you see the results on the race track."
How do you handle the highs and lows and maintain the even keel you seem to have?
"You can ask anybody in the (Michael Waltrip Racing) organization that I'm pretty much a wreck most of the time. I pray a lot and I have strong faith. We have great people that are around me and keep me focused. It's a team effort all the way across the board. The Busch team has certainly been a highlight this year and keeping me going. It's so tough (on the Cup side), it's a confidence boost to come over here on the Busch side. In turn, it helps on the Cup side because I'm doing well on the Busch side."