Reutimann Fourth at Homestead
Clinching Raybestos Rookie of The Year Title
HOMESTEAD, FL (November 20, 2004) - After collecting his second Bud Pole Award of the season, David Reutimann finished fourth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway securing the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title and fourteenth-place in the points standings.
"Being able to compete full-time this year in one of NASCAR's premiere divisions is a huge deal to me because I remember when I was a local late model driver trying to make it," said Reutimann. "The times I didn't do well, I was so disappointed because it took me so long to get here. To win Raybestos of the Year rookie honors is big to me. We had a great class of rookies. I learned a lot this year driving the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota. We had races that could've gone better and not finishing races got us. The upside is that I have more confidence in the truck and the communication between the team is better than ever."
Early in the race, Reutimann's No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota was briefly shuffled outside the Top-10 as he battled loose handling conditions. After pitting at Lap 24 for adjustments and fuel only, Reutimann worked his way into the top-5 at Lap 36.
"We were really free early on," said Reutimann. "The truck got better during the race. There at the end, the truck go really tight. The team did a great job all day long. We were able to pick up positions in the pits."
Reutimann maintained a top-5 run and was shown as high as second before he dove to pit road at Lap 88. Driving to his pit box under green flag conditions, Reutimann was alerted by his spotter Ty Norris as a caution occurred simultaneously. Crew Chief Jason Overstreet instructed Reutimann not to stop. Reutimann exited pit road without stopping to save valuable track position. After coming back down pit road with the front-runners under caution, Reutimann picked up four positions on pit road and restarted 8th at Lap 94.
"There's no doubt that I'm working with a top caliber team that's strongly capable of running for the championship next season," said Reutimann. "We've now been together for a year. I can't wait to see what next season holds for us."
In this first year of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition, Reutimann collected two career Bud Pole Awards, four top-five and ten top-10 finishes. Toyota Motorsports garnered five pole awards and four wins in their first year in the series.
"Toyota Motorsports had a good year," said Reutimann. "We are fortunate to be a part of their program. We look to be stronger next season. We are excited about the possibilities."
Pleased with his driver's accomplishments, Team Owner Darrell Waltrip looks forward to Reutimann's return in the No. 17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports entry next season under the direction of Team Manager Bobby Kennedy and Crew Chief Jason Overstreet with full support from Toyota and NTN Bearings.
"Reutimann showed up at tracks that he had never turned a lap at before and he would finish in the top-5 or top-10," said Waltrip "We've had some good days and we've had some bad days. There were days where we had to remind ourselves that he had a yellow stripe back there. He went to Atlanta, started first and finished third. He had never raced there. Then there were times where he'd have a flat tire and sometimes where he was collected in wrecks he couldn't avoid. David had some good runs, good finishes and collected a couple of poles. He's not a rookie no more."
"Toyota has done an incredible job this season," continued Waltrip. "Toyota collected four wins and five pole awards. We're looking forward to being even stronger next season with Toyota and NTN's support. For our program next year, we're glad to have David, Bobby (Kennedy) and Jason (Overstreet) and the guys with us again because they've done an incredible job this year. We're capable to compete for the championship next year and we'll win some races."