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Zephyrhills' David Reutimann earns second Sprint Cup win

JOLIET, Ill. — When David Reutimann earned his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win last year at Charlotte, he heard a lot about how his feat came in a rain-shortened event.

He'll hear no such thing this time.

The Zephyrhills native won Saturday night's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in a romp, running stronger as the race went on and outdueling Carl Edwards and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

"I heard so much stuff for winning a rain-shortened event. Everybody said we didn't earn it," Reutimann, 40, told TNT. "I don't know what they're going to say about this one."

Instead of waiting under an umbrella on pit road to see if his lead would stand, as he did at Charlotte in the 2009 Coca-Cola 600, this victory came with Reutimann's Toyota roaring over the start-finish line. He beat runnerup Edwards by 0.727 seconds.

"It's just been a great weekend," said an emotional Reutimann, who started seventh. "(That was) probably the lamest burnout ever seen at this racetrack. I was tearing up pretty bad."

Just as in Charlotte, Reutimann's father, bay area short-track legend Buzzie Reutimann, joined his son in Victory Lane.

Edwards made a charge in the closing laps, cutting Reutimann's lead to less than a second, but he couldn't get close enough. Gordon was third, followed by Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray.

And it was a relief for a driver who had been robbed of a few potential good finishes because of engine problems this season.

"He is a class act and a really good guy," Edwards said.

Reutimann went around Gordon and took the lead on Lap 213. He moved in front again after a cycle of pit stops, taking the top spot for good in Lap 236 of 267.

It was a rough night for several Chase for the Championship contenders — notably Jimmie Johnson, who dominated the first half but spun out and later scraped the wall to finish 25th.

Kevin Harvick entered with momentum and the points lead but struggled all night, eventually going to the garage with engine problems on Lap 194. He later returned and finished 34th.

Greg Biffle also had apparent engine problems late and finished 35th.

Kyle Busch (17th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (23rd) and Kurt Busch (26th) also had a rough night.

It was the 600th career start for Gordon, who said he's beginning to feel a little old.

"I do when I get out of that race car and everything aches," said Gordon, who turns 39 next month. "It didn't used to be like that."

Johnson, McMurray and Tony Stewart appeared to have the strongest cars early, though Stewart fell back after a jack problem during the first round of pit stops and never contended again.

Johnson was second to McMurray when he spun off on Lap 137 after Martin Truex closed in on Johnson's back bumper and the rear end of Johnson's car got loose. After a pit stop, Johnson re-entered the race in 24th.

Johnson then scraped the wall with just under 100 laps left and had to make an unscheduled pit stop, relegating him to 33rd.

Until Saturday, it had been a wonderful week for Johnson after his wife, Chandra, gave birth Wednesday to a daughter.

Chicago is one of four tracks where Johnson has yet to win.

And now it's one of two tracks where Reutimann has.

Sprint Cup points

Through 19 of 36 races. The top 12 drivers through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Kevin Harvick 2,745—

Jeff Gordon 2,642 103

Jimmie Johnson 2,557 188

Denny Hamlin 2,542 203

Kurt Busch 2,524 221

Kyle Busch 2,488 257

Jeff Burton 2,465 280

Matt Kenseth 2,446 299

Tony Stewart 2,389 356

Carl Edwards 2,345 400

Greg Biffle 2,292 453

Clint Bowyer 2,286 459

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,271 474

Mark Martin 2,249 496

David Reutimann 2,190 555

Note: Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official standings Monday

Zephyrhills' David Reutimann earns second Sprint Cup win 07/10/10 [Last modified: Sunday, July 11, 2010 12:23am]
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