David Reutimann fires back at critics

Updated: April 5, 2012, 9:40 PM ET
By Marty Smith | ESPN.com

When David Reutimann's car came to a complete stop on the Martinsville Speedway track with less than three laps remaining Sunday, it brought out a caution that ultimately altered the outcome of the event.

Afterward, he was ridiculed by millions of fans and several competitors.

Four days later, he and team owner Tommy Baldwin are still livid about it.

"I have a question for you: What the hell's the point of doing it?" Reutimann said Thursday evening. "I've heard every conspiracy theory from, 'You did it for Stewart-Haas because you're teammates, too.' I'm not teammates with them. I'm teammates with Dave Blaney.

Reutimann Those yahoos bad-mouthing me -- I hope they're never in my situation, but if they were they'd do the same thing for the same reasons. If they tell you different, they're not telling you the truth. Looking back would I do it different and avoid this storm of crap? Absolutely.

-- David Reutimann

"I needed to run two more laps to stay in the top 35 -- for me. For me! Not for Danica Patrick. She's not the reason I did this. The reason it happened is we're a small team, an underfunded team and we're fighting our asses off to stay in the top 35."

According to Reutimann, the timing belt in his engine broke, locking up the motor.

"We would never intentionally do anything to hurt the race or anyone in it," Baldwin said. "There's a reason why the car stopped, and until you called, no one's even asked why it did."

Reutimann vehemently defended his integrity and his actions.

"When you'íre in that situation, you go as long as you can, never expecting the freaking motor to shut off," he said. "I knew the tie rod was an issue, and [the car] wouldn't keep up speed. But figured I could make it another lap or two and that would have kept us in top 35. People are making it complicated, but it's really that simple."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was among those most critical of Reutimann after the race. Earnhardt finished third, managing to snake his way through the wreckage that collected teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, who combined to lead more than 80 percent of the event.

Gordon seemed to have the race well in hand when Reutimann's motor quit.

"I would like an explanation on why that happened, from him, his crew chief, somebody," Earnhardt said after the race on Sunday. "But there's no, it doesn't seem like there could be a logical reason for him to end up stopped on the track.

"He was running around slow; you got a problem, you really get down and get on pit road. I don't believe he had any trouble getting down. When we went by him the first time, he was low. I would like to hear a good excuse to be honest with you, because I'm sure it would be laughable."

Again, Reutimann defended himself against the criticism from his fellow drivers.

"Those yahoos bad-mouthing me -- I hope they're never in my situation, but if they were they'd do the same thing for the same reasons," he said. "If they tell you different, they're not telling you the truth. Looking back would I do it different and avoid this storm of crap? Absolutely."

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