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Reutimann snags pole for Richmond Cup race

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Friday, September 09, 2011

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David Reutimann
With all the permutations involving berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, one thing is certain -- the front row starters for Saturday's Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway won't figure in the Chase battle, at least on their own accounts.

Pole winner David Reutimann (127.383 mph) and second-place starter Jamie McMurray (127.334 mph) both have been eliminated from Chase contention, but they'll lead the field to the green flag in the race that will determine the final three contestants in NASCAR's 10-race playoff.

Powering around the 0.750-mile track in 21.196 seconds in Friday's time trials, Reutimann won his first pole award of the season and the fourth of his career.

"This is our first pole here and the first pole in a while for the Aaron's Dream Machine," said Reutimann, who had not won a pole since May 2009 at Dover. "It's been a dry spell for us, so it feels good.

"Things haven't gone quite the way we wanted them to this year, but we're working hard to get things turned around, and I think what you're seeing is a direct result of some of the stuff that we're doing different."

Neither Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. nor Denny Hamlin turned in the sorts of qualifying efforts that will make protecting spots in the Chase a relatively easy task. All will start deep in the field, with Stewart qualifying 22nd, Earnhardt 27th and Hamlin 28th.

Earnhardt can lock himself into the Chase with a finish of 20th or better. Stewart needs a finish of 18th or better, and Hamlin can secure a spot with a victory. With one victory this year, Hamlin currently holds the second wild-card position.

All told, 14 drivers are competing for the three remaining Chase spots, with Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski already having clinched Chase positions.

A further complication is that, by the time those drivers pick their pit boxes -- a process that mirrors the qualifying results -- all the good stalls will be gone.

Earnhardt was mum after his qualifying laps. Stewart thought his car would perform better in race trim.

"I don't remember what it's like to qualify in the top four here," Stewart said. "It's definitely a lot harder. In the spring race here we qualified in the back and got a lap down early and never could recover from it.

"But I think we've got a car that runs well. It seems like after about 10 laps our car is as good as anybody else's and maybe a tick better after 20 laps on. Hopefully, we'll get a lot of long, green-flag runs."

Mike Skinner, Erik Darnell and T.J. Bell failed to make the 43-car field.

Lineup

POS

CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 127.382 21.196 Leader
2 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 127.335 21.204 -0.008
3 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Power of Pride 127.215 21.224 -0.028
4 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Quaker State / GoDaddy.com 127.083 21.246 -0.050
5 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 127.011 21.258 -0.062
6 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 126.993 21.261 -0.065
7 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 126.778 21.297 -0.101
8 99 Carl Edwards Ford Kellogg's / Cheez-it 126.707 21.309 -0.113
9 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy 126.695 21.311 -0.115
10 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 126.683 21.313 -0.117
11 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 126.665 21.316 -0.120
12 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 126.624 21.323 -0.127
13 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 126.612 21.325 -0.129
14 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M "Honoring Our Heroes" 126.606 21.326 -0.130
15 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Moen / Menards 126.464 21.350 -0.154
16 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 126.446 21.353 -0.157
17 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 126.369 21.366 -0.170
18 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army - 9 / 11 126.369 21.366 -0.170
19 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 126.274 21.382 -0.186
20 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 126.245 21.387 -0.191
21 51 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 126.245 21.387 -0.191
22 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 126.210 21.393 -0.197
23 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 126.186 21.397 -0.201
24 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 126.150 21.403 -0.207
25 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Ollie's Bargain Outlet 126.092 21.413 -0.217
26 30 David Stremme Chevrolet Inception Motorsports 126.068 21.417 -0.221
27 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 126.021 21.425 -0.229
28 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 125.986 21.431 -0.235
29 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Brakes 125.839 21.456 -0.260
30 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 125.716 21.477 -0.281
31 66 Michael McDowell Toyota HP Racing LLC 125.587 21.499 -0.303
32 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Scott Products 125.506 21.513 -0.317
33 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 125.430 21.526 -0.330
34 135 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Pepsi Max 125.430 21.526 -0.330
35 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 125.232 21.560 -0.364
36 34 David Gilliland Ford Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation 125.139 21.576 -0.380
37 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Speed Energy 124.913 21.615 -0.419
38 71 Andy Lally* Ford Interstate Moving Services 124.706 21.651 -0.455
39 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 124.602 21.669 -0.473
40 36 Stephen Leicht Chevrolet Golden Corral 124.596 21.670 -0.474
41 46 Scott Speed Ford Green Stuff Absorbent 124.321 21.718 -0.522
42 32 Mike Bliss+ Ford Safe Skies TSA Luggage Locks 123.825 21.805 -0.609
43 55 J.J. Yeley Ford Front Row Motorsports 124.235 21.733 -0.537
- - Did Not Qualify - - - - -
44 60 Mike Skinner Chevrolet Big Red 123.192 21.917 -0.721
45 37 Erik Darnell Ford Max Q Motorsports 121.962 22.138 -0.942
46 150 T.J. Bell* Chevrolet Green Smoke 121.348 22.250 -1.054

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