Reutimann Coached To Succeed at Darlington Under Friday Night Lights DARLINGTON, SC (November 10, 2004) - Before David Reutimann races under the lights at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped Darlington Raceway oval Friday night, the Raybestos Rookie...
Reutimann Coached To Succeed at Darlington Under Friday Night Lights
DARLINGTON, SC (November 10, 2004) - Before David Reutimann races under the lights at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped Darlington Raceway oval Friday night, the Raybestos Rookie points leader will turn to the Waltrip brothers for a laundry list of dos and don'ts to avoid the famed black stripe down the side of the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra.
"I'm going to talk with Michael and DW extensively on how to approach Darlington Raceway since I've never raced there," said Reutimann. "Hopefully, they will give me a list of what not to do and a list of what I can get away with in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra. Michael's run really well there and DW has five Nextel Cup wins there. We've been waiting around to get to this track to see what it holds for us."
Prior to the start of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team deemed Lowe's Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway the two toughest tracks Reutimann would have to face as a rookie.
"Before the season started, the guys told me that Lowe's and Darlington would be the two hardest tracks for me," said Reutimann. "According to Team Manager Bobby Kennedy, that's the only two tracks, which really stuck out to him. We ran well at Lowe's until we had a problem and we hope to run better at Darlington."
Up for the challenge, Reutimann knows veterans like Bobby Hamilton will have the upper hand at Darlington.
"Points leader Bobby Hamilton is tough to beat anywhere you go," said Reutimann. "He has a ton of laps around Darlington and two Craftsman Truck Series wins to his credit at that place. Some tracks lend more to people who have experience and I think Darlington's one of them. It's a thinking man's track. You have to conserve your equipment and save your tires. Sometimes as a rookie when the green flag comes out, all you want to do is hold it wide open all day. I think the guys that have a lot of laps around Darlington are a little smarter."
After Reutimann attempts to elude the famous Darlington stripe, he'll travel to the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (CA) Speedway this Saturday. Because Reutimann competed in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Toyota invited the three-time Southeast Series winner to offer words of encouragement to the top-10 drivers from the division's four series - Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest - and the NASCAR Grand National Division's top-15 drivers from two series - the Busch North and West - in both driver crew chief meetings.
"This is the second year for the Toyota All-Star Showdown and Toyota has done a tremendous job," said Reutimann. "I've never raced in the event, but basically I came from the Southeast Series, which was once called the All Pro Series. The name has changed hands a few times, but the cars and people have stayed the same. Toyota is giving these drivers the opportunity to be heard and seen. You've got to love it when you are able to race, have the opportunity to showcase your talent on SPEED Channel and have a shot at making some money. It will be a great race and I can't wait to get there to hang out with the guys and catch up with some old friends."
Reutimann's success in the Southeast Series catapulted the Zephyrhills (FL) native into the NASCAR Busch Series.
"The few years I competed in the division, I was rookie of the year in 1997 and finished as high as second in the 2002 points standings," said Reutimann. "When you finish well, you receive attention from the media. Pretty soon, people kind of know who you are. That's sort of how I got the opportunity with Joe Nemechek through Hills Brothers Coffee, which was sponsoring the former All Pro Series at the time. That helped land me a seven race Busch deal with NEMCO Motorsports. I got my big break coming up through the NASCAR AutoZone Elite, Southeast Series. Guys like Joe Nemechek, Jason Keller and Hank Parker Jr. came from those series too. The series has done what it's supposed to do. It's designed to help you take the next step."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped Darlington Raceway oval is scheduled Friday, November 12th at 8 p.m. Eastern live on SPEED Channel. MRN Radio will broadcast the event.