David Reutimann was more than surprised to find out he was being released from Michael Waltrip Racing.
The veteran driver spoke with reporters Friday at Texas Motor Speedway and shared his emotional thoughts on the decision earlier in the week by MWR to remove him from the team's No. 00 Toyota in favor of Mark Martin in 2012.
“There’s no sugar coating this deal, it’s tough," said Reutimann. "For sure, I’ll take some of the blame, I messed up this year some. But at the end of the day, it hasn’t been all me, either. It’s equal parts, and that’s kind of how it works.”
Reutimann has a pair of Sprint Cup wins to his credit while a member of the Waltrip organization but has struggled this season. He comes into the Texas weekend 28th in the point standings.
“It’s been an awful season for us, for sure,” Reutimann said. “We haven’t run up to our expectations or our standards. But I thought I’d have a chance to make up for it.
"It’s a bit of a shock. I wasn’t expecting it."
The decision being made this late in the season doesn't give Reutimann many options with Sprint Cup as well as Nationwide and truck series rides for 2012 at a premium. That challenge has added to his disappointment.
"I was just disappointed – disappointed, bummed out to put it mildly,” Reutimann said. “It happened. It is what it is.
"The thing about it is there’s not a lot out there. If there were to be something out there, it’s going to involve you doing the same thing that got done to me. I’m not exactly up for that, either. I don’t know what will happen. It may come down to something like that. I’ve got to think on that a little bit – when one person’s gain is another person’s big loss, you’ve got to weigh the plusses there, and I’m not sure there’s a lot.”
Reutimann acknowledged his respect for Martin but that doesn't take away the sting of being replaced. However he understands that it's part of the business at times and in fact may have to face the same situation in reverse to remain in the sport.
“People looking out for No. 1 is what got me in this situation to begin with,” Reutimann said. “That’s the mentality. I’m no angel, but I’m just struggling a little bit with it. I’m not saying that would happen, but I’m saying that if I was to go to another car, it would probably be at the expense of somebody else unfortunately.
“I know how bad it feels for me right now. I’m not really sure, you’ve just got to wonder if it’s worth it in the long run. I don’t now.”
|More NASCAR coverage|