Reutimann claims Richmond pole
David Reutimann has scored pole for the all-important final race of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup at Richmond in Virginia.
Reutimann turned a lap at 127.383 mph, claiming the top starting spot in the race that will begin with more than a dozen drivers trying to secure one of the three spots still up for grabs in the 10-race playoffs that begin next weekend.
The 12-driver field will be set after Saturday night’s 400-lap event, and under the new format, the final two wild card spots will go to the drivers ranked 11 to 20 in the points who have the most regular-season victories.
As Reutimann sees it, he’s just as entitled to race for the victory as anyone else.
“No different than any other race,” said Reutimann.
“You just got out there and try to outrun them. You don’t want to mess with anybody’s day, but I’m out for me.”
Jamie McMurray, another driver out of contention for a Chase spot, will start on the outside of the front row.
Five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson will start third, with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin to his outside. Martin is among the drivers who need to win the race and have several other contenders falter to find his way into the Chase field.
Australia’s Marcos Ambrose in that group, but he will need to win the race to have any chance. He has plenty of work ahead of him starting 34th on the grid.
“You know, I am just confused right now. I thought that was better than that,” said Ambrose.
“I thought that was a decent lap but turns out that it wasn’t. I don’t really know right now what we need to get better at for tomorrow, but we will get to work on it.”
Among the drivers in closest contention for the final three spots, Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 27th, and Tony Stewart qualified 22nd. Earnhardt, who is ninth in the standings, needs only to finish 20th or better to secure a playoff berth. Stewart, who is 10th, needs to be 18th or better.
GRID: Wonderful Pistachios 400 | Richmond International Raceway
|1||David Reutimann||Toyota||Aaron’s Dream Machine||127.382||21.196|
|2||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Tracker||127.335||21.204|
|3||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Lowe’s / Power of Pride||127.215||21.224|
|4||Mark Martin||Chevrolet||Quaker State / GoDaddy.com||127.083||21.246|
|5||Clint Bowyer||Chevrolet||Cheerios / Hamburger Helper||127.011||21.258|
|8||Carl Edwards||Ford||Kellogg’s / Cheez-it||126.707||21.309|
|9||A.J. Allmendinger||Ford||Best Buy||126.695||21.311|
|11||Kurt Busch||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||126.665||21.316|
|12||Kasey Kahne||Toyota||Red Bull||126.624||21.323|
|14||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M “Honoring Our Heroes”||126.606||21.326|
|15||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Moen / Menards||126.464||21.350|
|16||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||126.446||21.353|
|17||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger||126.369||21.366|
|18||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||U.S. Army-9 / 11||126.369||21.366|
|19||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||126.274||21.382|
|20||Landon Cassill||Chevrolet||Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit||126.245||21.387|
|21||David Ragan||Ford||UPS “We Love Logistics”||126.245||21.387|
|22||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||126.210||21.393|
|23||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row Companies||126.186||21.397|
|24||Brian Vickers||Toyota||Red Bull||126.150||21.403|
|25||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Ollie’s Bargain Outlet||126.092||21.413|
|26||David Stremme||Chevrolet||Inception Motorsports||126.068||21.417|
|27||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||Amp Energy / National Guard||126.021||21.425|
|28||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Express||125.986||21.431|
|29||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Brakes||125.839||21.456|
|31||Michael McDowell||Toyota||HP Racing LLC||125.587||21.499|
|32||Bobby Labonte||Toyota||Scott Products||125.506||21.513|
|33||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Pepsi Max||125.430||21.526|
|35||Travis Kvapil||Ford||Long John Silver’s||125.232||21.560|
|36||David Gilliland||Ford||“Honoring Our Heroes”||125.139||21.576|
|37||Robby Gordon||Dodge||Speed Energy||124.913||21.615|
|38||Andy Lally*||Ford||Interstate Moving Services||124.706||21.651|
|39||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||NEMCO Motorsports||124.602||21.669|
|40||Stephen Leicht||Chevrolet||Golden Corral||124.596||21.670|
|41||Scott Speed||Ford||Green Stuff Absorbent||124.321||21.718|
|42||J.J. Yeley||Ford||Front Row Motorsports||124.235||21.733|
|43||Mike Bliss||Ford||Safe Skies TSA Luggage Locks||123.825||21.805|
|44||Mike Skinner||Toyota||Big Red||123.192||21.917|
|45||Erik Darnell||Ford||Max Q Motorsports||121.962||22.138|
|46||T.J. Bell*||Chevrolet||Green Smoke||121.348||22.250|