Getting ready for NASCAR weekend
DAVID REUTIMANN is one of the drivers who will be competing in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway next weekend.
David Reutimann is standing in the pits reflecting on the challenge of taking a big, beefy Sprint Cup "stock" car around Infineon Raceway's intricate, twisty turns and plunging elevation drops. He says he's driven three or four Sprint Cup races on the Sonoma course - "Not nearly enough" - and needs a lot more laps under his belt to feel truly comfortable with the course.
"That's why I'm here today," he explained as he suited up for a test session on Tuesday, in a lighter, more agile version of the Toyota Camry he'll drive during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon next weekend.
He describes Infineon as "a rhythm kind of race track" where braking and shifting points are critical and where one mistake can take you from first to almost last in a matter of seconds.
"I hate the fact that we haven't been competitive on a road course yet," Reutimann said, adding he thinks he came in 19th in his last Infineon appearance.
Reutimann, a third-generation race driver, has had two wins and 23 top 10 finishes in his Sprint Cup career, and climbs into his car with the calm confidence of someone very much at home in the driver's seat.
He said track time in the late-model Camry will translate into precisely "zero" information in terms of setting up his cup car for the real race, but the practice sessions allow him to relearn the track and rediscover shift points from corner to corner.
The NASCAR weekend begins Friday evening, June 24, with the Grand Marshal's Dinner, featuring John Ratzenberger, John Lasseter and Tommy Smothers. For the first time since 2004, the dinner has sold out.
For ticket information and an event schedule go to infineonraceway.com/nascar.