Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

David Reutimann's long ride pays off with contract extension

INDIANAPOLIS — David Reutimann pledged he'd keep showing up to the shop at Michael Waltrip Racing like always, even if a potential lack of sponsorship money meant the only thing he'd drive was a tractor to cut the grass.

A timely victory for one of NASCAR's most affable drivers means Reutimann can keep the John Deere in the garage for a while.

Reutimann, 40, of Zephyrhills, and MWR have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in the No. 00 Toyota through the 2012 season, giving him something he has lacked during his Cup career: job security.

Though the deal — which includes having Aaron's as the title sponsor for 30 races in both 2011 and '12 — gives Reutimann peace of mind, don't expect him to change.

"I don't have but one speed, and that's to go as hard as I can all the time," he said.

Even if Reutimann admits his car has struggled at times keeping up.

Those days, however, appear to be over. Reutimann picked up his second Sprint Cup win July 10 at Chicagoland and is 15th in points heading into Sunday's race at Indianapolis.

MWR general manager Ty Norris pledged after the win in Chicago to find a way to keep Reutimann on board. A handshake deal was reached, and Reutimann didn't worry as the details were resolved.

Besides, Reutimann knows nothing is guaranteed if he doesn't perform.

"Just because you have a contract does not mean you can just cruise," he said. "I think that's a common misconception that once you sign on, you're good for a couple of years and you can just not do your job as well as you're supposed to."

Taking it easy has never been part of the bargain for Reutimann, who has spent his entire career worrying if he'll have a ride the following season.

Reutimann began driving for MWR in its infancy and never has taken his spot for granted. Mostly because it never has been. He has worked year to year since he started driving for MWR in the Cup series, staying patient as the upstart team went through growing pains.

"He has a talent level that's way up there," former Cup champion Dale Jarrett said. "He's a very smart driver. He's a very determined driver."

That determination for the son of bay area short-track legend Buzzie Reutimann is finally paying off.

Reutimann collected his first victory in the rain-shortened 600-mile race at Charlotte last year but didn't need any help from the weather in Chicago, pulling away from Jeff Gordon for the win.

It's the next step in a long steady climb that began with him racing on bay area dirt tracks as a kid. In a sport enamored with grooming young drivers barely out of high school for stardom, Reutimann's 20-year rise through the ranks is a testament to his doggedness.

"It's been a rough journey," he said. "There's been tons of sacrifices by a lot of people on all different sides."

David Reutimann's long ride pays off with contract extension 07/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 24, 2010 5:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  2. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Chris Archer has made a name for himself on the mound. And at a time when some athletes work to steer clear of any issue with a tint of controversy for fear it could damage their brand, Archer has used that platform to weigh in on some topical social, political and news events.

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI


    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.
  4. For starters: Rays vs. Mariners, with another new look


    Having lost 11 of their last 14 games and dropping to a season-worst four games under .500 at 60-64, the Rays continue to search for ways to get out of their extended offensive slump.

    And with the M's starting LHP Ariel Miranda today, that means another new look to the lineup, which includes having struggling …

  5. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often


    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.