By Kyle LoJacono
David Reutimann finished as the runner-up at NASCAR’s inaugural race at Kentucky Speedway.
It is the first top-five showing of the year for the former Zephyrhills resident who finished behind Kyle Busch. Reutimann and his No. 00 car started 17th in the Quaker State 400, but he fought his way back and passed Jimmie Johnson on the final lap to post the second-place performance.
“It feels great, it feels good,” Reutimann said. “Second is still second, but it’s certainly a lot closer than we have been in the last month or so, so it felt really good.”
Johnson tipped his cap to Reutimann after the race.
“I had my hands full with the 00,” Johnson said. “I think he probably was the best car at the end.”
Reutimann said he was pleasantly surprised with the finish, as Kentucky is not a track he is familiar with, but what he does know is it can be a treacherous course.
“There are a lot of different places at Kentucky that are a little rough, but there is no way that you can just get around them,” Reutimann said. “Some of the bumps are just there and there’s really not much you can do. There is really only two ways that you can do it. You can work on your car and try to make it more compliant at those spots and not bounce so bad or you can just drive around them.
“Some situations where they aren’t as big, you can just drive around the bumps getting in and be okay,” Reutimann continued. “That’s the only two ways I know how to do it, and I don’t think either one is a sure bet that you’re going to be okay. That’s just the nature of the racetrack and something that you have to work around.”
The showing moved Reutimann up two spots in the Sprint Cup standings to No. 24. He is 91 points behind Clint Bower for the 12th — and final — spot to make NASCAR’s postseason chase.
Reutimann’s best finishes of the year were ninth at Charlotte on May 29 and 13th at both Las Vegas on March 6 and Pocono on June 12.
“It’s been an awful season for us,” Reutimann said. “At the end of last year it felt like we were making some gains. This year, we haven’t had the results we’ve been looking for.”
Reutimann last won at Chicagoland Speedway July 2010. He credits his crew for the running at Kentucky and predicts momentum may be building.
“The guys are trying to figure out why we’re not running well, and hence we have a better car this weekend,” Reutimann said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
NASCAR’s next race is on Sunday, July 17 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway starting at 1 p.m.
–All results as recorded by NASCAR.
David Reutimann 2011 Season
Daytona 500 30
Subway Fresh Fit 500 29
Kobalt Tools 400 13
Jeff Byrd 500 30
Auto Club 400 19
Goody’s Fast Relief 500 15
Samsung Mobile 500 29
Aaron’s 499 14
Crown Royal Presents 31
the Matthew and Daniel
Showtime Southern 500 16
FedEx 400 benefitting 15
Cocla-Cola 600 9
STP 400 22
5-Hour Energy 500 13
Heluva Good! Sour 35
Cream Dips 400
Toyota/Save Mart 350 350
Coke Zero 400 25
Quaker State 400 2
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