Reutimann, Waltrip alliance is paying off for both
David Reutimann agreed to join Michael Waltrip Racing when it was closer to an abstract idea than a functioning, full-time race team in NASCAR's top series.
Of course, Reutimann was hardly an established commodity himself.
Now the calculated gambles both parties made are paying off.
"David came when we had nothing," MWR General Manager Ty Norris said. "When I say 'nothing,' I mean nothing."
Now they just might be on to something.
Reutimann won Saturday night's Sprint Cup series race at Chicagoland Speedway, zooming past Jeff Gordon in the late stages of the race and holding on to claim his second career victory in convincing fashion. And Reutimann is on the verge of making Michael Waltrip's team his long-term home, with a handshake deal on a new contract.
"I'm not going anywhere," Reutimann said. "I'll be at Michael Waltrip Racing. I may be cutting the grass, but I'll be at Michael Waltrip Racing."
The second career win was much sweeter than the first for Reutimann, who had grown sick of hearing from competitors that last year's victory at Charlotte didn't really count because it came in a rain-shortened race.
Crew chief Rodney Childers said he was "a little emotional" because he knew how tough it was to hear others detract from his win.
"Ever since then, I wanted to win one for him and do it right," Childers said.
And while Reutimann and the No. 00 team have been inconsistent this year, they are showing signs that this won't be their last trip to victory lane. Reutimann left Chicagoland 15th in the series points standings, but he had several good runs undone by engine problems earlier in the season.
"I mean, all year, if you look how we've run, the fact we had some problems, our on-track performance has been better than it was last year," Reutimann said. "I've always had confidence in this team, knew if we get things going in the right direction, we could win races regardless of whether everybody else (thought) we could."
Childress' grandson wins trucks race
Austin Dillon held off Johnny Sauter in a green-white-checkered finish and picked up first career win at Sunday's NASCAR Trucks Series race in Iowa. The 20-year-old Dillon won from the pole, becoming the second-youngest driver to win a truck series race behind Kyle Busch. The grandson of longtime NASCAR owner Richard Childress kept his car clean while a number of top drivers ran into trouble. The top four in the points standings — Todd Bodine, Aric Almirola, Timothy Peters and Roy Hornaday Jr. — all experienced issues that hampered their shots at catching Dillon.
Webber takes British Grand Prix
Mark Webber cruised to his third Formula One victory of the season Sunday after overtaking Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix. The Australian finished 1.36 seconds ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, turning in an immaculate drive at Silverstone after being angered by having to hand over a key car part to Vettel.
"Not bad for a No. 2 driver," Webber quipped over his radio during his victory lap.
With nine races to go, Hamilton leads the overall standings with 145 points, 12 ahead of McLaren teammate Jenson Button. Webber is third with 128 after becoming the first driver this season to win three races. Vettel is fourth with 121.
NHRA driver killed in Washington crash
A drag racing driver died after he crashed at the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways outside Seattle. Sixty-year-old Mark Niver of Phoenix was competing in the Top Alcohol dragster class in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing series, the top feeder circuit for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series. Niver's death is the second in a month at an NHRA event. Neal Parker, a 58-year-old from Millville, N.J., died of head injuries after crashing during a qualifying round at the NHRA SuperNationals in June.
Drosselmeyer sidelined with injury
Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer has been taken out of training with an ankle injury and could miss the rest of the year, according to several reports Sunday. Drosselmeyer has been stabled at Saratoga while training for the Jim Dandy Stakes on July 31, but he will likely be shipped back to WinStar Farm on Monday, according to the Daily Racing Form.
Drosselmeyer worked 4 furlongs in :49.46 on July 4 in his first workout since winning the Belmont. Trainer Bill Mott told the Racing Form that his colt came back "moving a little stiff."
"It looks like he's just a little jammed up," he said. "If we can't go into a race like the Travers being 100 percent then it's good to give him time now and have him back for late fall or early spring; whenever he's ready."
Mott said he will await a bone scan before making any final decisions on Drosselmeyer.
"Sometimes they get bone bruising, and a bone scan will help confirm if that's what he has," he told Bloodhorse. "I see no reason why he won't make it back, but I doubt he'll be back this year. It's just something that needs time. It's tough to fast-track Mother Nature."
Vick's travel restricted by authorities
Michael Vick was a no-show at his celebrity golf tournament in Georgia on Sunday after probation officials restricted travel for the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback this weekend. Vick spokeswoman Judy Smith said that Vick's travel has been at the discretion of his probation officer since he was released from prison in a federal dogfighting case in May 2009. The restriction follows a prosecutor saying this week that while Vick wasn't involved in a shooting after his 30th birthday party in Virginia Beach, Va., that he was in a confrontation before the incident. Vick missed the Michael Vick Celebrity Golf tournament and also did not make a scheduled appearance at a youth football camp in Raleigh, N.C., this weekend.
Richt suspends two arrested players
Georgia Coach Mark Richt suspended two players the day after their arrests on alcohol-related charges. Sophomore tailback Dontavius Jackson was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and other motor vehicle offenses early Saturday morning. Richt said Jackson, a backup, has been suspended for a minimum of six games. Sophomore split end Tavarres King, a returning starter, was charged with underaged possession of alcohol and has been suspended for at least one game by Richt.
Fish rallies for Hall of Fame title
Mardy Fish captured the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, rallying for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over fourth-seeded Olivier Rochus in Newport, R.I. Fish overcame his frustration at a close line call at the end of the first set Sunday to win his fourth career title. The fifth-seeded American entered the week ranked 79th.
"You've got to keep the goal in mind," he said of the point. "Not every call is going to be perfect. Everybody's trying to do their job. I felt like I was on the tough end (of that)."
On the final point of the first set, Rochus hit a return to the back corner. Fish appeared ready to play the ball and let it go. The chair umpire said Rochus won the game and set. Fish argued and waved his racket to the chair. Fish took control in the best game of the match, breaking in the ninth of the third set to go up 5-4. He squandered three break points before closing it out with a forehand cross at the net.
Argentina, Serbia in Davis Cup semis
Argentina and Serbia wrapped up Davis Cup quarterfinal victories on the road Sunday to join France and the Czech Republic in the tournament's last four. David Nalbandian beat Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-3 in the deciding match in Moscow to clinch Argentina's 3-2 win over Russia, which lost at home for the first time since 1996. In Split, Croatia, second-ranked Novak Djokovic defeated Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in front of a fiery Croatian crowd to give Serbia an unassailable 3-1 lead over its neighbor.
The last word
Howard Webb — the first Englishman in 36 years to referee a World Cup finals — even gets his calls at home criticized, says his wife Kay:
"I don't know how he does it. He can't take charge of his own children. I don't know how he manages it on a football pitch."