REUTIMANN'S CREW CHIEF AIMS TO DELIVER VICTORY AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY IN FRONT OF HOMETOWN CROWD FONTANA, Calif. (February 21, 2007) -- Jerry Baxter, a California native, accepted the role as crew chief of the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota...
REUTIMANN'S CREW CHIEF AIMS TO DELIVER VICTORY AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY IN FRONT OF HOMETOWN CROWD
FONTANA, Calif. (February 21, 2007) -- Jerry Baxter, a California native, accepted the role as crew chief of the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry in the spring of 2006 with Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann sharing the driving chores. Baxter, who grew up near California Speedway, wants nothing more than to win his first race as a crew chief in front of a hometown crowd on Saturday afternoon.
"It would mean the world to me to win that race being that I am from California," Baxter said. "I grew up about an hour and a half away from the track in San Diego. I really want to bring home a victory."
Reutimann can relate to Baxter's drive to win at his hometown track.
"I know where Jerry is coming from because I wanted to win so bad at my home track (Daytona International Speedway) last week," Reutimann said. "You always want to do well in front of your family, friends and hometown fans. We would like to improve upon our finish last year."
In 2006, Baxter's No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine team finished 20th with Reutimann at the two-mile D-shaped oval.
"We didn't have the finish we hoped for at California Speedway last year," Baxter said. "This time around we have better cars, motors and a good aero package. I think we are going to be just fine."
Reutimann has a respectable track record at California Speedway and is confident his Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry will be a contender this weekend with Baxter leading his team. Out of three NASCAR Busch Series starts at the Fontana (Cali.) track, Reutimann's best finish is 11th (4/26/03) with NEMCO Motorsports.
"I've competed there a few times in the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," Reutimann said. "I have a couple of top-15 finishes in a Busch car. My best finish in a truck is fourth after starting from the pole last year.
"Also last season, I finished 20th with Baxter in the Aaron's Dream Machine," Reutimann continued. "We had a top-10 run going, but our fuel strategy was a little different and it didn't pay off for us in the end."
Michael Waltrip Racing's hard work almost paid off in 2003 when the team came close to delivering a victory with Michael Waltrip in the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine at California Speedway.
"Michael (Waltrip) finished second there a few years ago," Reutimann said. "The team has had some luck at California Speedway before. It would be special if Jerry and I could get our first win there together because it means a lot to him."