Atlanta: David Reutimann preview

Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of David Reutimann's all-time favorite tracks: "Atlanta is pretty special to me because it is where I got my first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole award (2004) for Toyota," Reutimann said. "It was only my second...

Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of David Reutimann's all-time favorite tracks: "Atlanta is pretty special to me because it is where I got my first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole award (2004) for Toyota," Reutimann said. "It was only my second race with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. I remember DW (Darrell Waltrip) coming down to the grid to wish me luck. I ended up finishing third that day. I hope to add to those memories in the #99 Aaron's Dream Machine and #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camrys in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events this weekend."

Darrell Waltrip recounts the day: "David did an outstanding job for me in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and in only his second qualifying attempt he won the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway," Darrell Waltrip said. "I'm so proud of him and I know good things are around the corner. He's grown so much and he's my buddy. He has become a part of the Waltrip family. We all love him. When Michael (Waltrip) and I talked about David running both series -- the Nationwide car and the Cup car -- I said, 'I don't know, Mikey. That's a lot to ask of a guy'. But David has done such a great job of preparing himself physically, and he's been able to do both series without any problem at all. Jerry Baxter has been with Michael for a long time, and the Nationwide team has been able to stay together for quite some time, too. He's got pretty much the same people, and Jerry is a great leader, a great organizer and a good crew chief. He and David hit it off. They're running for a championship with a great partner like Aaron's (Sales and Lease Ownership)."

Aaron's, UPS and NAPA AUTO PARTS headquartered in Atlanta: "Michael Waltrip's partners Aaron's, UPS and NAPA AUTO PARTS are all headquartered in Atlanta," Reutimann said. "I have been so blessed to be able to be a part of each of their racing programs. My very first race with Aaron's was at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2005 and that was when I started my bellyaching to Michael (Waltrip) about how I wanted to drive his car full-time. Well, finally at the May 2006 race in Darlington he gave me a shot to finish out the season, which led to me running a full season in 2007. He couldn't get me out of the car after we finished second in the championship standings.

"Last year at the road course race in Montreal (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve), our #99 Nationwide team was able to proudly represent Michael's longstanding sponsor NAPA and that was special," continued Reutimann. "At Martinsville Speedway this month, UPS and Dale Jarrett are allowing me to drive the #44 UPS Toyota Camry the rest of the season and it is something that is incredible to me. Everything has come full circle. I once worked for UPS years ago as a jumper. No, I didn't get to drive the 'Big, Brown Truck'. I was the guy that jumped out of the 'Big, Brown Truck' and ran and rang the doorbell. So, Martinsville will not be the first time that I have actually sported the distinguished UPS colors."

Busy week for Reutimann: Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test at Phoenix International Raceway on Tuesday (3/4) afternoon, Reutimann boarded a plane to California for a one-day road course training session Wednesday (3/5) at Infineon Raceway set up by NASCAR Nationwide Series Crew Chief Jerry Baxter. Reutimann's first road course challenge will be the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, where he finished 12th last season in the #99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota.

Reutimann was scheduled to get behind the wheel of a late-model stock car provided by ShiftIntoGear, Inc., a driver coaching school run by experienced road racer Chris Cook. Cook has helped train NASCAR drivers Dale Jarrett, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Elliott Sadler, Johnny Sauter, A.J. Allmendinger, etc., at Infineon Raceway. Reutimann has never seen the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. P.J. Jones drove for Reutimann in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sonoma Valley event in 2007.

"I don't have a lot of road course experience and I'm going to Infineon Raceway in a Late-Model car to do some driver training with Chris Cook and his school out there before my first NASCAR Nationwide Series road course race in the #99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry," said Reutimann. "It will also help me when I go back to Infineon with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I'm going to spend a day with them and hopefully we'll not just learn about the race track - which will be a big benefit - but to pick up some other techniques that will help me when we come to these road courses in both Series so I can be more productive."

Reutimann will land at 6:24 a.m. Eastern time into Charlotte Douglas (N.C.) airport on Thursday (3/6) to turn around and board the MWR team plane for Atlanta at 5 p.m. Eastern that same day and will have less than 10 hours total at home. He has been on the road since Wednesday (2/27) of last week.

"I haven't been home for almost two weeks," Reutimann said. "I can't wait to go home. I haven't seen my daughter and I really miss her. It's tough."

Reutimann is a winning team owner for a 67-year-old driver - his father Buzzie Reutimann: Most fathers work hard to support their son's racing careers, but David Reutimann supports his father's racing career as he is the owner of the #00 Open Wheel Modified that his 67-year-old father races at East Bay Raceway on a regular basis. This past weekend on opening night Buzzie Reutimann brought home the checkered flag in The Gagel's Auto Parts Open Wheel Modified class. Buzzie started third at the 1/3-mile, semi-banked, clay, oval race track in the Tampa area and captured another winning trophy to add to his collection that his son says is probably over a thousand.

"I wish I could have been there to see it," Reutimann said. "My father is a legend on the dirt tracks. He sent me a picture on my Sprint phone where he crossed the finish line. It's just so cool."

-credit: mwr

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Drivers Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Greg Biffle , Johnny Sauter , A.J. Allmendinger , P.J. Jones , David Reutimann , Clint Bowyer , Chris Cook