The first test session of the new season is next week at Daytona International Speedway. If a driver doesn’t have a job by now, he probably won’t get one.
David Reutimann found work Tuesday by accepting a ride with Tommy Baldwin Racing. It’s not a top-level job like he had last year at Michael Waltrip Racing, but it keeps him relevant in the sport.
Others haven’t been as lucky – or as desperate. David Ragan, Brian Vickers, Reed Sorenson, Jason Leffler and Steve Wallace haven’t been able to find any deals. Ragan was a leading candidate for the No. 51 Chevrolet at Phoenix Racing, but car owner James Finch changed his mind and hired Kurt Busch. Ragan also was a favorite at Richard Petty Motorsports and Penske Racing, only to be bypassed by Aric Almirola at RPM and AJ Allmendinger at Penske.
He was under consideration for the Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Ford, but that team selected former Formula One driver Scott Speed.
His final hope rested with driving Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series, but several sources said 20-year-old Cole Whitt has won that job.
Reutimann was working on a couple of options involving TBR and a new team, Sinica Motorsports, being created by Venezuelan businessman George Sinica. That team failed to qualify for its only race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, and it responded by firing driver Grant Enfinger.
At Sinica, Reutimann would have been involved in a team without sponsorship or a definitive schedule.
There are no sponsors at TBR and the team had one top-10 finish last season. But it’s still work.
“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.”
Baldwin plans to have two cars next year. One will have the benefit of a top-35 provisional exemption to make the starting lineup for the first five races. Unless Baldwin transfers those points, Reutimann will have to race his way into each race.