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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Waltrip hopeful Reutimann can stay hot, make Chase

He was in Iowa when David Reutimann won the first “real” victory for his Michael Waltrip Racing team, but team owner Michael Waltrip weighed in this week on his team’s breakthrough win.

"It was amazing just to watch David Reutimann drive up there and steal the lead from Jeff Gordon and hold off a determined Carl Edwards,” the always talkative Waltrip said. “That's how you do it right there. There was no fuel mileage involved. There was no rain involved. No one stayed out and got two tires. That was a race. That was, 'Okay, who's got what? Let's go race and see.' And David Reutimann was the guy that had the most for them."

He said he thinks the Chase is still within Reutimann’s grasp … though Watkins Glen might offer a snag in the team’s plans.

"That's 15 points a race. That's three to five spots, depending on where you finish. Certainly, that's very doable. The great thing is most of the people ahead of him, he outruns them. Performance is what will make the difference. So heads up if you just go race each other, I like his chances,” Waltrip said. “There's only one caveat to that. One of them is Watkins Glen, and David would rather go to a war zone then there I bet. But we've been testing a lot and he's gotten a lot better. He got a top-20 at Sonoma. I know race car drivers, and I'll bet he's thinking, 'I'll show y'all what I can do at Watkins Glen."

Truex part 2
Speaking of Michael Waltrip Racing, young Ryan Truex will make his first career start in the Nationwide series this weekend at Gateway.

"It is a really big opportunity and I'm just excited to get started. I can't wait to get the first race started,” Ryan Truex said. “Three years ago, I remember racing a Legend car at Wall Stadium in New Jersey and now I'm here. It's hard to believe how fast it's come, but I'm excited, ready to get started and make the most of my opportunity."

For those unfamiliar, he is the younger brother of MWR driver Martin Truex Jr. and has been tearing it up in the regional series in the past couple of years. If he can keep up the pace he has in the other series, look for him to do a lot more Nationwide racing starting next year or sooner.

400 for Kimmel
Frank Kimmel has made quite a name for himself driving in the ARCA series, and this past weekend he made his 400th start in the series. While ARCA traditionally is considered as a place people start out before heading to the higher levels of racing, Kimmel decided to make it a home, and has been racing against some of the best up-and-coming drivers for more than a decade, becoming the face of the series in the process as he kept on winning.
"It's amazing to me that we have made it this far," commented nine-time champion Kimmel. "When I started my first ARCA race I didn't know if that would be my last, and I wouldn't get the opportunity to do it again. To think that we finally got hooked up and ran for an entire season, and then we were able to run for championships and to accomplish all that we have. It's pretty remarkable that we have been this fortunate to be here."

While it isn’t on a level with the top NASCAR series, the fact he remains competitive shows he still has great racing talent, and 400 is a number to be celebrated in any series. Congratulations to Kimmel for all his success and reaching this milestone.

Good week for Toyota in Nationwide
The top 5 finishers in the Chicagoland Nationwide race were all Toyotas … Busch, Lgano, Brian Scott, Reutimann, Jason Leffler. Not too bad, and a rare accomplishment in today’s motorsports era, where parity is common.

Vickers working his way back
Speaking of Toyota drivers, I saw online that Brian Vickers, who was sidelined this year from his Cup ride by medical issues, is on the way back to racing. He posted a video on Facebook of him driving the pace car around the Chicagoland track, just shy of full speed, and you can tell he is itching to get back to racing. Unless the doctor forbids it, don’t count his career over yet. He wants to come back and will do whatever is necessary to make that happen.

Vote for your favorite drivers
Voting has begun in the lower series (Nationwide, Trucks, etc.) for most popular driver. To vote for your favorite driver in Nationwide or Trucks, visit

Also, is hosting balloting forNASCAR's regional touring series -- the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Mexico Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Write-in votes are allowed.

Reigning most popular drivers include Brad Keselowski (Nationwide), Ricky Carmichael (Trucks), Steve Park (K&N Pro Series East), Ted Christopher (Whelen Modified Tour), and Andrew Ranger (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series).
Jr. will be on Make-A-Wish segment

Jr. grants a wish
When ESPN airs its present its “My Wish” series next week during Sportscenter broadcasts (July 18-22), in which sports-themed wishes are granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, NASCAR will be represented in the form of Dale Earnhardt Jr. “My Wish” offers a behind-the-scenes look at the wish-granting experience, and typically featured the wish children participating in sports-related activities with their favorite athletes.

No exact details of the wish involving Jr. have been announced, but whatever it is, it has to be rewarding to a driver to be able to give back to the fans in such a personal way. You can bet that kid won’t be thinking about his medical condition when he’s hanging out with Jr.

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