FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 04: David Reutimann, driver of the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images for NASCAR)
2 Total Updates since January 3, 2012
over 1 year ago Update 3 comments
David Reutimann, one of three high-profile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to become unemployed at the end of the 2011 season, has found a ride for 2012.
Reutimann will drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing, the team announced Tuesday, teaming with Dave Blaney. Sponsorship details and car numbers were not announced, though the team said sponsor Golden Corral will not return.
"Tommy has built a really good organization from the ground up in a really short amount of time," Reutimann said. "One of the things I like about Tommy and what's refreshing about him is that he is just a racer. There are lots of things he could be doing, but instead he is at the shop every day working hard to build the organization from the ground up.
"There are not a lot of true racers in the garage, and he is one of them. It's the way I was raised with my Dad, so we are on the same page. I'm just really looking forward to the season and see what we can do."
TBR competed in all 36 races last season and finished the season in the top 35 in owner points – thus guaranteeing the team one spot for the Daytona 500. The organization expanded to two cars for five races in the second half of the year – and now will apparently try to make a go as a full-time two-car team.
"Reutimann will be a great addition to our program and to Dave Blaney," Baldwin said. "...This season, our goal is to continue our progress on the competition side. Having two veteran drivers in Reutimann and Blaney is a very important step in our program's growth."
Reutimann had been looking for a ride since learning in November he was being fired from Michael Waltrip Racing in favor of Mark Martin.
Along with several younger drivers, Brian Vickers and David Ragan are still searching for new teams after losing their jobs at the end of the year.
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
David Reutimann, unceremoniously dumped from his Michael Waltrip Racing ride this week in favor of Mark Martin, told reporters Friday at Texas Motor Speedway that he's struggling with his firing.
"It's hard for me not to take it personal," Reutimann told several media members, including Landmark Newspapers' Dustin Long. "I'm an emotional guy anyway, so it's hard for me not to take everything personal. People telling me it's just business, really doesn't make it any better. It's still a disappointment."
Reutimann said he has no job prospects for next season at this point, partially because he was fired so late in the year. He said it was an option to try and take someone else's ride – as he inferred Martin did to him – but he wasn't sure if he wanted to do that.
"If there were to be something out there, it's going to involve you doing the same thing that got done to me," he told reporters. "I'm not exactly up for that, either. I don't know what will happen. It may come down to something like that. When one person's gain is another person's big loss, you've got to weight the pluses and I'm not sure there is a lot.''
Reutimann added: "People looking out for No. 1 is what got me in this situation to begin with. That's the mentality. I'm no angel, but I'm just struggling a little bit with it."
For Reutimann's complete comments (and there were many more), check out Long's blog over at the Landmark Newspapers site.
over 1 year ago Update 2 comments
Calling it a "big day for Michael Waltrip Racing," team owner Michael Waltrip announced Friday his Toyota-backed organization has signed Mark Martin to drive a partial schedule for at least the next two seasons.
Martin will drive the No. 00 car – the so-called "Aaron's Dream Machine" – for 25 Sprint Cup Series races in 2012 and 2013. He replaces David Reutimann, who had been with the team since it began.
"The performance level is not where they'd it like to be right now, but they're making a serious move toward stepping that up," Martin said during a news conference at Texas Motor Speedway. "I'm really excited to have a chance to be a part of that. Everybody knows I like to help people. Getting a chance to work with some of the young drivers that come along and come through the program is something that really means a lot to me."
Martin joins a roster that also includes Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer, who is leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season.
While Martin will drive the Daytona 500, Waltrip will drive the other restrictor-plate races (including the Budweiser Shootout) and the race in his home state of Kentucky.
With Aaron's sponsoring 30 races, Waltrip said six races will be filled by a yet-to-be-determined driver who brings sponsorship (Aaron's also holds an option with MWR for 2014).
"We're open to suggestions," Waltrip said.
Martin's schedule is the same one he drove while racing part time for Ginn Racing and then Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007 and 2008.
"It is the perfect schedule for me, and it gives me an opportunity to catch my breath," he said.
Waltrip thanked Reutimann for his contributions to MWR, but indicated Aaron's owner Ken Butler was anxious to see a new direction for the 00 car.
"We (decided) it was not going the way we hoped it was," Waltrip said. "He wanted to know what we were going to do."
Said Butler: "We're very apprecitave with what David has done. But our contract up was up next year. Our thinking is, 'What's next?' I went to Michael and said, 'What can we do next? What's the next big deal?'"
"He picked a future Hall of Famer here to drive the Aaron's Dream Machine," Waltrip said.
After racing a Ford for the majority of his career, Martin switched to a Chevrolet when he left Roush Racing for his partial retirement. He later regretted giving the impression he was quitting, because the time off left him rejuvenated and ready to rejoin the Cup Series with a full schedule – which he did by signing with Hendrick Motorsports.
Though Martin is stepping out of the No. 5 car for Kasey Kahne, he was unsure until recently what 2012 would bring.
There were several options floating around, Martin said, but most were of the "wait and see if it materializes" variety. MWR first approached Martin three weeks ago to begin talks, and the contract was signed Wednesday.
"This was the best option on the table at the present time," Martin said. "They presently have a very good program, and they have fast race cars. Their average finish probably doesn't equal the speed of their race cars. But they are making serious moves."