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David Reutimann! Winning Chicago is a career-maker. And Carl Edwards is right on his tail at the finish

  Good guy: David Reutimann breaks through again, winning the Chicago 400 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   JOLIET, Ill.
   Talk about a bolt out of the blue – David Reutimann!
   And this second win of his career was no rainy day fluke. Reutimann, in his fifth season on the Cup tour, was solid all night, wrestling the lead away from Jeff Gordon with 80 miles to go and having no challengers the rest of the way, in winning the Chicago Lifelock 400 on a beautiful summer night at Chicagoland Speedway.
    Gordon faded to third, and Carl Edwards charged to finish third, his best finish of the season.
    "I don't even know what to say," Reutimann said. "I was tearing up pretty bad.
   "No rain tonight. No one gave it to us. This feels pretty good.
   "I heard so much for winning a rain-shortened event.....tonight we earned it.
   "You think about moments like this all your life, about what to say....but, man, I'm about to cry."
    Certainly no one can question this win.
   "It was just so emotional for me too," Rodney Childers, Reutimann's crew chief, said.
   Both Edwards and Gordon went to victory lane to congratulate Reutimann.

  David Reutimann (00) went door-to-door with Jeff Gordon before finishing the pass and roaring off to victory (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   While Reutimann has been a top-15 runner much of the season, with fifth-place finishes at Daytona, Dover and Charlotte, there was little indication of a breakout like this.
    "At times we looked like the car to beat, but David was strong," Gordon said. "When he ran us down, I knew we were in trouble. We made some adjustments the last stop (with 50 miles to go) and just went the wrong way."
   "We had the fastest car at the end of the race, and if we have that, we'll win some races," Edwards said. "David is a class act, a really great guy, and it's good to see him win. He's a nice guy, and really humble. He's the first guy to congratulate you on something, and the first guy to apologize if he thinks he did something wrong.
   "We all have to hang out together here at the track...but he's the first guy you want to hang out with away from the track.
   "But he was getting so big in the windshield at the finish, and I was trying so hard to catch him."
   "If this is anything, it's redemption for David," general manager Ty Norris said. "I've never seen anyone have to walk around for a year and a half apologizing for that win. It was like it came with an asterisk."
   Reutimann's win here certainly erased that.
   "Rodney won me that Charlotte race, with the right call," Reutimann said. "And he won me this race tonight too.
   "Every win helps confidence. This helps my confidence. We've got some work cut out to try to make the chase. That's our goal."
    The story behind this story, of course, is Michael Waltrip, the team owner, who ironically wasn't on hand here last night.
    Waltrip's struggles to make it as a team owner and as an owner-driver are well-known, and more than poignant.
    Now? Reutimann said he's got a handshake deal for a new contract with Waltrip.
   "Friday at Indianapolis we'll have an announcement," Norris said. "These guys proved tonight they deserve a contract.
   "David came to Michael Waltrip Racing when we literally had nothing. And Rodney came when we had almost nothing.
   "They not only deserve contracts, they are part of the foundation for Michael Waltrip Racing.
   "Michael put everything he'd earned in 25 years of racing to create this team. And in 2007 we were on the brink (of failing). Then Rob Kauffman (an international businessman) came in to help save us."
   It was a rather strange night in many respects too.
   -- Kevin Harvick, the Daytona winner just a week ago and typically a strong runner here, was never a factor, and went behind the wall for some extensive repairs. But he still holds on to his points lead heading into the last week's break of the season, which picks up again at Indianapolis with the July 25th Brickyard 400.
  -- Greg Biffle ran very strong early, living up to his own pre-race expectations. But his engine broke late.
  -- Kurt Busch was, unexpectedly, never in the hunt. He's been very strong this year on 1-1/2-mile tracks like this.
  -- Jimmie Johnson dominated the opening part of the race, but he skidded through the infield when trying to block Martin Truex Jr. And a few minutes later his right-front, half-way through a tire run, wore through to the cords, apparently because of some chassis issues. He wound up 25th.
   -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed no momentum from Daytona, never a factor, finishing 23rd.
   -- Kyle Busch, oddly, was never a factor, after winning Friday night's wild Nationwide race.
   -- Tony Stewart had a top-three car early, but a pit stop mistake dropped him out of the hunt.
   -- Jamie McMurray had a top-two car the first half of the race, dueling with Johnson. But he lost that edge once the sun set and the track cooled off.

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         The results for Saturday night's Chicago Lifelock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway




    David Reutimann tears up the grass in celebration (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



Great race. But why would

Great race. But why would Sprint Cup owner Waltrip take a broadcasting job when his team was racing in Chicago?

great race.

I'm very happy that Reutimann

I'm very happy that Reutimann won, but those last ten laps had me on pins-n-needles worrying about some "debris" caution, green-white-checkered finish, etc. He won it the "old fashioned" way. Pure racin'!!!!

Used to see Reutimann a

Used to see Reutimann a couple of times each year when he ran the All-Pro Series. Glad to see him get this win. Hopefully he'll add several more to his total over the next few years.

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