Reutimann faces Chase elimination

Updated: August 6, 2009, 11:59 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- David Reutimann doesn't buy the explanation Denny Hamlin gave for the wreck in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono that may also have wrecked his chances of making the Chase.

Reutimann said he never brake-checked Hamlin, as the eventual race winner claimed occurred prior to the accident on Lap 174 that not only took out Reutimann but also Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose.

He said Hamlin basically ran over him in an effort to get position.

I still have not taken it out of the equation we can make it [the Chase]. I felt like we had a real legitimate shot at getting in if things would have panned out a little different at Pocono.

-- David Reutimann

"I was just trying to get away from him," Reutimann said on Wednesday at an event to promote the October Bank of America 500 race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "In the end, if you push a guy sideways enough he's not going to be able to bring it back.

"I didn't hear [his] explanation, but I can tell you it's pretty inaccurate. I was in the throttle all the time to the point I was hung out so far I kind of had to do something."

Reutimann went on to say he was as "mad as heck" at Hamlin, even though the two have exchanged text messages in which Hamlin apologized.

"If a guy says he's sorry I tend to believe it," Reutimann said. "Look back at Daytona at what I did to Ryan Newman. Everybody's capable of making mistakes. I'm a forgiving guy if he sincerely apologizes or says he was in the wrong.

"In the end I'm still confused at why it happened. It wasn't just one shot. It was multiple shots."

Reutimann entered the race in 13th place in points, 68 out of the top 12 who would qualify for the Chase. He was in position to possibly move into the top 12 with a solid finish after having run up front most of the day. The wreck left him 16th in points, 121 off the cutoff point, after finishing 29th.

"I got to him coming off Turn 1," Hamlin said after the race. "I drove into Turn 2, got to him, nudged him actually in the middle of the corner. I let go of him. He pulled away about a car length, but then he slammed on the brakes, obviously to let me know he was upset. I plowed him off of [Turn] 2 really hard. I said, 'Man, all right, I understand, I get it.'

"In Turn 3 I got to him again. He got really loose off [Turn] 4. When I got to him and pushed him, I was hoping he was just going to come off the corner, straighten up, I was going to push him down the straightaway. Instead, I kept my throttle on him, and when I did I spun him into his teammate."

Reutimann said the whole situation should have been avoided.

"Denny and I had raced off and on in close proximity most of the day and never had any issues," he said. "Sometimes you get roughed up and you know why because you maybe had it coming. The situation with Denny, we never laid a fender on each other. I moved over a couple of times and let it go.

"It happened through the tunnel and it happened through 3. And it wasn't just one shot, it was multiple shots. In most cases I can bring something back from being pretty well crossed up. I just never had the opportunity to do that."

Reutimann ruled out any intentions Hamlin might have had for wrecking him to help Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, who moved from 14th to 13th in points.

"I still have not taken it out of the equation we can make it," he said of the Chase. "I felt like we had a real legitimate shot at getting in if things would have panned out a little different at Pocono."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

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ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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