Reutimann reigns at Chicagoland

July 12th, 2010 by Staff

www.miamiherald.com — David Reutimann didn’t need any help from Mother Nature this time when he won Saturday’s LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway for his second career Sprint Cup Series victory.
Reutimann drove past Jeff Gordon for the lead with 54 laps remaining, and then after reclaiming the top spot following a late-race round of green-flag pit stops, he held off Carl Edwards in the closing laps for his first win in a Sprint Cup race that went the scheduled distance. His maiden victory in NASCAR’s top circuit came 42 races ago at Charlotte, where the May 2009 event was cut 173 laps short of its 400-lap distance due to rain.
“No rain tonight,” Reutimann joyfully said in Victory Lane. “We earned this one, and nobody gave it to us, and that feels really good.”
Reutimann led 52 of the final 67 laps, as he beat Edwards by 0.727 seconds.
“We had a really good car from the time we unloaded until now,” Reutimann added. “We got really free that last run. [Edwards] started gaining on us… Thankfully, he didn’t have enough time to get to us.”
Edwards finished a season-best second, while Gordon, who made his 600th career start, took the third spot. Gordon’s winless streak has now reached 48 races, which is the longest drought for the four-time Cup champion.
“I noticed in my mirror [Reutimann] was following me and gaining on us,” Gordon said. “I knew he was the car to beat. He proved it those last hundred laps for sure.”
Clint Bowyer finished fourth, followed by pole sitter Jamie McMurray.
Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Paul Menard completed the top-10.
Jimmie Johnson, who became a father for the first earlier this week, led the first 92 laps before he experienced several issues that eventually put him two laps behind. When Johnson attempted to pit for the first time in the 400-mile race, he got loose and missed the entrance to pit road. That allowed McMurray to take the lead from him.
Shortly after, Johnson’s rear bumper made contact with Martin Truex’s front end, putting Johnson into a spin on the infield grass.
“I followed Jeff [Gordon] into the corner and got tight being behind him,” Johnson said. “I could hear that [Truex] was trying to squeeze in there on the white line. I just think the air being that close to me disrupted my car, and I felt it earlier in a slide. I just couldn’t catch it, and got turned around there.”
Johnson had to pit unexpectedly again when he made contact with the wall in the late-stages of the race. The four-time defending series champion finished 25th.
Last Wednesday, Johnson’s wife, Chandra, gave birth to their first child, a daughter. The couple has yet to choose a name, but are affectionately referring to her as “Baby J” for now.
Points leader Kevin Harvick also struggled at Chicagoland. Harvick, who won last weekend at Daytona, suffered a fuel pump issue and spent more than 15 laps in the garage for repairs. He wound up finishing 34th.
Harvick’s lead is now 103 points over Gordon.
With seven races remaining before the championship Chase begins, Carl Edwards moved up two spots to 10th in the standings.
“We’re definitely on the event horizon,” Edwards said. “We haven’t quite crossed over. I know we can run that well. We’ve done it. We did it tonight. We just have to figure out how to do that every week.”
Bowyer also climbed up two positions to occupy 12th place. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 23rd and fell outside of the top-12. Earnhardt Jr. trails Bowyer by 15 points.
With the win, Reutimann jumped up to 15th, trailing Bowyer by 96 points.
The series is off next weekend before heading to Indianapolis for the July 25 Brickyard 400.


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