NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - David Reutimann And Todd Bodine July 27, 2010 An interview with: DAVID REUTIMANN DENISE MALOOF: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to a special doubleheader NASCAR teleconference in advance of this weekend's...
NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - David Reutimann And Todd Bodine
July 27, 2010
An interview with:
DENISE MALOOF: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to a special doubleheader NASCAR teleconference in advance of this weekend's events at Pocono Raceway. Joining us first today is David Reutimann, driver of the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.
David is here ahead of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sonoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. He's one of several drivers trying to crack the top 12 in the standings and qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Later in the next half hour, approximately 2:20, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Todd Bodine will join us.
Back to David who won his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series three weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway. He also announced last week at Indianapolis that he will return to Michael Waltrip Racing through the 2012 season.
David, an exciting few days for you recently.
DAVID REUTIMANN: Yeah, we had a great announcement, announcing having Aaron's extension as well as me staying at MWR. Obviously, we had a great start to our week. Didn't really go too well on the racetrack, but we were able to make some good announcements, be able to plan for the future. That's always important.
DENISE MALOOF: We'll go straight now to questions for David Reutimann.
Q: David, I wanted to ask you about your new contract extension. Probably has to put your mind at ease and help you race better. Did your recent win also play a role in that?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I'm sure it didn't hurt our cause any. This is something we had planned on talking about and announcing at Indy regardless. Although I'm sure it didn't hurt, you're right, it does feel good to actually have those things pretty well situated, be able to move on, just be concerned about the racing side of things instead of contract things and stuff like that.
The racing part is my favorite part anyway. The rest of the stuff is just things that are kind of a distraction. We do have that out of the way and we're able to go on and focus on what's important, which is the racing.
Q: Hearing that NASCAR is most likely going to be changing the schedule up a bit, is there anything that you'd like to see on the schedule or removed from the schedule, a track you'd like to race at?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Obviously, I think there are some cool racetracks that we go to, Vegas and places like that, that would be cool to go to a second time. I like the racetrack. Even on the joking side of things, me being a dirt guy, you'd love to see a dirt track come into the schedule, which is obviously not going to happen. That would be something that would be really, really cool.
I think NASCAR is looking at the schedule, looking at what is the strongest and trying to reward racetracks they feel deserve second dates if they don't have them or maybe jog up the schedule a bit, spice things up a little bit.
I don't know what the changes are going to be, how they're going to affect things. I look forward to seeing what NASCAR has to offer as far as the schedule goes.
Q: The Truck Series is going to have a unique qualifying method. Is that something you'd like to see carry over in the Cup Series or see how it goes first?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I think we have to wait and see how it goes. To be honest with you, I'm not entirely sure about how it's going to play out.
Again, NASCAR always looks at things in different ways, whether it be just trying different things to see what's going to happen, raise a little more interest. Again, we'll see how it happens. I think I'll wait and see how it goes down before I decide if we want to change anything or not.
Q: David, I think there's so much attention on the Chase, who is going to be in the top 12, run for the championship, I wonder if people forget the inherent value of winning a race. You look at you Chicagoland two weeks ago, you look at Jamie Sunday at the Brickyard. Does it remind people a little bit that winning a race is sort of a big deal in and of itself?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I think a lot of things do get lost in the fact that there's a lot of focus put on the Chase, and rightfully so. That's what you're obviously trying to do. You're trying to win races. I think people lose sight of the fact that it's all about winning races.
It's not all about winning races. Let me take that back. It's important to win races, but it's also about being consistent and all those things that gain you the most points. Every driver, when he's strapped in on Sunday, you're out there to try to win the race.
For the drivers, I think the most important thing is going out there and trying to win races, doing what you can to help you win your cause. If you win races, that's always the better way to get in the Chase as well. It's a win-win situation if you can go out and win races. I know that's what we're focused on doing.
Q: In terms of confidence, what can one race win do?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I mean, it can change your whole outlook of your entire organization. If you're having a rough year, things aren't going well, you're able to go out and win a race, you automatically kind of forget everything that's happened bad up to that point to you. You can switch things around and make it so you're like, Wow. I mean, no matter how your season has gone up to that point, you win that race, you're like, the sky is the limit from that point on.
It gives the driver confidence. It gives the team confidence. More importantly, it gives the guys back at the shop that aren't able to be at the racetrack with you, but are turning out your racecars, getting your stuff prepared, gives them added enthusiasm, a little pep in their step, so to speak. It makes them see what they're doing at the shop is really important. They're able to see the results on the racetrack. I think that's great for any race team.
Q: David, speaking of the Chase, you're sort of within shouting distance depending on what some other folks do. How does that change what you do the next five or six weeks, or does it? I know you're already racing hard, but can you change directions, change cars, do things differently or not?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Well, you know, I don't know if we can change a whole lot. Our approach is not really to be concerned about the points; just go out there and race and put it all out there. At this point you don't have anything to lose. You need to make up ground. That enables your crew chief to maybe take some chances he wouldn't normally take maybe during the race, whether it means taking two, gambling on fuel. It opens up your window. Whereas if you have to make that ground, you have to try to make things happen. If you're trying to hold onto what you have, you may play it more conservatively.
I don't know in this situation, it will change some things you do, but you have to be out there and be as aggressive as you possibly can. You can't be conservative, whether it be in qualifying or anything else. You need to qualify up front and you need to finish up front, in the top 10, in the top five in order to remotely having a chance of being where you need to be.
We're going to go out there and see what we can do and try to get as many points on the board at the end of the race.
Q: David, you obviously touched upon some of the changes in the racetrack. There's some speculation about changing the format of the Chase. What are your thoughts on the Chase format and would you welcome some tweaks in the system?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I don't have a problem with the way the Chase is structured, the way they do things. Obviously maybe some little tweaks here and there. I don't know what I would be in favor of. I'm not not in favor of them changing things up a little bit. I don't think we need to go in there and overhaul it either.
I think it's a pretty good format. Again, it's not perfect, nothing is. If NASCAR continues to refine it, do little tweaks, I feel like they can continue to make it better, add a little more excitement to an already exciting thing we have going on, I think it will be a win-win.
Again, I'm not sure what changes I would be in favor of, but at this particular time I'm not against some little tweaks if they decided to do that.
Q: David, can you talk a little bit about coming to Pocono this weekend. If you look at your past history there, you seem to have some steady improvement from when you first came to the track. Are you gradually figuring things out there? Talk about what you're hoping to accomplish this weekend at Pocono.
DAVID REUTIMANN: Obviously you got to try to win a race. That's a given anyplace you go to.
Pocono has been a hit-and-miss racetrack for us. We've run pretty well and we've had some races we'd like to forget. We're going to work on being a little more consistent. We had a little body damage early on last year in the race. Kind of messed us up. We struggled the whole race trying to get that fixed. We didn't really get the finish we feel like we were headed for if we didn't have that damage early on.
It's a tough racetrack. It's tough to get your car good on all the different corners they have. Obviously, turn one is pretty rough, so you have to be careful as far as getting your car on the splitter, bouncing off the racetrack. You have the tunnel turn, which is tricky. The strip of pavement in turn three, which is about as wide as a racecar, everybody is trying to fight for that same piece of real estate. You have to have all the things in order to run remotely good there. We've done that in the past. We just need to get back to it.
Q: Last year when you were there, you were in a similar situation, trying to make the Chase. You wound up getting taken out. Is that something, being in the same position with the Chase, do you think maybe the track kind of owes you one a little bit this time around?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I don't know. Racetracks are funny things. I don't think they keep score. Drivers do a lot of times, think this one owes you one. If you look at it that way, it never seems to pay off. It's just another racetrack you got to go figure out with your team and your crew and all those things.
Yeah, I mean, I feel like we've got some unfinished business at Pocono. It's a cool racetrack. Need to go in there this weekend and get after it. We definitely didn't have the run we wanted to have at the Brickyard, so we need to try to go in and turn things back around really quick and get back in the situation where we're within the distance of the Chase we need to be.
Q: David, reports last couple days about drivers being fined for comments, NASCAR saying they don't mind drivers speaking their minds and showing emotion, but they don't want comments that do serious damage to the brand of the sport. I'm curious if you've been watching yourself as far as what you say? Do you think drivers are being more cautious about what they say?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I've always for myself tried to watch what I say because we're all in this deal together. It doesn't do you any good, if you're aggravated at a situation, doesn't do you any good to fly off the handle, regret saying something. It's a privilege to be involved in NASCAR. It's not a right. It's not something that I think you can take for granted.
As far as the fines go and those things, I don't know who or what, if it's confirmed or whatever. I don't follow things probably as well as I should. But with that being said, you know, I think drivers, you know that you're able to speak your mind and you're able to say things. If you have a problem with NASCAR, you're able to go in the trailer and vent and talk to those things. It's an open-door policy. We've been called in the trailer and we've gone to the trailer willingly to discuss things. I think sometimes it's best to do it in that form there.
It doesn't do you any good to go out there and air your grievances to the public when that's not going to fix anything. You need to go in and sit down with Mike Helton, Pemberton, Darby, that's the way you're going to get results. I think guys need to think about that before they go saying something right out of the car when they're frustrated, go tell it to the people that are going to be able to help you through the situation. I think that's what I've always tried to do.
Q: Marcos Ambrose is leaving the 47 team. Do you care who drives that car? Do you view him as a teammate? How do you view that car? How interested are you in who they get?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Yeah, I'm very interested. Marcos Ambrose, until the end of the year, is my teammate. The 47 car, although it is a separate thing with Tad and those guys over there, they're under our same roof. They're a teammate. The 47 car is my teammate. Marcos will be my teammate till the end of the year.
I'm very interested in who they put in the car for next year. I'm bummed out that Marcos is leaving. He's an awesome teammate, awesome individual and a good friend. Whoever they put in the car I'm sure is going to be up to the task.
Obviously, I don't have any input on who goes in the car. That's not my call. But I'll be watching with great interest to see who they get to fill that seat.
Q: David, other leagues do this. If you criticize officiating in Major League Baseball, you'll be fined. Do you feel like it's all right to do it privately? Do you feel these should be announced publicly or is it the right thing to do this behind closed doors?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I don't have a problem with them doing that. I wouldn't have a problem with them doing it publicly. But I don't have a problem with them doing it privately.
I know this. For me personally, if I got up and said something stupid that I wasn't supposed to say, I personally wouldn't want people to know that I got fined for saying something stupid. That's just me. If you go out and say something you shouldn't say, everybody knows you shouldn't say it, you know deep down inside you shouldn't say it, I think maybe knowing you're going to get into a little hot water as far as getting into your wallet, maybe that will make you think about what will happen.
At the end of the day we're all in this together, making it work, and it's not perfect. But going out there and bashing it, saying things you shouldn't say, that's not good. That's not good for the sport.
Again, it is a privilege to be a NASCAR driver. It's a privilege, it's not a right. I think we all have to look at it that way.
Q: David, Marcos Ambrose leaving. The best record, the best finish they've got this year is a sixth at Infineon. Ambrose told us it wasn't about performance, the reason he's leaving. As you look at filling that seat, what about that program is attractive to other drivers?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Yeah, I don't know. I think our organization as a whole, people need to realize, again, that it is completely separate as far as their program. It is owned by JTG Racing. It's not owned by MWR. They're not viewed as a satellite team. With that being said, they're viewed as the same team. I know it's kind of odd for people to put their arms around that, realize that's the way it is. They have access to the same information. We sit in team meetings. The racecars are built, everything is the same. It's a real unique deal.
I feel like for whatever reasons Marcos has for leaving, I haven't talked to him, I don't know, he feels like he wants to do something different. I feel like we'll be able to get a good-quality driver in there. If you look at the 00 and the 56, what the 47 has done in the past, they're having an off year this year. I don't think it has anything to do with the caliber of the team, but sometimes good race teams struggle. I think they're having an issue.
I don't feel like we're going to have a problem finding a good-quality driver to put in that seat and be able to pick up where Marcos left off.
Wherever Marcos does end up, whoever gets him, whatever organization gets him, they will be getting a first-class, world-class driver with an extreme amount of talent. That's just a fact.
Q: David, apparently there was some Formula One guy there at Indianapolis talking about using fuel injection for Cup cars. What is your feeling about that?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Well, I don't know. We've been using carburetors for a long, long time. I don't know that there's anything wrong with what we have on the car. I don't know that running a carburetor is a bad thing. I know that's something that NASCAR has looked at. I don't know that it's going to make a huge difference in the racing. It may be modernizing our program a little bit more with what we're doing, as far as not many cars have carburetors on them anymore. Pretty much all cars are fuel injected. If we can refine it, run it on our cars, it works, I don't think it's going to be a problem.
I don't know that we need to go that route, something we have to do. I think something long-term may show some benefits, but I'm not sure what they would be at this point.
Q: I was with a group of engineers at New Smyrna a couple years ago, and said that today's kids buying cars can tune their cars with their laptop computers because of fuel injection. They feel they threw it out there that maybe that would help bring in this new audience that's more technical minded.
DAVID REUTIMANN: Well, that's a valid point. Again, I'm a little bit behind the times. I know those guys are doing some pretty amazing stuff by plugging a laptop computer to their tuners and stuff, tuning on those things. Anything we can do to catch the attention of the youth out there, bring them into our sport, show them what our sport is about, add interest, I think it's positive. If it takes putting fuel injection on the cars to do that, I'm all for it.
I don't have a problem with the carburetor. I don't have a problem with them going the fuel injection route. As long as I get to drive with it, I'm fine with it either way.
Q: Are you comfortable being called the modern day Harry Gant?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Well, I think that's certainly one of the biggest compliments I will ever get in my career. I don't know if I'm comfortable with it or not. As far as Harry Gant is an exceptional talent and what a cool guy he was. I was a fan of his when he raced. Even to be thought of minutely for being in that same genre, if you will, that's a huge compliment.
Don't know that I'm worthy of that, to be quite honest with you.
Q: He ran for Rookie-of-the-Year at 39.
DAVID REUTIMANN: It shows it can be done, right (laughter)?
Q: I'm going to New Smyrna this week to cover a Tampa Bay area racing. I was hoping that Buzzy was going to be there. Can you confirm he's racing?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I can pretty much guarantee that my dad will not be racing. He'll be up in Pocono with us watching the race there. My dad doesn't race anymore, pavement racing. We have dirt cars, so most of his racing is confined to dirt tracks.
Q: Are there going to be any Reutimanns there?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I don't think there's going to be any. I don't think there will be a Reutimann at that race.
DENISE MALOOF: Thank you, David, very much for your time this afternoon. We appreciate it. Best of luck this weekend at the Tricky Triangle.
DAVID REUTIMANN: Thank you, appreciate it.