David disappointed with 9th in Phoenix Nationwide race by Kellyanne Lynch
11 April 2008
David Reutimann finished 9th in the Basha Supermarkets 200, today's Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. His Michael Waltrip Racing #99 Aaron's Dream Machine struggled with a tight condition during much of the race.
"We were amazingly just mediocre at best the whole race," David stated after the checkered flag. "We never could make it. We've have never really been great here. The crew worked their tails off, but the different scenarios we tried didn't work. The Camry couldn't get in, and when you do get in, it's too tight in the center and too tight off. It's just disappointing because we are a better team than that. It's the worse car we've had all year and if we can run ninth, that's not a bad thing."
Kyle Busch led the field to the green flag, with David rolling off 12th. Brad Keselowski pulled in front of Busch off Turn 4 to lead the first lap. Busch's #18 pulled back inside Keselowski's #88, and the two ran side-by-side. A wiggle cost Busch a few spots on lap 4, but he reclaimed the lead within the next couple circuits.
By lap 7, David had picked up 11th. The Aaron's Dream Machine picked up another spot within ten laps. ESPN reported that crew chief Jerry Baxter had said the bar had been raised with Joe Gibbs Racing moving to Toyota and that the #99 team is working harder than ever.
The first caution was on lap 34 for John Young. Sparks flew from his #37 after he had smacked the wall and had lost a tire. The leaders pit under the yellow flag. Busch had the first pit box and lost a great deal of time following Young on pit road, as did Denny Hamlin. Kertus Davis received the free pass.
Racing resumed on lap 39 with Jeff Burton leading and David running 9th. Busch immediately passed for 2nd and pursued Burton. He took the lead off Turn 4, just before the yellow flag waved.
The second caution came on lap 40 for Jamie McMurray. Clint Bowyer had rear-ended McMurray and had turned him into the wall. DJ Kennington received the free pass.
Lap 44 saw the restart. Burton led, and David was 8th. A number of drivers bounced off each other, just behind the #99.
The yellow flag waved for the third time on lap 63 for a hunk of fender from Jason Keller's Incredible Pizza Company car. Some leaders chose to make stops, including David. Busch and Leffler stayed on track.
Busch led the restart on lap 69, with David running 9th. Within the first three laps of the run, the #99 had gained a spot. On lap 74, Carl Edwards picked up the lead by passing Busch along the inside with fresher tires. Hamlin dropped Busch another position.
The fourth caution came a couple laps later. Kevin Harvick had put the nose of his #33 under Keselowski's #88 and spun him for the pass. Neither sustained significant damage. Eric McClure received the free pass.
Racing resumed on lap 83 with Edwards leading and David in 7th. Hamlin took the top spot one lap into the run. On lap 90, Burton went to pit road with a right front flat. He had run into David a number of times and put himself in the wall off David's front fender. He also cost the #99 a spot. He spent quite some time on pit road.
Edwards reclaimed the lead on lap 93, but Hamlin reclaimed it during the next lap. Edwards looked under Hamlin's #20 on lap 96, seeking the top spot. The pair ran side-by-side. Edwards was marked in the lead going into lap 98, but Hamlin took it back moments later. With 96 laps to go, Edwards moved back into the lead.
Steven Wallace spun, drawing the fifth caution with 95 laps to go. Landon Cassell had turned him. Drivers pit under yellow. Kelly Byres was spun by David Stremme when getting into his box, and his crew serviced the car backwards.
Keselowski stayed out and led the restart with 91 laps to go. He immediately lost the lead to Edwards, who soon lost it to Busch. David was 9th. Busch and Edwards ran side-by-side. With 90 to go, Edwards was back out front. Busch dropped back inside cleared Edwards with 89 to go. Edwards continued to make challenges.
Meanwhile, David picked up 8th by 87 to go. He fell to 9th within the next six laps after Keselowski passed. An ESPN pit reporter stated that David was lucky to get the last caution, because he had a right front tire going down. He didn't realise it until the crew took the tires off. David was reporting that the car was a bit tight in the centre. Baxter said he has seen a dramatic change in David, who isn't happy just to be there like he was last year; he's only happy when he's challenging. By 48 to go, the #99 was 10th.
With 42 to go, Edwards moved back into the top spot. Three laps later, Jason Keller's battered #11 was all over the rear fender of the #99. Keller passed for position, dropping David to 11th. Leffler was pressuring him. Although David picked up 10th within the next few laps, he lost the spot when Leffler passed with 24 to go.
The sixth caution was for debris with 22 to go. The leaders all went to pit road. Busch won the race off pit road, and David came off 7th.
Racing resumed with seventeen laps to go. Busch led, and David ran 8th.
Landon Cassel spun, drawing the seventh caution on lap 184. He was turned by Marcos Ambrose on the restart.
Busch led the restart with twelve laps to go. Jason Leffler lost a left rear tire following contact with Mike Wallace. This brought out the eighth caution on lap 190.
The green flag returned with six laps to go. Clint Bowyer's #2 passed the #99 one lap into the run, moving David back to 9th.
The ninth caution came with three laps to go. Jeff Burton hit the wall after losing a tire due to previous sheet metal damage.
Busch led the green / white / checkered restart. He went on to win while David came home 9th.
Tune in to the Sprint Cup's Subway 500 tomorrow! Coverage starts at 9:00pm ET on FOX.