You have to be in it to win it, and that is exactly what David Reutimann and crew chief Rodney Childers did. It was past halfway, the rain was expected to hang around all day, they rolled the dice. It gives David his first Cup win, and Michael Waltrip his first Cup win as owner of MWR. Also, it’s an In Your Face to Tony Stewart, who in an earlier rain delay chastised David for racing too hard before it was time. Guess Rootie was right in racing hard to halfway. Stewart finished 19th.
David Reutimann came out of nowhere to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race, but don’t let anyone tell you he didn’t earn it. Because he flat about gave himself an ulcer waiting out the day’s third and final rain delay before NASCAR finally pulled the plug on the Coca-Cola 600 after 228 of a scheduled 400 laps.
Reutimann, Ryan Newman and Robby Gordon were the only three drivers who chose not to pit when NASCAR threw the caution on Lap 221 when rains fell again on the 1.5-mile track, and they finished that way because the race never resumed. In one fell swoop, Reutimann went from 14th to first place to claim an unlikely victory.
At 4:20 p.m., NASCAR threw a red flag — the third of the day, after the race was rained out on Sunday — NASCAR’s finally pulled the plug at 6:26 p.m., more than six hours after the green flag first flew to start the race, and more than two hours after the red came out for the final time.
That gave the victory to Reutimann, his first in 75 career NASCAR Sprint Cup starts after a previous best of fourth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. Just as significantly, it was the first for Michael Waltrip Racing, a team that barely survived a horrific beginning in 2007 and has slowly clawed its way to respectability. And it was the first for crew chief Rodney Childers as well, and the first Toyota Cup victory by a team other than Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota’s first win at LMS.
In the process, Reutimann joined a storied group of drivers who scored their first career victories in the Coca-Cola 600: David Pearson, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth and Rick Mears.
While fans may have been frustrated by all the rain, for Reutimann and the gang from MWR, the moisture may have well as fallen straight from heaven.
Reutimann, who became the eighth different winner in 12 Sprint Cup races this season. “ … It feels really good. When you envision yourself winning your first Sprint Cup race, you envision it a little different, but man, it’s so hard to win these deals. We’ll take ‘em anyway we can get ‘em.”
Reutimann was especially pleased to be able to deliver the first victory for his boss’s team. “Michael Waltrip gave me the opportunity to go racing in the Cup series when nobody ever would have thought of giving me the opportunity,” said Reutimann, the former dirt-track racer from Zephyrhills, Fla. “So, we got this one today, and hopefully the next one, we’ll earn it.” source