MWR 14th and 27th in Nationwide Daytona race by Kellyanne Lynch
16 February 2008
David Reutimann finished 14th in the Camping World 300, today's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway. His Michael Waltrip Racing teammate, rookie Michael McDowell, crossed the stripe 27th and one lap down.
David wasn't happy with his 14th place finish. "You don't come here to run 14th," he said after he'd changed back into his street clothes. "We had a good car. We just... I just picked a wrong line. So I think it's probably my fault that we didn't finish as good as we should have. But I had a great Aaron's Dream Machine. Jerry Baxter and the guys did a great job, so I think we've got something we can take to Talladega. So I'm proud. This time last year, I think we got wrecked early, and I finished about last, so we're starting out our season a whole lot better, even if it's only 14th."
The call to start engines came at 1:22pm ET. David's #99 Aaron's Dream Machine rolled off the grid from the 18th position with Michael's #00 RIMCO Toyota starting 21st. The green flag waved at 1:35pm with Tony Stewart leading the field. Stewart's #20 Armour All machine immediately jumped out in front of the rest of the field. By the time he reached the backstretch, an outside line had formed. Michael picked up a spot one lap into the run. One lap later, David gained 17th. Passing Dale Earnhardt Jr on lap 3 moved David into 16th. Meanwhile, Michael dropped to 22nd.
Lap 4 saw David move into 13th while Michael fell to 25th. Steve Grissom went to the garage on the same circuit. The next time around the track, David was 16th again, and Michael was back up to 22nd. David moved to 15th while Michael fell to 26th one lap later. They were 14th and 25th on lap 7. Brad Keselowski's #88 wobbled a great deal in the high groove, but Keselowski held onto the car. Both MWR cars gained one position on lap 10. Michael passed Cale Gale one lap later, and they were 12th and 23rd the next time around the track. Michael dropped to 26th on lap 13 and lost another spot one lap later. Keselowski again bounced off the wall, passing a car but nearly running into car owner Earnhardt Jr.
On lap 16, Michael plummetted to 32nd; however, David picked up 11th by getting around Jason Leffler. The #99 was 10th one lap later. Earnhardt Jr's #88 passed on lap 20; Michael was now 33rd. Meanwhile, David Stremme's #64 was pushed to the garage after dropping a cyllander; they had a possible transmission issue. Michael was 31st on lap 22.
Martin Truex Jr pushed Kyle Busch into the lead on lap 23. Stanton Barrett and Marcos Ambrose got around Michael three laps later as David maintained 11th. The #00 was up to 32nd by lap 29.
Lap 30 saw Denny Hamlin move into the lead. He didn't have it for long; Truex Jr took it the next time around the track. Kyle Busch grabbed the top spot one lap later. Many drivers fell off the lead lap: Eric McClure, Kertus Davis, DJ Kennington, and Steve Wallace. Stremme and Grissom were still in the garage. On lap 36, both MWR cars lost a spot; they were 12th and 33rd.
Green flag pit stops began on lap 37. Busch was one of the many drivers to hit pit road, giving Kasey Kahne the lead. David had also made a stop; Michael appeared to have made a stop one lap later. On pit road, Robert Richardson backed up to get into his box and blocked Johnny Sauter from leaving his box. Brad Coleman also overshot his still and pit crooked. David Ragan picked up the lead after Kahne led a lap. Kirk Shelmerdine led after Ragan led two circuits. On pit road, Stanton Barrett's car was pushed passed the line when it wouldn't refire; he would have to return to serve a penalty.
Stops cycled by lap 41, and Truex Jr was back in the lead in the #8. David was 14th, and Michael was 31st. The #00 gained a spot a lap later. Lap 45 saw David pick up 13th from Jason Leffler, and he was 12th two circuits after that. Michael was 32nd on lap 49 and was in danger of losing the lead lap. The leader passed him on lap 51.
David was faring a great deal better; he moved up to 10th on lap 51. Kevin Harvick, who had been riding in front of him, had to pit with a fuel issue. David was 9th on lap 53.
The first caution came on lap 55 for an accident involving Mark Green and David Gilliland. Greg Biffle's #16 clipped Gilliland, who got spun into Green. Both Gilliland and Green sustained a great deal of damage and needed to be towed. Biffle pit early under caution. Over the radio, he said, "Guess those guys aren't as tight as they thought they were." Cale Gale received the free pass, and drivers pit under caution. The #99 team got David off pit road three spots ahead. Sauter suffered problems during his pit.
Racing resumed on lap 59 with Truex Jr in the lead. David was sixth. Cars went three and four wide with David running the high line. He went back to two-wide. Brian Vickers took the lead for lap 60, but Truex Jr got back around him. David continued to hold onto 6th, riding the high line. Shortly thereafter, Kyle Busch took the lead. David was 7th by lap 65. Truex Jr passed by lap 74, and Kasey Kahne by lap 76; the #99 was now 9th. David was 10th one lap later.
Ambrose's #59 lost a tire and hit the wall. He was able to drive to pit road, but his debris drew the second caution on lap 79. Kevin Harvick received the free pass, and drivers pit under caution. Stewart was the first driver back on track. Meanwhile, David dropped out of the top ten.
Lap 82 saw the restart with Stewart leading. David was 11th, and Michael was 26th and lapped. With 37 laps to go, David was 12th. The Aaron's Dream Machine was back up to 11th two circuits later, and David was 10th two laps after that. Michael was 27th.
With 27 laps to go, Clint Bowyer was running 3rd when he hit the wall and dropped to the low side of the track. David drove high around him; he was 8th. Bowyer went to pit road with sheet metal damage. David was 7th with 25 laps to go.
The yellow flag waved one lap later for sheet metal debris from the #59. His already damaged car had scuffed the wall again, which ripped off a huge hunk of metal. David was 7th at the time. Bowyer was already on pit road with the hood up on his #2 BB&T Chevy. The field pit under caution.
Busch led the field to the green with 20 laps to go. David was up to 4th. Two laps into the run, cars were squirreling all over the place behind the Aaron's Dream Machine. David jumped to the inside groove with 17 to go; the outside line was coming. Denny Hamlin drove to his outside but did not have support to power past the #99. The front six drove single-file. With 16 laps to go, Earnhardt Jr passed along the outside with Truex Jr pushing, and David was running beside Earnhardt Jr's #5. The field came suddenly upon Ambrose with 15 to go, and as cars darted to avoid him, he hit the wall in his #59 again. This stopped the charge from the outside line momentarily. The front four were even able to break away a bit.
With 14 to go, Earnhardt Jr was able to push Truex Jr to the rear fender of the #99. The front four went from single file to two-by-two. David was on the outside, pushing Brian Vickers. The inside line moved, and David got shuffled back. He was going three-wide as Kyle Busch took back the lead. With 12 to go, Earnhardt Jr shoved his way in front of the Aaron's Dream Machine. David lost no ground, and Matt Kenseth gave him a little push.
With 11 laps left in the race, Stewart gave teammate Busch a big push, and the front three were back to single file. Soon, the front six were single-file, until Brian Vickers broke formation. He slid high, then dove low.
The fourth caution came with just nine laps left in the race. Keselowski got loose and washed up the track into Steve Wallace. Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kirk Shelmerdine, Jason Keller, and Johnny Sauter were also collected. David was 9th under caution.
Busch led the restart with six laps remaining. David rode the low groove as cars darted out to his right. With 5 to go, David was 11th. Vickers jumped out to the lead momentarily along the high groove with Stewart just behind him. The front runners went three-wide, with David trailing the back of that pack. Stewart shot around Vickers along the high side with four laps to go. The field was three-wide for second. Busch attempted to grab the top spot running along the low side, but Stewart dropped in front of him. David was 9th going into the final lap, riding along the inside groove. Stewart went on to win. Cars went two and three wide around David, who got shuffled back to 14th. Michael was 27th, one lap down.
Coverage of tomorrow's Daytona 500 begins at 2:00pm ET on FOX.