ONEIDA, NY - Just like his legendary bloodline, Wayne Reutimann, Jr. of Zephyrhills, Florida will be travelling north this summer to carry on a most respected family tradition. Reutimann, 23, will be racing a 358-Modified owned by Rod and Paula...
ONEIDA, NY - Just like his legendary bloodline, Wayne Reutimann, Jr. of Zephyrhills, Florida will be travelling north this summer to carry on a most respected family tradition.
Reutimann, 23, will be racing a 358-Modified owned by Rod and Paula Nacewicz weekly at the Fulton and Utica-Rome Speedways, where some of the most intense racing on the DIRT Motorsports circuit takes place. He will be piloting a 1997 TEO Pro Car chassis, formerly owned by Jerry Higbie, Jr., and the team will be based right out of Oneida.
"I'm looking forward to racing against all my heroes like Danny Johnson and Steve Paine along with racing the tracks where my dad and uncle raced," said the personable Reutimann.
Wayne Reutimann, Jr . Photo: Doug Zupan
The family racing tradition began with Wayne Jr.'s grandfather Emil, in the 1930's, when he drove open cockpit Sprint Cars and cutdown Coupes, winning races all over the state of Florida.
His uncle Buzzie, a 1997 inductee in the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame, dominated the asphalt speedways in Florida. However, he decided to travel North in the mid 1960s with boyhood friend and racing rival Will Cagle to race for higher purses on the dirt tracks of the Northeast. Buzzie registered wins and championships at Reading, East Windsor, Nazereth, Orange County, and on the All-Star Racing League. In addition, he won the first two Super DIRT Week feature events for the Modifieds in 1972 and 1973. Sidelined from racing for several years following a terrible accident at the Syracuse Mile during Super DIRT Week in 1985, Buzzie returned North and in four years won eleven features, becoming one of the more popular and well-liked Modified drivers of the time. To this day, Buzzie, 60, still occasionally competes an asphalt IMCA Modified in Florida.
Wayne Jr.'s father, Wayne Sr., also carried on the family tradition, following in the footsteps of his brother Buzzie by travelling North to race. He was also victorious at many of the tracks in the Northeast, both in a Modified and a Sprint Car, as well. His biggest victories were the Florida State Late Model Championship, 1976 Syracuse Mile Labor Day race, the Eastern States 200 at Orange County, and the 1979 Little 500 in Indiana. Currently, at age 56, he is still dominating the Tampa Bay Area Racing Association Sprint Car (TBARA) series, driving an Asphalt Sprint Car. Together, the brothers have won over 1700 feature wins combined, and as a family, which also includes Buzzie's son David, daughter Joy, and the patriarch Emil, they have won well over 2200 feature events.
"The Reutimann name is the most well-known name in all of Florida motorsports," said longtime family friend and racing enthusiast Jim Ferlito.
Just like his family, Wayne Jr. began racing at a young age. Throughout his young career, he has won 24 feature events, and driven in Karts, Mini-Stocks, IMCA Modifieds, and the TBARA Asphalt Sprint car division, where he currently races, along with his father. In 2000, he ran only a half-season in the TBARA, finishing third in rookie points, and this year, has finished in the top ten in all three events run to date, with his best finish being fourth.
"Being that my experience has been on asphalt, I plan on using this as a learning season to get familiar with the cars and the race tracks," said the third generation racing Reutimann.
Without a doubt, the talented Reutimann will be an excellent addition to the greatly competitive 358-Modified field at both Fulton and Utica-Rome.
When asked about his highly regarded family tradition and travelling north to race on the DIRT tracks his family once frequented, Wayne Jr. commented, "I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of nice people and carrying on the 00 tradition. Without Paula and Rod Nacewicz and all our sponsors, this would not be possible."
Sponsors for the new team include MGA Mortgage, Heck Enterprises, Burkett Automotive, and Dutch Construction.
For sure, the popular Reutimann name has brought smiles to the faces of stock car racing fans all over the country, and won the love and admiration of everyone.
The family tradition continues this summer at the Fulton and Utica-Rome Speedways, when Wayne Reutimann, Jr. will begin his rookie season in the DIRT 358-Modified class with the famous family trademark No. 00 and the slogan - "Go First Class."
-Doug Zupan unq