Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reutimann Breezes to Convincing Chicagoland Sprint Cup Win

Photo Credit: Jon Harrelson/ Getty Images for NASCAR

With many NASCAR fans reminiscing about the wacky and entertaining 4th of July weekend race at Daytona just one week ago, fans planned on seeing a much different race this Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway situated in Joliet, Illinois.

Within the restrictor plate event a week ago, it's accepted to see a few surprise climbs to the front of the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. Unfortunately, the remaining ovals on the series stock car tour are known for their status quo runners. This year, the #48 Lowes Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson, #11 FedEx Toyota of Denny Hamlin and the presence of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Kurt Busch made for a rather uncomplicated winner selection process through 2010. Heading into one of the so-called 'cookie-cutter' 1.5 oval tri-oval, it initially appeared likely that this fate was going to appear at the 400 mile Chicagoland Speedway night race

Assembling the front row of the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway was the #1 McDonald's sponsored Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray and the #48 Lowes Chevy of Jimmie Johnson. Once the green flag started the Saturday night NASCAR Sprint Cup affair, Johnson wasted no time rushing past McMurray. Taking the lead on lap 1, Jimmie Johnson kept the Hendrick Motorsports-prepped stock car out front through the first 92 laps of the 400.

Racing under the lights for the 3rd time at Chicagoland Speedway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors one team which came to grips of the new style race was the Michael Waltrip Racing organization. Both starting within the top-10 the #00 as well as the #56 Toyota Camrys of David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr were noted for spending the entire race hovering within the group of stock cars.

While fortune found the Michael Waltrip Racing team, another Toyota team was suffering a uncharacteristically off-race at Chicagoland Speedway. The troubles of the Joe Gibbs Racing three-car group starting in qualifying where Denny Hamlin became the high-placed team car in 17th place, one spot ahead of his #20 teammate Joey Logano. Kyle Busch, the 2008 winner of this event, started deep in 33rd place though few observers of the #18 Toyota were concerned that Busch would not find have way to the front. However, in this event, the #18 just never found the pace to move at any point in the night. Fighting hard to branch up to 17th at the end, Kyle Busch proclaimed on Twitter "Rough nite. Fought harder for 17th than most wins. Just didn't hav the speed we needed. Need this wk off to regroup!".

As Joe Gibbs Racing was enduring difficulties through the night, they were not the only juggernaut to experience troubles. Losing the lead the McMurray after leading 92 laps, Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevrolet would fall victim to a tire blow-out through the Chicagoland oval's backstretch on lap 137. Sliding through the infield grass, the Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was little more than a little dirty. Able to continue in the event, the #48 Chevrolet would be removed from front-running competition eventually finishing one lap down in 25th place. Becoming a father to a baby daughter delivered by his wife Chandra this past week, Jimmie Johnson's lose at the track this weekend comes after an enormous, unmatched victory which no race or championship will compare.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images

With Jamie McMurray leading 72 circuits of the 400 with his #1 Chevy, the Dupont #24 Chevy took over the race lead for 165 to lap 200 with Jeff Gordon still attempting to lock his first win of 2010.

With Chevrolets of Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing appearing to be left to their own devices at the front, David Reutimann's Tums-sponsored #00 pushed forward to take the lead with his Toyota. Leading at first for 1 lap as the #24 of Gordon charged back reclaiming the position, Reutimann's Toyota would soon make a more lasting impression in first place. Leading 11 more laps, Jeff Gordon suddenly developed handling issues with his #24 Chevy costing him speed and eventually the race lead to David Reutimann taking a more permanent hold on the 1st place spot on lap 213.

A final round of pit stops for the field saw David Reutimann turn over the lead for 3 laps but his #00 Toyota was recycled back to the front once all teams pitted. Encountering some fierce lapped traffic through the final run, Reutimann sailed to victory at Chicagoland Speedway. The 2nd win in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, the 400 race may prove an even sweeter trophy for the Florida driver. Unlike the first win in the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 where rain played a factor in reducing the race distance, the LifeLock 400 run the full 267 lap duration. Being David Reutimann's 2nd win, it proves that the first win was no fluke which can serve as a major boost to the driver's physique.

Behind Reutimann's #00 Toyota, the Ford of Carl Edwards had reason to celebrate. The highest finish of the year for the driver of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing team, Edwards and the whole four-car operation of Jack Roush have been struggling to find a winning formula for 2010. Jeff Gordon, the #33 Chevy of Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 5 for the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

In Sprint Cup series points, the top-3 remain in their respected positions but changes pivotal to the fast-approach chase did occur. Clint Bowyer climbed from 13th to 11th while Dale Earnhardt Jr lost two positions in the point standings as a result to a dismal 23rd place run falling out of the 12 driver cut. Rising two spots to 15th place, David Reutimann is also a mathematically close 96 points with still two months worth of races to go.

The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup tour receives a week off before hitting the 2.5 mile Brickyard of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup 400
Chicagoland Speedway
Top-10 Finishers Plus Other Notables

Pos # | Car # | Driver | Sponsor/Car Make
1 00 David Reutimann TUMS Toyota
2 99 Carl Edwards Aflac Silver Ford
3 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
4 33 Clint Bowyer Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
5 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet
6 9 Kasey Kahne Budweiser Ford
7 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
8 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota
9 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot Chevrolet
10 98 Paul Menard Moen / Menards Ford

16 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
17 18 Kyle Busch Snickers Toyota
23 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy / National Guard Chevrolet
25 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet

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