Continued from part 1 Q: David, I want to ask you: There are some conversations about there having been no testing. And say like Roger Penske said the season, hard to draw any conclusions but that nobody is dominating the way Jimmie Johnson...
Continued from part 1
Q: David, I want to ask you: There are some conversations about there having been no testing. And say like Roger Penske said the season, hard to draw any conclusions but that nobody is dominating the way Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards did, and that they, at Penske, during the off season, complained about not having testing but in the end they worked on things they needed. Does that play into where you are right now that there was no testing?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I don't think the lack of testing, I don't feel it's hurt us any. It was a situation-I think a lot of teams said without the testing, the smaller teams weren't going to be able to catch up and it would broaden the gap. Again, if nobody's testing, nobody's testing. It kind of answers its own question there.
Where I feel like a lot of teams were testing and spending that money just because they felt like they had to because the other larger teams that had the budgets were doing that. So I do felt like it gave us a chance to focus our energies on some different situations and have a little bit more focus on what we're doing with our race cars and some different sims and different engineering things that we were trying to do to try to focus on those things and make our cars that much better.
So when we came out of the box we were that much more prepared. Obviously, when you don't test, you have the finances to allocate in different locations, whether it be different personnel or different pieces of equipment to make your cars better or just doing more things to make your cars better.
In the end, I feel the no testing deal was a benefit for us, the fact we could focus our energies on different things that would may be a benefit. Sometimes you're going to racetracks that may be a little similar to where you're kind of-similarities but you couldn't go test at some of the racetracks you were going to go race at except for a couple times a year.
So you're spending a lot of money on things that may or may not help you, where now you can focus on things that are a little more isolated and you can hopefully get more out of them, I think. I think it's been a benefit for us.
Q: Can you talk about going to the short tracks now of Bristol and Martinsville and how you look at those tracks for yourself and your team?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Well, I feel like we're definitely confident what we have going on, we definitely need to get better. We'll try to get better every week. But our mile and a half program has been pretty good since the start of the year.
I think our short track stuff, we have some work to do on that. We've done a little testing. We tested a little bit yesterday down at Rockingham, and that new test track that they built down there. And we're able to find a little bit stuff we hope will help us on the shorter racetrack.
I've got confidence on my guys and everybody at Michael Waltrip Racing that we can continue to do what we need to do, and we'll have good races and we'll have bad races like we had last week.
But in the end, I think we're a much better organization and a much better team. I feel we can excel at all the racetracks we go to.
Q: David, Aaron's, your sponsor, has been very loyal to Michael Waltrip Racing throughout the years. Have they spoken to you in recent weeks because of your performance? They've got to be pretty excited about that.
DAVID REUTIMANN: I think they're pretty happy with everything. If any of you guys know Ken Butler, I mean that guy's on it. He lives and breathes everything that Aaron's does. And he's a major player in our racing program, along with Rob Loudermilk and Rich Lamprey and those guys.
They've been really happy with the progress we've been making. And I think that's why they want to be part of this deal. They've been very loyal to Michael Waltrip and Michael Waltrip Racing since the beginning, since there was a shop in the back of Michael Waltrip's house and that was a dream kind of started.
To be able to move along and still have Aaron as part of the program and a major player at Michael Waltrip Racing, major supporter, it's awesome. They're still there and still supporting not only NASCAR, but Michael Waltrip Racing.
And they kind of welcomed me into their family. It's a situation where Michael Waltrip was always their guy. Now they've welcomed me into that family. Michael Waltrip is still their guy, don't get me wrong. But I play a small role there, too. And they let me drive the Aaron's Dream Machine. They get what NASCAR racing is about, what NASCAR can do for them and what they can do for NASCAR. And I don't think there's a better sponsor in the garage right now than Aaron's. They're fun. They're real people, down to earth people. And we have a lot of fun with them.
Q: David, you talked a lot about the happiness you've had this year. I'd like to add Tampa is happy with you. But do you attribute the happiness to the tough guy inside you overcoming the struggle, or has running better done it all for you?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I think if you come out, and I think it's all in the way you look at things. I mean, we definitely struggled. So we know how bad it can be, how tough it is and how tough this business is.
So that I think enables you to enjoy the good times when you're running well that much more, because you know how hard it is and you know how hard everybody had to work to get you to where you're running good because you've been on both ends of the deal.
I think some guys who come into the sport and right away start in with an established team and off and running and have great stuff right from the beginning, they don't know-I don't think they appreciate it when they run as well as a team that's started from basically scratch and has run poorly in the past and now is running tremendously better than what we have and will continue to run better.
I think it makes you as a driver and as a team appreciate the hard work and dedication everyone's put into this, lets you enjoy the good times that much more. That's what we have now. Although we appreciate that nothing's for certain and we have to keep working as hard as we have and making the big strides that we have to continue to run well, because it's fun to run well. And when you run well all you want to do is keep doing it. So the guys are working hard to enable us to do that.
Q: Additionally, in general, do you think your confidence follows the good results, or does that confidence in a way cause the good results?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I think-that's a tough question. I think the confident part is a lot of times results of how you're doing on the racetrack. Sometimes it's hard to be confident whenever you're not running well.
You doubt yourself sometimes. You doubt what's been going on around you. I've been through all that. When it comes down to it, at the end of the day, if they give you a good piece to drive and everybody does their job, you can run well. Not only that, everything has to go well during the race, things have to fall your way no matter what team you're with.
I feel like running well boosts your confidence and sometimes when you're not running well it's hard to be confident, at least for me.
Q: David, earlier you talked about the pit crews and all the time that they put in, which is so true. But people sometimes forget that it's a team effort. So with that in mind, could you explain to the race fans how important it is for those pit crews during the race to get you in and out of the pits?
DAVID REUTIMANN: I think a certain emphasis is put on pit stops. And I think people just take for granted how tough doing a pit stop is and how much emphasis should be put on that, because we're out there on the racetrack and everybody's got good equipment and there's good teams. And it's hard to pass out there.
So as a driver, it's easier to pass guys on pit road than sometimes it ever is on the racetrack. You can have good pit stops and you can-you can have a great pit stop, pick up a couple positions. You can have a pit stop that's off just a little bit and you lose six, eight spots.
I mean, that's how close-the competition on the racetrack is close. I think the competition on pit road is even closer between the teams. And those guys, they're working out. They're making, doing pit stop practice couple times a day. They're pretty much a well-oiled machine.
And the amount of work and dedication that goes into what those guys do on a weekly basis just to see, just to see people just see a small portion of it on race day, but the amount of work that goes into that just getting to that point is insane.
I mean, those guys are just on it every day, practicing pit stops, doing things better, shaving hundreds of a second off what they do. No wasted motions. And it's choreographed to be that way.
And I don't think people-I think you almost have to get down on pit road and stand behind pit wall, right at the pit box and watch what those guys do, and never ceases to amaze me how fast they can do pit stops, what they do. I think more credit needs to be given to the pit crews for what they do. I think the only time you ever hear anything is when they do something bad.
And I think that needs to stop, because it's a tough business. I wouldn't run out in front of a race car coming 55 miles an hour down pit road and take a chance that he's going to stop and not fly through his box. And those guys do it every week. So I think more credit needs to be given to those guys because those guys can make or break you on any given Sunday.
Q: David, if you stand back and just look at what's occurred in the series so far, what's been the most impressive thing you've seen, not as a driver, because you guys are certainly part of that, but as just an observer of the sport, what's the most impressive thing you've seen in these first four races?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Honestly, from the driver's side of things, you're so in tune of what you've got going on right now that you don't really pay a whole lot of attention to what's going on.
I think what I've been impressed with is some of the teams that have come in like Joe Nemecheck's team, and Tommy Bowman's team, those guys are coming in there, trying to make a go of it, just like the old school guys used to do it, where you would come in and you'd put-you'd get all your money together and you'd get some equipment and go to the racetrack and you try to make the race and run well.
I think people, they get lost in the shuffle sometimes how much dedication, they're out there doing the same thing with eight guys as a lot of teams are doing with 30. And in most cases they're getting in the races and doing okay.
So I think that's what's impressed me as far as what I've seen. If you're there and you see those guys come in and unload and they're just a lot of-a couple groups of guys, sometimes they're just volunteer guys. And, again, I think that gets back to NASCAR's roots a little bit, where that's where it used to be. You had a group of guys and you'd go race.
So to me that's impressive to not-maybe they don't have the results on the racetrack, but what's impressive to me they're making it to the racetrack every week and they're making an attempt to be there and the dedication it takes to do that, that to me is very impressive.
HERB BRANHAM: Thank you, David.