David Reutimann and his #00 Team covered the field at ChicagoLand last Saturday night and it could be a precursor of things to come for Michael Waltrip Racing, if not in the near, at least the not too distant future. I have stated in the past and don’t hesitate to say it again; David Reutimann has been in position to be in the top five more than a few times and possibly could have won a race or two before winning at ChicagoLand.
Now, that doesn’t mean he will be in the Chase for 2010 although earlier in the year I did mention he might be the first from Michael Waltrip Racing to make it into the Chase.
I have been impressed with what’s been going on at MWR all year and, even if they don’t make it into the Chase this year, I do think next year will be a benchmark year for them all around. Michael Waltrip has been making the right decisions to help his teams progress and, so far, it looks like his hard work and plan is working. They still have a ways to go, but, it is great to see the progress they are making with their TDR engines and their cars in general. (Just as a side note, it is my opinion, now that he isn’t in a car driving every weekend, he is able to take better care of the ownership duties and oversight that could make his operation a force to be reckoned with the future. Like I said, it is great to see the progress they are making… Soon we may be talking on a regular basis about the performance of MWR, David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr, too.)
The race on Saturday night was interesting even though at times it seemed one of the usual winners would be in Victory Lane. As has been the case often this season, you just had to watch the whole race to see who would end up the winner.
I found several things fascinating about the Lifelock.com 400 on Saturday night. Most importantly was how so many of the “better” or “stronger” teams just flat missed the setup and struggled all night. Most noticeable amongst them was points leader Kevin Harvick and his #29 RCR team, along with Kurt Bush’s #2 Penske team. Both of them struggled with handling and other problems all night and finished more than a lap down. Admittedly, Harvick had other issues other than just handling, but he never was in contention during the race.
Others, like Jimmie Johnson, had things turn against them and they finished well back in the pack. He wasn’t the only one but he was one of the more recognizable names finishing more than a lap down to the leaders.
Another thing I noticed was the lack of lead changes… there just weren’t that many different leaders all night. It was another noticeable case of how teams either hit or missed the setup for the ChicagoLand track. The ones that hit it, led; the ones that didn’t fell further and further back.
I guess that shouldn’t be much of a surprise since most of the buzz before the race talked about how hard it is to get a handle on this track and how the practices weren’t held at times even close to the type conditions the teams would face during the race. Actually, if it were up to me, (which it isn’t); I think all of the practices and qualifying during the season should be at times more reflecting the time of the actual race. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m just saying…
Well, all of the teams are welcoming having this coming weekend off from competition in NASCAR Sprint Cup and being able to take a breath. Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t be working; it just means they have the weekend off from Sprint Cup competition. It looks like everybody is looking forward the Brickyard… (and that includes me… )
See ya next time… Rusty
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 16, 2010 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and NascarFansView.com
(All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PCNProductions.com)