Let It Rain! Reutimann Wins First Career Race

Mark RudiCorrespondent IMay 25, 2009

CONCORD, NC - MAY 25:  David Reutimann, driver of the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Reutimann won the Coca-Cola 600 due to a rain out on lap 227.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Reutimann's team took a gamble and it paid off for them.

Reutimann won his first career Sprint Car race Monday in the rain shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

On lap 221, the caution came for rain and many of the leaders, including race leader Kyle Busch, hit pit road with thoughts the race would continue.

But Rodney Childress, Reutimann's crew chief, decided to roll the dice by staying out and inheriting the lead. Reutimann was 14th when the caution came out.

The race was red flagged at lap 227 and after a two-plus hour rain delay, NASCAR decided to call the race, giving Reutimann the win.

Pole sitter Ryan Newman was second, followed by Robby Gordon, Carl Edwards, and Brian Vickers rounding out the top five.

The victory was a first in many ways as it was also the first victory for Michael Waltrip Racing, for Childress and before Monday, the No. 00 had never won. Reutimann's win is also the first win for a Toyota team other then Joe Gibbs Racing.

The Coke 600 had a total of four red flags, three for rain, and one to park the cars on Pit Road to honor all veterans of the United States Military at 3:00.

All the crew members lined up on in the pits and the cars shut their engine and there was a moment of silence at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The win now catapults Reutimann up to 13th in Sprint Cup points, only six points behind 12th place Mark Martin. The top 12 qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

The top five in points did not change.

Kevin Harvick continued to struggle and his car never got going from the drop of the green. Harvick got loose early in the race, getting into Sam Hornish Jr. and putting some damage on the right front of the No. 29 Shell Chevy.

Harvick finished 41st, three laps down.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. also had to wrestle with his car. Like Harvick, the No. 88 machine was not competitive and many times it looked like Earnhardt was going to wreck the car. He finished 38th, two laps down.

Earnhardt and Harvick dropped to 19th and 23rd in points respectively.