Monday, April 02, 2012

Reutimann "Didn't Just Stop On The Race Track For Fun"

David Reutimann said today that he did not intentionally stop his car on the track with three laps remaining in Sunday’s “Goody’s Fast Relief 500” at Martinsville Speedway, forcing a late caution flag that dramatically impacted the finish.

Reutimann (10) had issues Sunday.
Leaders Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer all crashed on the ensuing restart, handing the lead (and eventually the win) to Ryan Newman and triggering criticism of Reutimann by a handful of his fellow drivers.
“It was pretty much a disaster,” said Reutimann of the final laps Sunday. “We had brake problems early, and we were just trying to solider on and get the finish we needed. Instead, we ended up getting right in the middle of a huge controversy. It’s nothing I needed, nothing the team needed and nothing I ever intended to happen.  I wasn’t trying to mess up anyone’s day. My day was bad enough that I didn’t need to mess up anyone else’s.”
Reutimann said simultaneous issues with his steering and engine forced himto a stop at the end of Martinsville’s front stretch with just three laps remaining. “The engine issue started about 30 laps from the end,” he said. “The car would stumble off the corners and start breaking up midway down the straightaway. It was almost like a carburetor issue -- if we still had carburetors on these things—and we were just trying to hang on and finish the race.
“We had brake issues early on and the car had little or no brakes, so we were just trying to finish and stay in the Top-35. Then with five or six laps left, I went down into the corner and the left inner tie rod failed. I don’t know why, because we really didn’t have much contact during the race. We banged with a couple of guys like you will at Martinsville, and I guess it finally broke near the end. (Teammate Dave Blaney) had pulled off the track a few laps earlier, and we knew if we could finish in front of him, we would end up staying in the top-35 in (owner’s) points, which was our only goal for the day.
Reutimann: "I just wanted to finish."
“(After the tie rod broke), the car was having trouble maintaining minimum speed, and I got the black flag. I tried to make it to pit road, but couldn’t make it the first time because of traffic. I was hung up on the outside, there were cars going by me, and only one wheel would steer. You can’t just turn down across the track in front of everybody. You’ve got to wait for an open spot, and at Martinsville, there aren’t very many open spots. The second time down the back straightaway, we realized we only needed one or two more laps, so we decided to try and push the issue. NASCAR will usually give you a lap or two. Tommy (Baldwin) wasn’t on the radio telling me, `To heck with everyone else,’ he just said to go as fast as I could and get a couple more laps, if possible.

“Ultimately, the motor just quit,” he said. “The only thing I can figure is that it was something internal; a timing belt type of deal, because the motor didn’t actually blow up. The thing just would not run, and I could not get back to pit road. If the motor doesn’t quit, I make it back to pit road, cross the start/finish line again on pit road and maybe we’re okay. If the front end isn’t toed out a mile because the tie road’s broke, it would probably have coasted around the race track and made it. But both things happened at the same time.”

Reutimann said he was unaware that while he struggled with his failing race car, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were waging a side-by-side battle for the race lead. “I didn’t have a clue,” he said. “I didn’t know who was leading, and quite honestly, I didn’t care.  I was trying to stay out of everybody’s way and finish the race. Nothing against those guys, but I didn’t care what they were doing. I was trying to get my car to run two or three more laps, and whoever won the race was irrelevant to me.

Bowyer, Gordon and Johnson crash.
“I didn’t just stop on the race track for the fun of stopping,” he insisted. “Some people seem to think I just pulled out there and said, `OK, I’ve already run 490-something laps, so I think I’m going to stop now, just for fun. I didn’t want to stop the race, I just wanted to finish it.
“I apologize to everyone it affected, (especially) Hendrick Motorsports and their fans,” he said. “We ended up destroying what could have been great days for a couple of the Hendick guys. It’s heartbreaking, and people were saying some really sweet things (after the race). I don’t blame Tommy, and I don’t blame the team.
“It’s my responsibility. I was driving the car. The fault rests on me.”

Reutimann said he will reach out to some of the involved drivers this week, to apologize for impacting the race. “I will definitely have a talk with at least two of them,” he said. “I will absolutely make a phone call to to let them know I wasn’t trying to screw them up. It doesn’t make any difference (what I say) and it doesn’t fix their day. They all deserved to finish where they were running, and they worked hard to do that. I didn’t want to be that guy. I don’t ever want to be that guy. It’s awful. Just freakin’ awful.”

He admitted, however, that there are a couple of drivers who should not sit by the phone waiting for his call. In his words, “(A few) of them have already said enough that I don’t feel like I need to.”


  1. I think you have to take David at his word. He is not the type to blame, and he is not dishonest. He does seem to have some rotten luck, though... Respect him for manning up, and accepting whatever responsibility he had in this deal.

  2. Carol from South Jersey9:57 PM

    Don't beat yourself up.
    Don't listen to these weird fans.
    Buzzie's boy is okay in my book and always will be.

  3. A lot of drivers and fans have overreacted here and have said a lot of nasty things about David and TBR. When it comes to apologizing it should be a 2 way street. I personally feel no apology is necessary on David's behalf because we all know any other driver fighting for a top 35 spot in a limited budget team would have done the same thing but that's my opinion.

    1. Sharon7:19 PM

      I agree with that TOTALLY!

    2. zhills fan4:13 AM

      I also agree!!

  4. Sharon11:30 PM

    Thank you for writing this article,David is a courtious driver and did NOT deserve the responce that he got. He accepted his responsibility unlike some others who chose to blame him.How REDICULOUS that ANYONE would think he CHOSE to just STOP on the race track.Those who will NOT be getting a phone call from him,quite frankly DONT deserve one.I am a DIE HARD Reutimann Fan and DAMN PROUD OF IT.

  5. Sharon11:42 PM

    David is a courtious driver,minds his own business,what happened was just not fair and he didnt deserve it.He accepted his responsibilty and some of his FELLOW DRIVERS chose to make him the center of the situation.There was more that took place than some choose to talk about. David is still number 1 in my book.

  6. Being a 24 fan since the win at the 94 Brickyard, I was initially angry with everyone, only to later realize that this was just one of those racin' deals. End of story.

  7. Anonymous11:25 AM

    The problem is not the driver, it is the Top 35 Rule.

    Full disclosure: if it would help get rid of the rule, I'd love to see the same thing happen a few more times this season.

    Robert Y

  8. Anonymous2:56 PM

    David was not responsible for the ensuing crash. He shouldn't feel bad --getting substandard equipment compared to the pre-ma-danica & he still is able to largely finish races. Hendrick teams can stop playing their little violins...

  9. I like David, but come on, he had two chances to get onto pit road before his car "died", he affected the end of the race, RACEHUB showed it last night, there is no doubt he blew it...

    While I don't argee with some of the vitriol that have been slung at him, he really screwed the pooch of the end of what looked like a great finish!

  10. I don't think anyone is accusing Reutimann of pulling a Paul Menard and causing an intentional yellow. The reason why so many are upset was Reutimann's (and his team's) complete lack of courtesy and respect for the leaders of the race, and the point in which the incident happened. If that exact same thing occurred with 200 laps to go, like with Kasey Kahne's incident, no big deal. But at the end of a race, most drivers show courtesy and respect to the leaders battling for the win. That's why you will see drivers fight the leaders tooth and nail to avoid losing a lap in the middle of the race, but those same drivers will gladly move over and not battle the leaders as the race is winding down. Reutimann's car was literally dying with each passing lap, and it was just a matter of time until it quit completely. Rather than show respect to those battling for the win and pull the car off the track, they opted to stay out and risk causing a problem. The worse case scenario happened, so they have no-one to blame but themselves for the hate they are receiving (and may continue to receive).

  11. David's a good guy, but someone needs to ask him, "What would you do different next time?" If the answer is "nothing", he needs to go back & think about what he needs to do different next time. That can't happen again.

  12. Anonymous11:35 PM

    David did not do anything wrong, The #10 had a mechanical failure.End of story! So FOX announcers you were just plain wrong for throwing David under the bus.David and TBR keep up the good fight! Some people appreciate what you are doing!

  13. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Ya wanna put blame on someone look how the 24 drove down on Clint Bowyer as he was getting passed and not giving up the spot as a gentleman he thinks he is. Reuti is a true gentleman of the sport and would never intentionaly create havoc on the track!!!

  14. Anonymous9:53 AM

    atleast Jimmy spencer has common sence did you catch his comments on race hub? enuff said

  15. Anonymous11:41 AM

    David and Tommy should both get a apology from thew WHOLE Fox Crew by the way they beat him up when the incident happened. No respect for any of them any more. So sick of the bogdie, bogdie crap and both of the two faced brothers. McReynolds you need to apologize to David too.

    1. Bob Kinyon6:08 PM

      I couldn't agree more. Well said

  16. As a 48 fan, and HMS fan I was certainly disappointed with what transpired at the end of the race. With that said, a late yellow at MS is not unheard of-although the cause is something any fan (and commentator) will always want to address- I for one believe DR made a mistake- it happens- he apologized for it and that ends it. That's racin' folks and that's why we love the sport!