Reutimann Takes Asterisk Off Record with Chicagoland Win
By David Newton ESPN.COM
JOLIET, Ill. -- Two months ago David Reutimann stood on pit road at Charlotte Motor Speedway beside a duplicate of the Coca-Cola 600 trophy he won there a year earlier in a rain-shortened event. He joked about how there should be an asterisk beside his name, reminding everyone there is one every time somebody mentions the victory.
Deep down, you got the feeling he wasn't joking.
Deep down Reutimann wanted nothing more than to prove he belonged in Victory Lane just as much as four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson or anybody else, that he wasn't just the driver who got lucky one day.
He can stop wanting. He belongs.
The 40-year-old driver for Michael Waltrip Racing took the lead from Jeff Gordon on Lap 213 of Saturday night's race at Chicagoland Speedway and dominated the final 54 laps for his second career victory.
As he crossed the finish line, his spotter shouted, "Ain't no rain tonight!"
But there was moisture in the air, and more than just from the tears raining down Reutimann's face and the Gatorade shower in Victory Lane.
"We earned this one," Reutimann said. "Nobody gave it to us and that feels pretty good."
The win felt good for a lot of reasons. It was refreshing in a season in which powerhouse organizations Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing and Richard Childress Racing had won all but one of 18 races.
It was good to see the raw emotion of a driver hungry to win instead of the almost "aw-shucks-I-did-it-again" reaction from Johnson, Denny Hamlin and the Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle.
Not since pole-sitter Jamie McMurray kissed the grass after winning the opener in Daytona have we seen a more popular win or emotional display.
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Six top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 17.0 · Average Running Position of 14.6, third-best · Driver Rating of 88.3, fourth-best · 7,702 Green Flag Passes, second-most · Series-high 2,431 Laps in the Top 15 (63.9%) · Series-high 5,288 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet) · Five wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 15.5 · Series-best Average Running Position of 14.5 · Driver Rating of 90.7, second-best · 80 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 6,981 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 193.336 mph, ninth-fastest · 2,313 Laps in the Top 15 (60.8%), third-most · 4,478 Quality Passes, third-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota) · One win, four top fives, six top 10s · Average finish of 19.0 · Driver Rating of 82.0, 10th-best · 80 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 1,572 Laps in the Top 15 (45.9%), 10th-most · 3,507 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.5 · Average Running Position of 16.0, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 87.5, fifth-best · 2,070 Laps in the Top 15 (54.4%), fourth-most · 3,944 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · One win, six top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 17.8 · Average Running Position of 14.5, second-best · Driver Rating of 89.9, third-best · 6,413 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most · 2,423 Laps in the Top 15 (63.7%), second-most · 4,664 Quality Passes, second-most
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Three wins, four top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 15.1 · Driver Rating of 82.9, eighth-best · 1,043 Laps in the Top 15 (45.3%), 22nd-most
Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) · One top 10 · Average finish of 13.0 · Average Running Position of 15.1, fourth-best · Series-best Driver Rating of 95.6 · Average Green Flag Speed of 193.444 mph, second-fastest
Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · Two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 19.9 · Average Running Position of 16.9, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 82.2, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 193.326 mph, 10th-fastest
Jamie McMurray (No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet) · Two wins, six top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 20.4 · Driver Rating of 79.8, 12th-best · 6,049 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most · 1,736 Laps in the Top 15 (45.6%), seventh-most · 3,456 Quality Passes, 10th-most
David Ragan (No. 18 Pedigree Toyota) · One win, four top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 16.5 · Driver Rating of 80.9, 11th-best · 5,952 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 193.337 mph, eighth-fastest
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford) · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 8.7 · Average Running Position of 16.0, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 85.0, sixth-best · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 193.454 mph