FORT WORTH, TX (October 12, 2004) - For David Reutimann, finishing third at Atlanta and Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra earlier this season have been major highlights in his first year of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series...
FORT WORTH, TX (October 12, 2004) - For David Reutimann, finishing third at Atlanta and Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra earlier this season have been major highlights in his first year of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. Returning to Texas after his success last June, the Raybestos Rookie points leader deems the 1.5-mile tri-oval as one of his favorite tracks on the schedule.
"Looking back at all the tracks I've competed at this season in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota, Texas and Atlanta are two of my favorite tracks," said Reutimann. "I've been looking forward to going back to Texas all year. Going back to a track where you've run well gives you even more confidence, momentum and something to look forward to. It keeps your mind going in the right direction and it keeps you focused."
"Toyota tested there earlier in the year," continued Reutimann. "All of the Toyota teams were really good at Texas. We had a strong run there earlier in the year and we are looking forward to bigger results."
During Reutimann's first outing at Texas in a Busch car last year, he qualified ninth and led laps 152 through 173 before becoming entangled in a multi-car accident inside ten laps remaining in the 200-Lap event.
"We started conservative and we ended up leading late in the race," said Reutimann. "With a handful of laps remaining, two guys got together in the corner on a restart and everybody was forced to slow down. Kasey Kahne was behind me and didn't have anywhere to go and ran into the back of me. Instead of finishing in the Top-five, we ended up finishing 24th because we were junk after the accident."
With the season unwinding, the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team is within striking distance of the Top-10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings. Considering half the tracks thus far have been new to Reutimann, the Raybestos Rookie has faired well. Only 72 points separates Reutimann from tenth-place in the standings entering Texas.
"At the beginning of the year, the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team set some goals for what we wanted to try to do as a new team," said Reutimann. "One of those goals was to finish top-10 in the points standings. I think it would be a good effort for a first-year team, with a rookie driver, a first-time crew chief and a new manufacturer to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It's something to shoot for and it's realistic for us to do. Obviously, you want to be as high in the points that you can be. I think we would be a lot higher if we hadn't had some things happen. Trying to race well in the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota and get back into the top-10 is what we are shooting for in these final races."
Like Reutimann, Crew Chief Jason Overstreet knows there's a Top-10 seat up for grabs in the points standings.
"Our goal this season was to win races and finish Top-10 in points," said Overstreet. "It's in our reach and we've got five races to do that in. We are also looking to wrap up Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors with David Reutimann. We are revisiting some tracks where we've been to before and that gives us even more confidence. This Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team is getting stronger and stronger. We've got a good solid core group of guys that want to work and win races. We've had some good runs this season and it's all coming together for us. We are looking forward to finishing out the year solid and being a strong contender next season."
Up for the challenge, Reutimann's aware it's not going to be easy to uproot anyone nestled in the Top-10.
"I didn't know what to think coming into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series after running only a limited amount of races in the Busch Series," said Reutimann. "I knew the competition was fairly stiff in the Busch Series. Coming over to the Craftsman Truck Series, this year seems to have been extremely tough. It's the toughest thing I've ever done anywhere at anytime. Talking to some of the veteran drivers in the division, they say that the competition this year has been tougher than previous years. Right now, I think it's tougher than the Busch Series."
Live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled to air Saturday, October 16th at 2 p.m. EDT live on SPEED Channel. The event will be broadcast on MRN Radio.
NTN, headquartered in Osaka, Japan, is one of the world's largest producers of ball and roller bearings. With manufacturing plants throughout the world, NTN is a leading bearing supplier to both the industrial and automotive markets. In addition to bearings of all sizes and types, NTN is also one of the largest producers of constant velocity joints for automotive front-wheel and four-wheel drive applications. Over 70% of the bearings sold by NTN in the United States are manufactured by one of the six manufacturing plants the company operates in the USA. Founded in 1918, NTN has long been recognized for the most stringent quality standards in the industry and counts some of the most recognized automotive and industrial brand names as its customers. NTN employs more than 13,000 dedicated people throughout the World and is traded on the Tokyo stock exchange. For more information on NTN, please visit the company's website at www.ntnamerica.com or www.ntn.ca.