David Reutimann once competed in the highest level of American auto racing, driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. While Reutimann hasn’t competed in the Cup Series since 2014, the former Coca-Cola 600 winner is still plenty busy in the racing world as a racer, car owner and crew chief.
Reutimann discussed his life after NASCAR on Speed51’s “The Morning Bullring” with host Bob Dillner.
“I’ve just been here in my hole in the wall in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, building some dirt cars and stuff,” Reutimann said Monday morning. “I finally got myself one put back together because I had sold everything. I was too far behind on shop work to stop and build my own stuff. I don’t make any money on my own stuff. As a matter of fact, I lose money hand over fist on my own stuff. But we finally got caught up and got the car ready.”
Reutimann was behind the wheel last weekend, as well as his famous father Buzzie Reutimann. The results were not what either of them hoped for, but David was able to better his dad’s performance and earn the family bragging rights for the weekend at Bubba Raceway Park (FL).
“He didn’t have a great night, neither one of us did,” Reutimann explained. “He just had a birthday and turned 78 now. He’s still wide open. I was jerking around trying to pass a few guys on the outside and he blasted around me and drove by me and took off. I had to beat up on him to get back by him. I can’t have the old man out-running me, then I have to hear all kinds of stuff the following week. He didn’t finish well, but he had a good car early on.”
This weekend, Reutimann will compete at Lake View Motor Speedway (SC) with the Dirt Cup Challenge’s Open Wheel Madness event, which will be streamed live on Speed51.com and aired on a tape-delayed basis on Speed51’s Short Track America on MAVTV. It will be his first time competing with the Modified series.
“Since they started this Dirt Cup Challenge deal last year, I’ve been able to attend some races as a spectator, because I didn’t have anything to drive,” he said. “This is my first Dirt Cup race I’ve been able to race. It should be a good two-day show. It’s a really good series, it’s growing. I like the format. There’s not points or anything like that, a lot of guys get caught up in points and feeling like they have to be there. It’s just a race-to-race deal. The purses are pretty good and pay back through the field pretty well.”
When he’s not racing, he’s owning and operating Beak Built Chassis, working with UMP-style Modifieds for a handful of fellow racers.
“It’s just myself and one other guy,” Reutimann stated. “We don’t build a ton of cars, which is by design, but it’s going well. We could build more cars if we chose to, but there’s so much work into them and not a lot of money in it. All things in moderation.”
Reutimann has also taken on a new role as crew chief and driving coach with Lee Faulk Racing in the asphalt world, working with Limited Late Model racer Ryan Rackley.
“We’ve only raced one race,” he explained. “Ryan is a great kid. He’s got a lot of potential, a lot of Legends car experience and things like that. There’s some things that come with driving a Legends car, some habits you pick up racing that don’t transfer over to the Late Model world. You have to wean them off of those things and make them do things differently and think differently, but he’s doing a great job, he’s a really sharp kid.”
Reutimann can’t help but poke some fun at himself considering everything on his plate these days.
“I don’t know how I became a crew chief. There are a lot of things I wanted to be in life, but crew chief wasn’t one of them and neither was car owner. I’m on both of those right now. Lee Faulk Racing has a great program right now, and I’m learning about these Late Models and helping along more in a driver coaching capacity. If anybody’s qualified to tell a driver what not to do, that’s me. I’m your guy. I’ve got the market cornered on what not to do.”
While it may not be the rich and glamorous life of the NASCAR Cup Series, Reutimann is pleased with his current way of life and grateful to have enjoyed the opportunities he has had.
“The pay scale is slightly different than it used to be, working at Beak Built building dirt cars rather than going Cup racing,” he said with a laugh. “There is a slight pay difference, I’m not going to lie. I love NASCAR racing, I love the sport, I love everything about it. But when I stepped out of the deal, I have not watched a lap of any Cup racing except the last five laps when Truex won the title, because Truex is my buddy and I wanted to see him pull that off. Other than that, I haven’t. I love the sport, but if I can’t be involved in it, it’s not something I want to torture myself with. If I watch it, I want to be there.
“I went back to dirt racing, stuff like that, as a young guy all I wanted to do get off the dirt and move on to something bigger. When I got to something bigger, all I wanted to do was get back to dirt. It’s just a weird way things circle around. I miss certain aspects of it. I miss certain people I interacted with. There’s a lot of aspects I don’t miss, and I’m okay with that. It was a good gig while it lasted, but life changes.”
Race fans can watch Reutimann in action this weekend on Speed51.com by becoming a premium subscriber to the Speed51 Network. Both nights of racing from Lake View Motor Speedway will be streamed via a live broadcast. Click here to sign up for your monthly or yearly membership today.
Fans who missed “The Morning Bullring” and wish to see the show and Reutimann’s interview in its entirety can click here for the on-demand replay of the broadcast. Fans can also visit the Speed 51 Five Star Bodies Facebook Feed to watch the replay of the broadcast.
Be sure to like Speed 51 on Facebook and turn on notifications, so you can be alerted when “The Morning Bullring” comes on each Monday at 7:00 a.m. ET.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: David Reutimann Facebook