David 4th in Nationwide California race by Kellyanne Lynch
25 February 2008
Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann picked up a top five finish in the Stater Bros 300, today's Nationwide Series race at California Speedway. His #99 Aaron's Dream Machine crossed the stripe 4th.
The call to start engines came at 4:13pm ET today, two days after the race was slated to start. Rain over California forced teams to wait forty hours before they could go racing. Qualifying was rained out, and Jeff Burton was given the pole according to last year's owners points. David rolled off 5th.
Burton's #29 led the field to the green flag ten minutes later. Tony Stewart's #20 looked under Burton going into Turn 3 and passed him to lead the first lap.
David went three-wide on lap 2 with Kevin Harvick and Jason Leffler, and he got ahead of the two of them. He held onto fifth, but now Kyle Busch's #32 was all over his rear fender.
On lap 7, David passed Carl Edwards for 4th. He was up to 3rd two laps later, having passed Burton. By lap 14, Larry Gunselman, Scott Lynch, and Mike Harmon had gone to the garage. Elliott Sadler's #9 had also made a stop after rear-ending the wall.
On lap 16, David and Kyle Busch passed Clint Bowyer together, using a bit of draft. David was now 2nd. His #99 was the fastest car on track.
Kyle Busch passed on lap 20, moving the #99 to 3rd. ESPN2 reported that Jerry Baxter had brought the car they'd planned for Vegas for this race. David didn't know this.
Lap 23 saw the first caution after Sadler hit the wall again. His #9 was smoking and had a right front flat. Leaders pit under caution, and David was the second driver back on track. Morgan Shepherd stayed on track and led a lap and pit when the green flag returned.
Racing resumed on lap 26 with Stewart in the lead. David was 2nd. He looked high but got back in line. David commented on the radio that he was racing Kyle Busch hard. "When the shoe is on the other foot, you don't like it, do you, Kyle!" he said over his radio.
By lap 35, David was about two seconds behind Stewart. He continued to ride in 2nd. Jeff Burton in 3rd was nearly two seconds behind him. By lap 32, Burton had caught him. His #29 passed, moving David back to 3rd.
ESPN2 stated that David was not happy with his car after practice; it was too tight. The #99 team made major changes. Now the car is "way too loose in the center". David's reportedly not happy.
The second caution came on lap 50 for Jeff Burton, who had hit the wall in Turn 3. His #29 headed for pit road, and David picked up 2nd. Leaders pit under caution. The #99 was the second car back on track, with Stewart's #20 maintaining the lead.
Stewart led the lap 53 restart with David on his rear fender. The yellow flag came out one lap later for the third time when Kelly Byres spun and rear-ended the wall. Steve Wallace had wrecked him. Brian Keselowski received the free pass. Burton returned to pit road for more repairs.
Under yellow, David relayed a message to the race leader. He asked if he could pass for five points. Stewart's response was simple. "No."
Racing resumed on lap 57 with Stewart leading and David in 2nd. The #99 was going for the lead when the yellow flag waved.
The fourth caution was on lap 65 when Bryan Clausson hit the wall. He'd lost a right rear tire. Burton was back on pit road, and the crew made extensive repairs to the right front. Johnny Borneman received the free pass.
Stewart led the lap 71 restart with David in 2nd. Jamie McMurray jumped out of line and passed his Roush Racing teammate, Edwards. The pair ran side-by-side behind the #99.
Scheduled green flag stops began on lap 96. The #20 team was saying that they wanted to pit Stewart a lap after David. They both pit on lap 98, allowing Kevin Harvick's #33 to take the lead. The #99 made a small air pressure adjustment and put on four fresh tires. David said the car was still struggling off the corner, and he was losing front grip.
Harvick pit on lap 99, giving the lead to Clint Bowyer. Kyle Busch took the top spot when Bowyer made his stop. Busch stopped on lap 102; Dale Earnhardt Jr now had the lead. Mike Bliss led when Earnhardt Jr pit. Bliss pit on lap 106, moving Burton into the top spot.
The fifth caution also came on lap 106 for debris. Bobby Hamilton Jr received the free pass. Three drivers had not pit and were able to make their stops under yellow. Drivers pit under yellow. The #99 gained David ten spots, getting him out third.
Jamie McMurray led the lap 110 restart after he'd stayed on track. He lost it immediately to Tony Stewart. David restarted 4th but picked up 3rd one lap into the run after passing McMurray. David picked up 2nd during lap 111, passing Clint Bowyer. He was immediately challenged by Kyle Busch, but he held his ground. Reports claimed that the #99 may be having engine trouble. Dario Franchitti pit on lap 114 with tire issues.
Busch's #32 was back inside the #99 and passed on lap 115. David hung with him. On lap 117, David took back 2nd. The two battled closely until Busch got back around the Aarons Dream Machine on lap 125. David passed Kyle on lap 139, but Busch passed him back with six laps to go. Borneman dropped to the inside line and crawled toward pit road. Concerns arose as to whether he'd make it back.
With two laps to go, Busch rode the apron as he began running out of fuel. Stewart won. David finished 4th as Kevin Harvick passed him.
Next week's Sprint Cup race will take place in Las Vegas. Coverage of the UAW-Dodge 400 begins Sunday at 3:30pm ET on FOX. Be sure to also watch the Nationwide Series' Sam's Town 300, which begins the day before at 4:00pm on ESPN2.