You’re 41. You’ve got four NASCAR wins. You’ve worked for the same people for the most of the last decade. And now you’re out of a job with just three weeks until the end of the season. What do you do?
This is the question David Reutimann has to to answer right now. What does he do? He’s not young, he doesn’t have money or sponsorship to bring (that we know of) and he’s not miraculously going to be anything more than what he is. What you see is what you get.
Reutimann’s first foray into NASCAR came in 2002 with Joe Nemechek. After sporadic runs through that season and 2003, he was hired by Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. He eventually moved full time to the Cup and Nationwide Series with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2007.
During his time with the Waltrips, Reutimann has four wins, and points finishes of second and third in the Nationwide and Truck Series’. His best Cup season to date came in 2009 when he finished 16th in the points after one win, five top-fives and 1o top-10s.
Only Michael Waltrip has more wins in his equipment than Reutimann – and to date Reutimann can claim all two of the team’s Cup wins.
What’s more, this season he’s only a little worse than teammate Martin Truex Jr. – average of finish of 22.9 compared to 18.4 – and is four spots behind Truex in the points.
Reutimann’s release on Thursday was a stunning turn about. He had been granted a three year contract extension just last year and was a consistent force with the team. To his credit, Reutimann did a lot with sub-par equipment. Apparently it wasn’t good enough though.
The worst part of all of this is that Reutimann faces pretty bleak prospects on the market, especially given the timing. Teams are cutting back, have already filled spots or are only looking at drivers who are bringing something to the table. Like David Ragan, Reutimann will be hard pressed to find anything worth while or competitive, especially at the level he’s at now.
As they say, it’s not show friends, it’s show business. Thank you MWR for making that painfully clear.