CORNELIUS, N.C. -- No. 00 TUMS Toyota driver David Reutimann is a hands-on racer. When he's not driving in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series he's usually spending time with his family or building dirt cars for his legendary father Emil "Buzzie" ...
CORNELIUS, N.C. -- No. 00 TUMS Toyota driver David Reutimann is a hands-on racer. When he's not driving in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series he's usually spending time with his family or building dirt cars for his legendary father Emil "Buzzie" Reutimann. The 40-year old Michael Waltrip Racing driver spent most of his youth in the family's Zephyrhills, Fla. shop learning to build his own racecars. Reutimann is one of the few Sprint Cup drivers who will work along side his crew at the racetrack.
DID YOUR SKILLS AS A WELDER HELP YOU GET INTO NASCAR: "I don't know that it really helped me all that much in getting into NASCAR, but it might have helped me stay for a little while longer and pay some bills in the beginning. I first moved my family to North Carolina to drive for NEMCO and some things fell through at the 11th hour. All the sudden I didn't have a ride anymore, so Joe (Nemechek) put me to work in his fab shop. It was good that I had that to fall back on. I didn't move to North Carolina to become a fabricator. I moved to North Carolina so I could race, at that time, in the Nationwide Series. It just panned out that at first I had something and then I didn't have anything, so Joe kept me employed in his fab shop. Joe was a huge help at that point. He really didn't need another fabricator but he just put me to work because he knew the situation I was in. That really helped me keep food on the table for my family until I found another deal."
HOW DID YOU LEARN HOW TO WELD? "I learned how to weld and fabricate from my Dad (Emil "Buzzie" Reutimann). It really was about working in my Dad's shop building racecars. That's what my Dad would do. He had all his own cars and he raced for a living and eventually ended up turning it into a business. People wanted to buy his cars because he was out running them on the racetrack pretty regularly. That's when my Dad started building cars for other people and turning it into a business. So that was how I ended up learning and building my own cars and fixing my own cars. Plus, we didn't have sponsorship or a lot of money, so really it was just cheaper to just build all your own stuff instead of buying it. It was out of necessity more than anything. Eventually I learned how to build my own seats and everything because there was no money to buy anything new, so I had to learn how to build it."
HAVE YOU EVER WELDED ANYTHING FOR THE No. 00 TOYOTA? "Yes I have. About two weeks ago when we were in Talladega. We had to add a piece of metal to the shark fin on the left side of the car, it wasn't too big of a deal, but NASCAR asked us to make an adjustment and I was hanging out at the No. 00 transporter not doing much as usual, so I figured I would show my guys in the garage that I can still weld. All I really did was just add a little piece on to the end, it really wasn't a big deal. Some of the guys on the other crews in the garage saw me over there welding it on and seemed to get a kick out of it, because I think most of them don't think us drivers are very smart (laughs) or often see us picking up tools in the garage to help. I just don't think most of the crew guys think the drivers are very smart, that's seems to be the common consensus in the garage with a lot of the crews anyway. They don't think we're very intelligent and can do any of that stuff, but it's good to show every once in a while that you can still contribute or add a little something."
DO YOU ENJOY WELDING? "Absolutely, that's my golf game, fishing, hunting or whatever it is most people do to relax. I do a lot of that during the offseason or during the week if I can sneak out to my shop and work on things for my Dad's dirt cars. I guess that's just my weird way of relaxing."
STEVE CHANNING, CAR CHIEF, No. 00 TUMS TOYOTA
WHAT WAS THE TEAM'S RESPONSE AS THEY SAW DAVID REUTIMANN WELDING SOMETHING ON THE No. 00 CAR? "A lot of the guys on the No. 00 know that David is a good fabricator and we always appreciate the help. Some of the other teams around us thought that it was pretty cool that he'd come out and actually help. I think he earned some respect points in the garage."
IS DAVID REUTIMANN A GOOD WELDER? "Oh yeah, he's an extremely good aluminum welder. He did a really nice job."
HOW DO HIS SKILLS COMPARE TO SOME OF THE GUYS IN THE FABRICATION SHOP? "David can fabricate as good as any of the guys in our shop. That's not a knock on the guys in the shop, but more of a testament to David's skills. We have a lot of great fabricators that work at MWR, and to say he is as good as any of them should be a huge complement to both."