David 9th at Nashville by Kellyanne Lynch
22 March 2008
David Reutimann came up eight laps shy on fuel in the Pepsi 300, this afternoon's Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. He had to pit his #99 Aaron's Toyota during closing laps, forfeiting 3rd. He finished one lap down in 9th.
"I'm just disappointed," David said after the race. "I'm not aggravated at anybody."
David qualified 19th for today's race. He won his first truck series race here. Last year, he had a shot at the win, but the catchcan got stuck in the tank on pit road. Before the race, ESPN reporter Jamie Little asked him how his car compares to last year's. His #99 had not been fast in practice.
"Unfortunately, it's not anywhere near as good," David replied, "and I don't know why the old Aaron's Dream Machine hasn't been real happy since we unloaded it, but Jerry Baxter and the guys have done a great job trying to get it to a point where we think it needs to be. But it's anybody's guess. We didn't qualify all that well, and we've got our work cut out for us. But hopefully, we'll have a little better result than we had last year."
Kyle Busch led the field to the green flag. By lap 4, David was up to 13th. He rode behind Bobby Hamilton Jr along the inside line, and they both passed Colin Braun. The Aaron's Dream Machine gained 11th within the next three laps and 10th two laps after that.
Brett Rowe's #05 smoked heavily and hit the wall, drawing the first caution on lap 10. Kertus Davis received the free pass back onto the lead lap. He was the only driver one lap down.
Busch led the restart on lap 22 with David running 7th. He'd picked up twelve positions since the start of the race, which was more than anybody else. By lap 40, he was 5th. Around that time, he told crew chief Jerry Baxter he wanted the car to rotate better in the centre. He ran his fastest lap the next time around the track, and by lap 49, he was up to 4th after passing Carl Edwards.
Lap 61 saw the second caution, which was for debris. Marcos Ambrose had just come onto pit road for a scheduled green flag stop and got caught; however, he received the free pass back onto the lead lap. Leaders pit under yellow. The #99 team put on four fresh tires and made an air pressure adjustment to help the car rotate better in the centre of the turns. Clint Bowyer picked up the lead coming off pit road while David remained 4th.
Bowyer's #2 led the restart on lap 64. Two laps into the run, Busch's #20 passed low for the lead. David picked up 3rd within the next couple laps from Scott Wimmer.
On lap 71, Bowyer reclaimed the lead from Bowyer. Wimmer passed the #99 along the inside by lap 80.
During the last caution, David told his crew, "I fell off about ten laps before I pitted, because the frickin' seatbelt - my right side shoulder strap - came unhooked, and I was trying to get it back in."
Busch moved into the top spot again on lap 100. David was the first driver to make a scheduled green flag pit stop during the run. He complained that the front tires were chattering and that the car was getting tight. He took on four tires, and his crew went up on the track bar to loosen the car. The #99 team completed the stop in 15.8 seconds. Busch pit on lap 125, giving the lead to Wimmer. When Wimmer came onto pit road, Kelly Bires picked up the top spot. Brad Keselowski also led during green flag stops. Mike Bliss spun at the entrance onto pit roa don lap 128, but the race remained under green. Brad Baker ran over the cone coming onto pit road and was issued a pass-through penalty. Bliss was also penalysed for missing the committment point after the cone was gone.
Stops cycled by lap 129. Busch was back in the lead, and David was 4th.
The third caution came with 70 laps to go for debris in Turn 3. David Stremme received the free pass. Leaders pit under yellow, and Busch was the first driver off pit road. David came off 5th.
Busch led the restart with 65 laps to go. One lap into the run, David dropped inside Edwards' #60, and he completed the pass for 4th. With 62 to go, the leader got loose and spun out. He clipped his right front tire on Bowyer's #2 and slid through the grass. While Busch went to pit road a tire change, Bowyer picked up the lead and David picked up 3rd. The #99 team reported they were about eight laps short to make it to the end on fuel.
With 21 laps to go, Scott Wimmer's #29 passed for the lead. With 11 to go, Jerry came on the radio and said, "Four laps, and we have to pit."
On lap 218, David stopped for a splash of gas. He was lapped when coming off pit road. Jason Leffler pit from 8th the next time around the track as the #99 was now scored in 10th. David moved up to 9th with Leffler's stop. Scott Wimmer went on to win while the Aaron's Dream Machine came home 9th.
After the race, he was asked if there were any reason for being eight laps shy on fuel. "No, I don't know totally why we couldn't go any farther. I mean, it's just that was just the kind of fuel mileage we were getting. If you're a lap or two shy, you can gamble, but you can't when you're eight laps. So we'll go back and try to figure out why that is. You know, a lot of the other guys were making it. Everybody on the Aaron's Dream Machine did a great job, Jerry Baxter, and I'm really proud of all my guys and the guys at Toyota Racing Development. I know they'll go back, and they'll look at it, and they'll give me fuel mileage. I have all the confidence of the world of that. It's just today, we just didn't have it when it counted. . And I'm really, really, really disappointed. But I'm really proud of my guys."
Sprint Series racing returns next weekend. Coverage of the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway begins Sunday at 1:30pm ET on FOX. The Nationwide Series is off next weekend.