Reutimann Has Mixed Emotions About Martinsville Start In No. 44 MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 7, 2008) -- David Reutimann understands the pressure of racing. He felt it heavy on his shoulders for more than a decade as he ran his own cars on short...
Reutimann Has Mixed Emotions About Martinsville Start In No. 44
MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 7, 2008) -- David Reutimann understands the pressure of racing. He felt it heavy on his shoulders for more than a decade as he ran his own cars on short tracks throughout the Southeast, eking out a living race to race.
But he's probably never experienced the pressure that's in store for him when he crawls through the window of the UPS Toyota for the Goody's Cool Orange 500 on March 30. That day he officially takes over for Dale Jarrett.
"There's always a certain amount of pressure no matter what you drive, but to step in that 44 car, knowing UPS and Dale Jarrett were instrumental in getting me behind the wheel of that car, you don't want to go out there and do anything stupid," said Reutimann. "It's a pretty daunting process. But hey, I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Reutimann began the season in the Aaron's Toyota, the same car he drove for Michael Waltrip Racing a year ago, but the plan was already in place for him to move into Jarrett's seat when the veteran stepped aside after Bristol. Rookie Michael McDowell will fill the opening left by Reutimann in the Aaron's Toyota.
"Driving the 44 car ...that's a huge deal," said Reutimann. "There's always that uncertainty in racing and you're never going to know what's going to happen next, so this is something I could have never envisioned happening.
"I'm happy to be associated with UPS and be part of their program, but it still really bums me out that Dale Jarrett's stepping away from driving full time because he's done a lot for me.
"As happy as I want to be about having UPS as a sponsor and the relationship I have with them, I'm sad because he's not going to be over in that trailer for me to run over and ask a bunch of stupid questions which he always answered. He's always taken time for me."
And Reutimann admits, Martinsville could be one of the tracks he could still use a few of Jarrett's pointers. He finished 17th in last fall's Cup race at the tough half-mile track and was 33rd in last year's Goody's Cool Orange 500.
"Martinsville is, quite honestly a race track I've never done very well at and so hopefully we're going to change that," said Reutimann, who had one top-15 finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Martinsville. "It's a tough place and you have to have a really good car and things have to go your way.
"Coming to Martinsville makes you feel different than any other race track we go to. The pressure is definitely there, even it there's not a sponsor change and driver change. Hopefully I can turn it around and make it one of my better race tracks."
And he's always got a friend to turn to if he still needs help.
"I have his (Jarrett's) cell phone number, even his home number. As long as he doesn't change his numbers on me, I'll be in good shape," said Reutimann.