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Denny Hamlin puzzled that David Reutimann is still upset over Pocono crash

Posted by Digory Kirke on August 8, 2009

Denny Hamlin, one of my top ten drivers. Now an Ex replaced by Marco Ambrose

Denny Hamlin, one of my top ten drivers. Now an Ex replaced by Marco Ambrose

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin says he was surprised to learn that David Reutimann was still upset Wednesday over contact between the two drivers in Monday’s rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.

Hamlin says he talked with Reutimann Monday night about the contact that sent Reutimann’s Michael Watrip Racing Toyota spinning into the path of Marcos Ambrose and ruining a potential top-10 finish for both drivers.

Reutimann, who entered Pocono 13th in the standings but left in 16th, suffered a severe blow to his hopes of making NASCAR’s Chase For The Sprint Cup while Hamlin went on to win the race and improve his own Chase chances.

Hamlin was somewhat caught off guard by Reutimann’s comments during an appearance on Wednesday that he was still, “mad as heck, to be honest with you, about that whole situation.”

“We actually talked that night,” Hamlin, speaking on Friday at Watkins Glen International, said in reference to the night of the race. “I talked to him and he seemed fine. He didn’t say anything, that he was angry or anything. I’m sure he was, but he seemed fine that night. I’ve been in the situation before where you’re battling for Chase spots. It’s not always about one race. There’s a lot of races that lead up into it.”

While Hamlin’s Chase prospects are fairly safe – he has a 251-point buffer on 13th-place Kyle Busch – Reutimann could be in trouble with just five races left before the championship-determining field is set.

He trails 12th-place Greg Biffle by 121 points for the final championship-eligible spot and would need to leapfrog four drivers to move into that position.

Hamlin believes that he can’t be held solely responsible if Reutimann misses the Chase, however.

“Yeah, you have one bad race, but it’s a culmination of races that are before that that kind of put you in that spot,” Hamlin said. “We definitely didn’t help his Chase chances for sure, but it happens. It really does. And I’ve been in the same situation.

“I’m definitely apologetic about it, for sure. It’s something that I didn’t mean to do, but in the same sense you can’t put the blame all on me that he doesn’t make the Chase.”

MY WORD

Hey Denny, how about we do this. Swap your points with David’s. Then see if you are “fine” with being taken out and dropping a couple of positions?  They texted, which is a far cry from actually sitting down and hashing it out..

Hamlin better keep out of the way for the 47 (Marcos Ambrose) this Sunday or he WILL be moved.

Dirty Denny !! Someone hit it right on the head when they gave him that nickname ! It’s why I dropped you (Denny) from my top ten drivers and replaced you with Marcos. I lost all respect for you that day and at that race.

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Reutimann still angry about Pocono wreck

Posted by Digory Kirke on August 6, 2009

David Reutimann is not ready to forgive Denny Hamlin for the accident at Pocono Raceway that essentially ended his championship hopes.

“I’m not happy. I’m aggravated. I’m mad as heck,” Reutimann said Wednesday during an appearance for Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

“I’m not sugarcoating any of that. I’m still really, really aggravated. Maybe we can get things sorted out.”

Hamlin had dominated much of Monday’s race, but late pit strategy had shuffled him back to 13th when he ran into Reutimann in his charge back to the front. He shoved Reutimann, who was running ninth, through the turn. The contact caused Reutimann to lose control of his car, bounce off the wall and into teammate Marcos Ambrose.

Hamlin went on to win the race, while Reutimann finished 29th and dropped three spots in the standings to 16th — 121 points out — with five races remaining before the Chase field is set. He entered Pocono in 13th place, just 68 points out of the top 12.

The two have not spoken, although Reutimann said Hamlin texted him an apology after the race that didn’t make him feel any better.

“We can talk about it and I can get his take on it,” Reutimann said. “If he tells me he made a mistake and he’s sorry, then that’s the way it is. It doesn’t make you less aggravated or anything like that.”

Asked if it upset him further that Hamlin went on to win the race, Reutimann said “that didn’t help.”

Hamlin gave a detailed explanation of the incident following his win, taking blame for the contact but explaining how hard he was racing for the victory. He wanted the win, his first of the season, to honor his late grandmother, who had passed away three days before the race.

“It was a lot of emotion. I got guys in my mirror that I know that I’ve got to race for the win,” Hamlin said. “I’m racing for a win on a particular weekend where it means more than any other weekend. I think emotion was probably part of it.”

Reutimann said he’s not writing off the Chase yet, but knows it will be difficult to earn a berth after the Pocono accident. Next up is the road course at Watkins Glen, where he was 33rd in his only previous appearance and said he looks forward to “as much as a root canal.”

Still, it’s been a breakthrough season for the journeyman driver, who has helped legitimize Michael WaltripRacing. He was in legitimate Chase contention for 20 weeks and won the first Sprint Cup Series race of his career at Lowe’s in May.

He also made the cover of industry magazine NASCAR Scene for the first time in his career this week, under the headline “Why Not Me?” Some team personnel have joked the Aug. 6 edition was much like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

“I am not a big believer in stuff like that, but my team, those guys are super superstitious about things like that,” he said.

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Denny Hamlin wins Pocono but at what cost?

Posted by Digory Kirke on August 4, 2009

Denny Hamlin may have gained a few fans Monday, but he no doubt garnered some enemies on the track as well.

Chief among them was David Reutimann who saw his hopes to make this years Chase for the Sprint Cup take a serious hit caused by a tangle with Hamlin.

During Hamlin’s relentless pursuit of the win in Monday’s rescheduled Pennsylvania 500, he was fighting his way back through traffic when on lap 174 he got behind Reutimann pushing his Toyota hard enough to spin Reutimann around and into his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose.

“I got to him coming off turn one. I drove into turn two, got to him, nudged him actually in the middle of the corner. I let go of him,” Hamlin said. He pulled away about a car length, but then he slammed on the brakes obviously to let me know he was upset.”

I plowed him off of two really hard. I said, ‘Man, all right, I understand, I get it.’ In turn three, I got to him again. He got really loose off four. When I got to him and pushed him, I was hoping he was just going to come off the corner, straighten up, I was going to push him down the straightaway. Instead, kept my throttle on him, and when I did I spun him into his teammate.

It was a lot of emotion. I got guys in my mirror that I know I got to race for the win. I’m racing for a win on a particular weekend where it means more than any other weekend. I think emotion was probably part of it. But I got to make it up to those guys somehow, cut them some breaks on the track or something.”

Hamlin went on to win, Reutimann finished 29th while Ambrose finished 34th.

Perhaps the worst news for Reutimann though is the point’s loss. He came into the day in 13th place with a legitimate shot to make the top 12 and earn a spot in the Chase for the Championship. He lost three spots and is now 16th.

“Not sure what happened there,” Ambrose said. “We were running in the top-10 and all of a sudden David (Reutimann) got turned by the 11 (Denny Hamlin) car and I had nowhere to go. That pretty much ended our day.”

MY WORD

Denny Hamlin did not want to be at Pocono. His grandmother died and he was very emotional. Now here’s here’s where I sound like a cold heartless bastard. SUCK IT UP! Denny many of us aren’t where we want to be, or have to do something and can’t be where we want and or are needed; and yes I do inculde when a family member has died.

I was serving my country in a far away land and couldn’t go home for the funeral. I didn’t want to be where I was, but there I was. I had a job to do. I couldn’t be where I wanted to be, however nonetheless there I was. There are plenty of individuals both military and civilian who face this issue and or others like it. You are not an exception nor special because of it or the issue.

I had a lot of respect for you and in fact your one of my top ten drivers, however due to how you decided to race due to the fact you were where you didn’t want to be and decided to run over people and didn’t give one shit about it or how you won has made me decide to drop you from said list. I lost all respect for you when you went out there and decided to be an asshole and do anything to anyone to win just because you HAD to be there, like millions of us have to do day in and day out.

I am ashamed of you Denny and I’m sorry but I don’t feel your loss excuses your tactics used to win a race.


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