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Reutimann to start from pole at Richmond

Michael Waltrip Racing driver David Reutimann will start from pole position for this weekend's Saturday night Cup race, with Earnhardt Ganassi's Jamie McMurray alongside him on the front row.
David Reutimann bounced back from a lean season to put the #00 on pole position for the first time since Dover in 2009, his laptime of 21.196s (127.382mph) just 0.008s faster than Jamie McMurray on the 0.75 mile D-shaped oval at Richmond International Raceway.

Hendrick Motorsports duo Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin took the second row of the grid, with Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton making up an all-Richard Childress Racing third row.

Taking pole for the last pre-Chase event is the biggest mark the Michael Waltrip Racing driver had made in 2011, other than his scary and spectacular final lap crash with David Ragan at Watkins Glen. "It's been a little bit of a dry spell," Reutimann admitted after claiming his third Cup career pole. "I think what you're seeing here is a direct result of [the team] doing something different."

The race will decide the final Chase qualifiers, but Reutimann is not in contention as he is currently a distant 28th in the points. That's good news in one respect - it means that all he has to think about on Saturday is trying all-out for the win. "Our only choice now to turn our season around is to go out and win a couple of races and get some top-five finishes," he said.

Of those still seeking to clinch a Chase place, Clint Bowyer will start from fifth place and AJ Allmendinger in ninth place: both need an outright win and to overtake Denny Hamlin in the points to claim the last wildcard position.

"Yeah, it is pretty simple, we have to win and get a little bit of help," said Allmendinger before qualifying. "We don't have to worry about everyone else and where they're at, points-wise, until you cross the finish line. And unless we win it doesn't matter."

Hamlin has certainly not made it easy for himself to stay safe on Saturday night with a starting grid position of 28th. He could also be ousted from the wildcard position by one of the current one-time winners claiming the win and finishing in the top 20, but Paul Menard will be starting from 15th, David Ragan from 20th and Marcos Ambrose from 33rd, so wins there look unlikely.

"I always feel like we want to qualify on the pole every time and I am a little disappointed we aren't up there in the top ten," said Ragan." We have a good race car though and it is a car that can win if we put ourselves in the right position, so I am pretty happy."

Ambrose was rather more frustrated. "You know, I am just confused right now. I thought that was better than that," he said of his laptime. "I thought that was a decent lap but turns out that it wasn't. I don't really know right now what we need to get better at for tomorrow, but we will get to work on it."




Related Pictures

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David Reutimann on track in the #00. [Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images]
David Reutimann crashes the #00 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota into the wall after an incident in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 15 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. [Photo Credit: Getty Images/NASCAR Media]
David Reutimann, driver of the #00 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates setting the pole position with a fast lap of 129.983 mph (20.771 secs.) in qualifying for the Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 9 in Richmond, Va. [Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
David Reutimann in the #00. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 CESSNA Chevrolet SS qualifies for third position Friday, March 13, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona. McMurray is 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, drives in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS qualifies in third position Friday, February 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin in the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at Daytona. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota, and AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/USO Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during practice for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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