By Nate Ryan, USA TODAYUpdated 6d 20h ago
David Reutimann will remain in the Sprint Cup Series in 2012, joining Tommy Baldwin Racing after losing his NASCAR ride at Michael Waltrip Racing late last season.
David Reutimann was left without a ride at the end of 2011 when he was squeezed out at Michael Waltrip Racing, where Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer are coming aboard for 2012.
Reutimann will become a teammate to Dave Blaney, who qualified Baldwin's No. 36 Chevrolet in 35 of 36 races last season. Blaney raced the full distance 28 times, posting a season-high third in October at Talladega Superspeedway. The car ranked 33rd in 2012 owners points, guaranteeing it a spot in the first five races of 2012.
TBR, which was started three years ago by winning Sprint Cup crew chief Tommy Baldwin, ran a second car in five races during the second half of 2011 and is seeking sponsorship to field cars for Reutimann and Blaney this season. Golden Corral, which was listed as the No. 36 primary sponsor in 19 races last year, has left the team.
"Last season, we met our goal of running the entire schedule and making the top-35 in points," Baldwin said in a statement. "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.
"We are still working on finding funding, but having a car guaranteed in the first five races, including the Daytona 500, is a big step for our team. We had success last year with our partners. Although Golden Corral will not return in 2012, they were very happy with the exposure they received. We hope they have shown other companies the value of our program and that our program will once again align with their business objectives."
Reutimann, 41, is known as a strong qualifier and has scored wins in the Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup series.
"Tommy has built a really good organization from the ground up in a really short amount of time," he said. "One of the things I like about Tommy and what's refreshing about him is that he is just a racer. There are not a lot of true racers in the garage, and he is one of them."
Reutimann made 170 Sprint Cup starts for Michael Waltrip Racing from 2007 to 2011 in the No. 00 Toyota. The team hired Mark Martin last November to replace Reutimann for 2012 in what was described as a sponsor-driven move.
Reutimann finished 28th in the 2011 standings, his worst showing since a 2007 rookie season (39th). He had won in each of the past two seasons, notching the first two Sprint Cup wins for MWR, which didn't win last year.
His hiring still leaves some accomplished free agents on the market in Sprint Cup, which faces a sponsorship slowdown that has resulted in fewer openings because of team contraction. Past winners Brian Vickers and David Ragan still are seeking employment.
David also got a ride in the truck series:
David Reutimann To Drive Truck For Ricky Benton Racing
By Bob Pockrass | Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:50 AM EST
David Reutimann will drive 13-15 races in the Camping World Truck Series for Ricky Benton Racing, the team announced Monday.
Reutimann, who is scheduled to run in 26 Cup races for Tommy Baldwin Racing, could run more for the Benton organization if sponsorship is secured. He has four career NASCAR national touring series victories – two in Cup, one in Nationwide and one in the truck series.
Clay Rogers drove for Ricky Benton Racing last year. The team competed in 15 races and finished 25th in the owner standings.
"The truck series is where I got my start," Reutimann said. "It's a very competitive series and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to run some races with a good team that is in the process of building.
“There is definitely the potential to run well. I wouldn't have accepted this opportunity if I didn't believe that. It's going to be a challenge, but I like the fact that they are committed to bringing the best piece to the track at the races we run instead of taking less than our best to every race.”
Jason Overstreet, who worked with Reutimann at Darrell Waltrip Racing, will be the crew chief. He most recently was a crew chief at Rusty Wallace Racing.
"It definitely makes things easier having that relationship with Jason," Reutimann said. "It really is neat to be working with him again and not having to go through the whole process of learning someone new."