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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]
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffeemate Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, March 11, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag ahead of Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota, to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Chevrolet, races Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, during practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Chevrolet, Brian Vickers, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW Chevrolet, Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Chevrolet, Brian Vickers, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Nature`s Bakery Chevrolet, practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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