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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]
Derrike Cope, driver of the #70 youtheory Chevrolet, and Jamie Dick, driver of the #55 VIVA Auto Group Chevrolet, spin out after an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS qualified for fifth position Friday, September 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Belkin/Wemo Chevrolet SS finished in fourth place and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finished in fifth place Sunday, September 21, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Johnson is in the Chase which continues in next week`s Challenger 16 race. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
David Ragan, driver of the #34 Taco Bell Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, are seen on the track after crashing during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Belkin/Wemo Chevrolet SS qualified for second position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, smiles at Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose in the Richard Petty Motorsport garage at Sonoma Raceway on June 20, 2014 (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, races Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, and Joe Nemechek, driver of the #66 Friedman Law Firm Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 6, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS, was just short of making the Chase finishing in fourth place, Saturday, September 6, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Eight Chevy drivers are in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which begins next week at Chicagoland Speedway.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, looks on from the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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