BUSCH: David Reutimann season preview

Reutimann Set For His First Full-Time Nascar Busch Series Season CORNELIUS, N.C. (February 5,r007) -- David Reutimann is prepared to run the entire NASCAR Busch Series schedule for the first time in his career behind the wheel of the No. 99 ...

Reutimann Set For His First Full-Time Nascar Busch Series Season

CORNELIUS, N.C. (February 5,r007) -- David Reutimann is prepared to run the entire NASCAR Busch Series schedule for the first time in his career behind the wheel of the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry during Toyota's inaugural year. After competing in the Series for five years on a limited basis, Reutimann is poised to campaign for the championship title with Michael Waltrip Racing under the direction of Crew Chief Jerry Baxter.

"We can come out of the gate strong and win races," Reutimann said. "We have Toyota's support and the team is in tact from last season. Jerry and I were able to work together several times last year and have a good relationship. He's the right guy for the job there's no doubt about it. Our team is capable of making a serious run for the championship."

Last season, Reutimann showed progress each race and finished in the top-10 four times in 12 starts while sharing driving responsibilities with Waltrip in the 99 entry. Due to Reutimann's progression and relentless pitches to drive the Aaron's Dream Machine solely, Waltrip agreed to step out of the car to focus on his ownership of Michael Waltrip Racing and his duties as driver of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. Thanks in part to Waltrip and Aaron's President Ken Butler, Reutimann will now have his first chance to be a championship contender in the NASCAR Busch Series.

"During the course of Michael filming commercials, I asked him when I was going to have my turn driving the Aaron's Dream Machine," Reutimann said. "I was able to test the car a few times thereafter, which fortunately led to me racing the car."

Reutimann's road to the NASCAR Busch Series has been a winding one. In 2002, the Zephyrhills, Fla., native had one motor, one car and one shot at making a lasting impression. Reutimann debuted that car at Richmond International Raceway as a NEMCO Motorsports entry and he did not disappoint.

"Joe Nemechek gave me my first shot and I owe him a lot," Reutimann said, who finished 16th in his debut with NEMCO Motorsports. "Joe's crew chief at the time was Brian Pattie, who was a childhood friend of mine. We raced together growing up. He was instrumental in making the deal happen. Also, a family friend (Buddy Smith) helped me buy a car for my first race. Those guys took a chance on me when nobody else would. I'll never forget that."

In October 2003, Reutimann earned his first career NASCAR Busch Series pole award by qualifying a car for NEMCO Motorsports and Greg Biffle at Memphis Motorsports Park. Reutimann was uncertain of his future at the time, but a call from Darrell Waltrip a few days later changed his life. Reutimann took a detour from the NASCAR Busch Series to drive for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finishing as high as third in the championship points standings last season with Jason Overstreet as his crew chief.

"I'll never forget driving through the Daytona International Speedway tunnel for my first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race," Reutimann said. "I can remember a time when I didn't have a pass to get into the pits and that wasn't long ago. We would have to sit in the grandstands if we wanted to watch a race. My first race there with my truck team was pretty special."

Success with Waltrip's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team opened a door wide open for Reutimann at Michael Waltrip Racing. Entering his fourth season, Reutimann reenters Daytona International Speedway's tunnel this time as both a full-time NASCAR Busch Series driver and a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitor. Reutimann's lifelong dreams that his family has strived for over the years have finally come true.

"I never thought something like this could happen to a guy like me," Reutimann said. "If it can happen for me, it can happen for anyone."

-credit: Michael Waltrip Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Michael Waltrip , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , David Reutimann
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , NEMCO Motorsports