David Reutimann said the timing belt went bad in his car but for laps the #10 limped around Martinsville Speedway before stopping on the track and causing a race altering caution.
After the race Dale Earnhardt Jr questioned why Reutimann was still driving around the track at a reduced speed.
“I would like an explanation on why that happened — from him, his crew chief, somebody,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It doesn’t seem like there could be a logical reason to end up stopped on the track. You got a problem, get on pit road. I don’t believe he had any trouble getting (to the pits). I would like to hear a good excuse, to be honest with you, because I’m sure it would be laughable.”
Likewise Brad Keselowski was mindful of what happened at the end of Sundays race. “That was really, really uncalled for and ruined the day for a lot of people from having a lot better finishes. I think we’re all really, really frustrated with (Reutimann).”
Timing belt or not, brakes or not, the truth is Reutimann is driving a car promised to Danica Patrick for nine more races this season. The lone goal of Reutimann and his Tommy Baldwin Racing team is to ensure that the car stays inside the top-35 in owner points so Patrick does not have to qualify for any of her scheduled races on time.
Following the events at Matinsville the car is one point outside the top-35. Following a meeting with Reutimann officials for NASCAR said that there would be no further penalties for the incident but the court of public opinion is already shaking their heads following the wild finish that resulted due to the Reutimann caution
Prior to the caution Jeff Gordon was running down teammate Jimmie Johnson for the lead. On the ensuring restart Clint Bowyer wiped both drivers out heading into turn two. Ryan Newman was able to get past the skirmish and held off the field on the final restart to score his 16th career win and earn the grandfather clock.
One question remains to be answered though.
With Patrick’s next race at the Sprint Cup level scheduled for Darlington on May 12th. If the #10 of Reutimann is unable to get back into the top-35 before then it is possible that some sort of deal could be worked out to put her in the #36 currently driven by Dave Blaney.