Reutimann And Waltrip Battle for Bragging Rights at Martinsville MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 6, 2004) -- As NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver David Reutimann primes his No. 17 NTN Bearings entry for the .526-mile Martinsville oval after ...
Reutimann And Waltrip Battle for Bragging Rights at Martinsville
MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 6, 2004) -- As NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver David Reutimann primes his No. 17 NTN Bearings entry for the .526-mile Martinsville oval after scoring a Bud Pole Award and a third-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway one month ago, his team owner and NASCAR on FOX TV analyst Darrell Waltrip prepares for his first of three races -- Martinsville Speedway, Indianapolis Raceway Park and Martinsville Speedway -- as driver of the No. 11 Toyota Tundra.
"This Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team is not going to lay off of me if DW outruns me at Martinsville," said Reutimann. "I want DW to feel like he made a good investment for the future of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team by allowing me to run his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota. I feel like if I go out there and outrun him, he'll think he made a good choice. If he goes out there and he beats me, he's going to always think that he can do a better job. At the same time, I don't want to go out there and knock him around either. I don't want to have a pink slip sitting in my office come Monday morning. It's a situation where DW's not going to give an inch and I'm sure he's not going to expect me too either."
"Reutimann has never raced at Martinsville and there are many other places we are going to that he hasn't raced at either," said Waltrip whose best finish is fifth in a NCTS entry at Martinsville (9/21/96). "He has his work cut out for him. The majority of his experience growing up has been on short tracks. I don't think he will have any trouble figuring out the track. Between his youth and enthusiasm and my age and experience, we should have good efforts on both parts. There can't be a 1A and a 1B. There can only be a winner. I am going to be trying everything to make sure that I'm that guy. It would be nice to see something like what you see in Formula One where he and I come across the start finish line side by side."
Waltrip has a distinct advantage with 11 wins and eight pole awards as a past NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competitor at the historic short track, but Reutimann is burning up the charts with the NTN Bearings machine making his own history and will be a force to be reckoned with as he challenges for a victory at Martinsville.
"Even though I've never raced at Martinsville, it's a type of track that takes me back to my grassroots," said Reutimann. "Short tracks were my forte growing up and I'm so excited Martinsville is on our schedule two times this season. From what I hear, saving the brakes and keeping the fenders on the No. 17 NTN Bearings machine sizes up Martinsville."
Darrell Waltrip Motorsports picks up with Reutimann where the organization left off with Rich Bickle seven years ago. Driving the No. 17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports entry, Bickle collected three wins from pole position, four Bud Pole Awards, 15 Top-5s and 17 Top-10s en route to a second-place finish in the 1997 NCTS championship points standings.
"I am amazed at Reutimann because this team was able to just pick up where we left off in '97," said Waltrip, who finished seventh in both Martinsville NCTS events last season. "I knew he was a good driver after watching him a little bit last year in the Busch Series. If you look back at our first two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events, Daytona's a crapshoot. You just go there and you hope everything goes well and you are able to load it back in the hauler. That's the way I approach Daytona. On the other hand, Atlanta is about handling, speed and the driver. It's the whole package. At Atlanta, David sat on the pole and ran in the Top-5 the whole race and finished third which was a thrill to me."
"At Martinsville, Reutimann will need to concern himself with brakes and that's spelled two ways as b-r-a-k-e-s and b-r-e-a-k-s," continued Waltrip, who has one Top-5 and eight Top-10s in 14 NCTS career starts. "I love short tracks because it's all about finesse and control. You don't have to have the fastest truck, it's not about horsepower and it's not about aerodynamics. It's all about what the guy in the seat does behind the steering wheel."
"Because of DW's success at Martinsville and being a three-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion, I'd be foolish not to ask his advice," said Reutimann. "He's won there so many times. I know they have done some things to the track in the past years, but basically the racetrack is still the same. I'm ready for my first Craftsman Truck short track feature."
Reutimann and his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra will take the green flag at Martinsville Speedway Saturday, April 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The 250-Lap event will be the third of 25 NCTS events telecast live on the Speed Channel this season. MRN Radio will also broadcast the entire NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule.