Texas: Pole winner interview

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 1st How loose were you on a scale of one to 10? "It was pretty edgy. Coming to the green, it's about an eight, and then the car settled in...

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 1st

How loose were you on a scale of one to 10?

"It was pretty edgy. Coming to the green, it's about an eight, and then the car settled in and drove really well. I had a great Aaron's Dream Machine. Coming to the green, you try to come through there wide open as you can. When the thing's a little free, you automatically think it's going to be like that on the exit of (turn) two, and I lost a little bit of time there and probably a little bit of time off (turn) four. Overall, a great effort for my guys. Rodney Childers (crew chief) and everybody doing a great job. We had a good Aaron's Dream Machine since we unloaded, and hopefully we can carry that on to Sunday."

What is it like to qualify at Texas?

"When you leave pit road here for qualifying, you better be up on the wheel as hard as you can go. The only thing you have to worry about is biting your tongue in two because you're chewing on that thing so much."

Is there still value in earning the pole?

"Yeah, it does because it means you've actually won something at the end of the day. It may not be a race but you've beat everybody else out there for that particular moment. Everything is a race, if you're in practice you want to be at the top of the sheet at the end of the day. As drivers we're a little goofy like that where we just want to win everything all the time. Winning the pole is important not only for the obvious stuff like track position, pit selection and all those things, I think for morale for your guys and to show them all the flashing and the hoops you make them jump through week in and week out with the changes they do actually do pay off. It comes down to the guys that are working on your car and they're doing a tremendous job. At the end of the day it's more for the guys at the shop and the guys on the road that make your life a lot easier I think. That's why it's important to me."

Can you compare missing this race in 2007 to now sitting on the pole at Texas?

"I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a miserable time in my life and we actually had a very good car but the weather was bad and we didn't get to qualify so I feel like we might have made it -- I can say that now. It's one of those things where I think people tend to forget that it wasn't that long ago when we were struggling to absolutely make races. You work so hard to try to get your organization to where you don't have to worry about just making races to get yourself in the top-35. Going out there and getting poles shows that you're doing what you're supposed to do and I think about those times often. I'll think about it again tonight how things have changed in a short amount of time and I'm very grateful for those changes."

Is this the type of exposure you want for your sponsor compared to the accident with the 00 last year?

"I guess that puts an exclamation mark on just how things have changed. Again that was the 00 car last year got in a bad situation and got really, really tore up. On the positive side it got Aaron's a lot of exposure so that was a plus. In the end, this is the kind of exposure you're trying to get for Aaron's and everybody involved at Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota. I keep saying the same things over and over, I think. Three years is not that long of time to have a race team and I don't think people can fully appreciate how hard this business is to keep your head above water sometimes. Sometimes when you're treading water trying to get to the next race you appreciate times when things are going well. You appreciate them that much more and the people that were around you and there when things were bad and now things are a lot better. You like to share that with people still."

Are you starting to see success coming easier?

"I don't know if it's easier, but I do feel like, 'Man, don't enjoy it too much, because it can go the other way really quickly.' You don't want to get too comfortable in your situation. There's always somebody that's going to come along that maybe can do it better and maybe can do it faster and maybe do a better job. That's kind of what drives me. Don't ever let your guard down, and you just keep going as hard as you can all the time. It's just like there's a bulldozer or something behind you and if you slow down or stop a little bit it's just going to run over you. Never let your guard down, even know sometimes you want to. You just want to sit back and look around and enjoy it a little bit because you know how hard it is to do. At the same time, my mentality is, I can't do this because something else could go wrong or something could do this or something could mess up. Maybe one day I can do that, but as it is right now, that's just kind of my make, I guess. Hard to change."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing