David Reutimann: Why Stupid Driving Like That Is Going to Ruin NASCAR

Hugo OlguinContributor IIIApril 11, 2012

FONTANA, CA - MARCH 23:  David Reutimann, driver of the #10 Accell Construction Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2012 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

For David Reutimann's sake, it is a good thing that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had some time off to forget about the controversy at Martinsville.

I have taken time to reflect on the entire situation regarding Reutimann, and I believe that the incident is part of a troubling situation that NASCAR needs to take a look at.

There was no reason for David Reutimann to stay out on the track like he did for those remaining laps.  His car was basically falling apart, and he could not keep up with the race pace.  It was only a matter of time before his car broke on the track and caused a caution.

Once Reutimann's car stopped on the track, the caution came out, and it completely changed the race.  It cost Jeff Gordon a victory after he lead over 300 laps. 

The question, then, is why was David Reutimann still on the track riding around?

He had no chance of winning or getting a good finish.  He was out trying to gain a point to stay in the top 35 in owners' points.  

I don't believe being in the top 35 matters as much as it use to anymore.  Even with cars outside the top 35, there are the same usual drivers and teams making the races.  It really matters for the bottom three drivers.

The time where it counts to be in the top 35 in owners' points is when a rookie gaining experience needs to make races.  The rookie who benefits from David Reutimann fighting to stay in the top 35 is Danica Patrick. 

While the No. 10 car is "owned" by Tommy Baldwin Racing, that particular team gets support from Stewart-Haas Racing.  Danica Patrick is driving the No. 10 car for 10 races this season, and making sure she makes races is vital to that team.

The deal between Stewart-Haas and TBR came together when car owner Tommy Baldwin sold his owner points from Dave Blaney's car to Tony Stewart.  That meant Danica was guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500, while Blaney had to fight his way into the race instead of being locked in.

What Reutimann was doing was trying to stay in the top 35 in owner's points at any cost to keep Danica locked in Sprint Cup Series races.  Though both Reutimann and Baldwin deny that, I find that hard to believe that Danica wasn't a motivating factor.

What is going to ruin NASCAR is situations like this where teams buy and sell owners' points and will do anything they can to keep in the top 35—even if that means staying on the track with a car that can't keep up.  

Reutimann's actions completely changed the finish of the race in Martinsville.  It angered drivers, and I don't blame them.  

What Reutimann did is not racing.  It was poor judgement combined with big business.

If Reutimann does anything like that again, NASCAR needs to step in.  Either park the car or make them sit out a race.

There was always a respect between drivers to stay out of the way of faster cars and not affect the finish of the race.  Maybe someone needs to explain to Reutimann and Baldwin.