Reutimann, Mindful of What it Takes To Succeed at Atlanta ATLANTA, GA (March 8, 2004) -- With Georgia's premiere 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway quad-oval weighing on David Reutimann's mind since finishing ninth after leading at Daytona in his...
Reutimann, Mindful of What it Takes To Succeed at Atlanta
ATLANTA, GA (March 8, 2004) -- With Georgia's premiere 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway quad-oval weighing on David Reutimann's mind since finishing ninth after leading at Daytona in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut one month ago, the Raybestos Rookie contender will not be at ease until his first win in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra is behind him.
"The run we had at Daytona gives this No. 17 NTN Bearings Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team momentum going into Atlanta and we would like nothing more than to leave Georgia with our first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win of the season," said Reutimann. "I've tested a Busch car at Atlanta Motor Speedway before in a one-day test and recently the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team tested Texas in preparation for Atlanta. Some people automatically assume Daytona is the fastest place you race on the Craftsman Truck circuit.
"Daytona doesn't feel as fast, but Atlanta you can tell it's fast and there's no mistaking it. It's a whole different feel. Atlanta's also a multi-groove track and you'll see a lot of side-by-side racing and numerous lead changes. This track is fast-paced and a lot can happen in a hurry. You have to be sharp and on your game at a place like Atlanta."
As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series logs its first race at the quad-oval, Reutimann turns to three-time Atlanta Motor Speedway NASCAR Nextel Cup Series winner and Team Owner Darrell Waltrip for guidance.
"If there is anything I specifically need to ask Darrell about Atlanta this weekend, I know he will be more than willing to give me advice," said Reutimann. "He is a great mentor and I am fortunate to be able to have him coaching me along as I drive his No. 17 NTN Bearings NASCAR Craftsman Truck full-time. DW and I have great relationship and thankfully he has a lot of patience with me.
"I don't know if that will change when he climbs into his No. 11 truck at Martinsville next month or not. I think I may be on my own then. Racing against the boss man is not g oing to be easy, but we will have a lot of fun. I'm grateful to be in the position I am today thanks to DW and his organization taking a chance on me. I'm living the dream and I will not forget how I got here or the people who have supported me all these years."
Reutimann entered the NASCAR scene quietly garnering success in the NASCAR Kodak Southeast Series (formerly the Hills Bros All Pro Series) before trying his hand in the Busch Series in 2002. Childhood friend Brian Pattie, crew chief of the No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Busch Series entry owned by Joe Nemechek, is accredited with helping the Zephyrhills native rise to a full-time ride sponsored by NTN Bearings and owned by Darrell Waltrip.
"Brian's responsible for helping me along in my career," said Reutimann. "He talked to Team Manager Bobby Kennedy when he found out the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team was coming together, which laid the groundwork for the opportunity to drive the No. 17 NTN Bearings entry. He was also the reason I had the opportunity to run the No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports entry owned by Joe Nemechek.
"Brian kept after Joe to the point of where he was like all right already we'll give him a chance. I owe a lot to Brian because he stuck his neck out for me big time and he stood to lose a lot because Joe had so much faith in him. I was kind of Brian's first project that he took under his wing. From being my crew chief back in the DIRT Modified days to now, he's taken care of me over the years."
Reutimann and his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra will take the green flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The 200-mile event will be the second of 25 NCTS events telecast live on the Speed Channel this season. MRN Radio will also broadcast the entire NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule on more than 350 stations worldwide in 2003.