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David's Win Validates Michael Waltrip Racing's Turnaround

CONCORD, NC - MAY 25: Car owner Michael Waltrip hugs a crew member after David Reutimann (not pictured), driver of the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota was declared the winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Reutimann won the Coca-Cola 600 due to a rain out on lap 227. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clifford Davidson Jr.Contributor IMay 26, 2009

It was two years ago at this very race, where Michael Waltrip Racing looked like a beaten organization

Waltrip and David Reutimann failed to qualify that weekend, Dale Jarrett finished 40th. All three teams were outside the magically top 35 in owner points.

In 36 possible starts, the team made only 19 races, and Waltrip had only one start, sitting last with negative points due to a infraction at the Daytona 500.

No top fives.

No top 10s.

No hope.

Fast forward to today. Both Waltrip and Reutimann had made all 24 starts, and posted a combined two top fives and four top 10s. And oh yeah...a win in one of NASCAR's crown jewel events. Reutimann is now just six points out of the final Chase spot, held by Mark Martin.

Last week,we were all in amazement at owner/driver Tony Stewart's win at the All-Star race, and rightfully so.

But this win has a more "feel good story" to it. Michael Waltrip Racing, using their own chassis and their own engines, beat the Hendricks, the Roushes, and the Gibbs of the world today.

Today was about Michael Waltrip Racing coming full circle. About Reutimann's arrival as the Franchise. And most importantly, about Waltrip getting the last laugh for everyone who said he couldn't be a successful car owner.


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