While covering the Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway last weekend, I had the opportunity to interview Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann while waiting out the rain for practice to begin on Saturday morning.
At the age of 39, Reutimann scored his first career Cup-series win in May 2009 at the Coke 600—the first win for the MWR organization as well. However, the win came as a result a gamble that rain would shorten the event. Naysayers downplayed the significance of the win, as is often the case with rain-shortened wins.
In 2010, Reutimann earned validation with a win at Chicagoland, out-running Jeff Gordon at the end to take the checkers. Reutimann spoke about what the win meant for him and his career.
"I felt like a lot of people—that although the Coke 600 was a huge win for us, that really wasn't the way you wanted to win a race," Reutimann explained. "To get the (Chicago) win, we already knew we could do it as an organization and as a team, but you didn't need to hear that other stuff any more. I think the Coke 600 is probably a bigger race in terms of prestige, but as far as winning goes, (Chicago) was my biggest win."
Reutimann has struggled a bit in 2011 after a couple of promising seasons in 2009 and 2010, finishing 16th and 18th in those years, respectively. The driver of the No. 00 has just a single top-five and two top-10 finishes this season after scoring a total of 11 top-fives, 19 top-10s, two poles and two victories in 2009-2010.
However, Reutimann still has big plans for 2012 and beyond. He hopes to "win some races, make the Chase...I feel like we definitely have a good enough team to be able to do that now. We just haven't gotten it done this year, so our only choice is to decide to do it next year now."
The 2011 season has obviously been a disappointment for Reutimann, but this is far from the only time he has faced adversity in his career. Reutimann didn't break into the Cup series until 2007 at the age of 36, unusually old in today's NASCAR.
Reutimann, a strong Christian, said he's relied on his faith in God during the times he wasn't sure what would happen next in his career.
"Nine times out of 10, (faith) was really the only thing that was constant that you had to fall back on," said Reutimann. "You never were really 100-percent sure that you were going to have a ride the next week. It's kind of the nature of our business, unfortunately, so the faith side of things was the only thing that was constant."
With the addition of Mark Martin to the No. 00 team in 2012, Reutimann is apparently on the way out with MWR after 2011 and the 41-year-old's racing career is again uncertain. Once again, Reutimann will need his trust in God with the uncertainty of being let go from MWR.
Reutimann isn't going to lose sleep over it, however. His faith will hold fast no matter what comes.
Luke Krmpotich is a Featured Columnist with Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first-hand by the author.