Faulk is a second-generation racer from Florida, where he was 2003Rookie of the Year in th
You may have read of the "Law Firm of Reutimann, Overstreet, andKennedy" in "Fast Floridians" (Dec. '04 SCR) where the Craftsman TruckSeries team of David Reutimann was profiled. Now there's a juniorpartner--Mike Faulk--with the ever-present Buzzie Reutimann.
Faulk, 22, was Rookie of the Year and winner of two races in the 2003Florida Pro Late Model Series. Then, in 2004 he went to the NASCAR KodakElite Southeast Series with the double-zero Pennzoil car of WakelyMotorsports where David Reutimann's dad, Buzzie, called the shots. ButFaulk experienced some rough times, as racers often do.
Faulk is moving to Michael Burton's MB3 Motorsports and the HootersProCup Series where he will compete for Rookie of the Year in 2005.Buzzie and Faulk's dad, Lee, will still be involved, the former ascrewchief.
Mike Faulk, shown with his '04 NASCAR Southeast Series car, will competefor Rookie of the
Yes, 2004 was a learning experience, but let Faulk tell it:
"I appreciate the opportunity given to me by Michael Wakely, Pennzoil,and the Wakely Motorsports team. Unfortunately, 2004 has not been whatwe hoped for. Our motor program let us down in several races, and weweren't able to recover.
"Running in the NASCAR Kodak Southeast Elite Touring Division has been agreat learning experience, and we were competitive in all other aspects,but six DNFs due to engine failures kept us out of the points race, andthat's not acceptable for us. We felt we were close to a couple of winsand the car was capable of several Top 5s, but we weren't able to keepthe motor together to seal the deal.
"After talking to my dad and Buzzie about the offer from MB3 MotorSportsand determining Michael Burton's commitment to winning, we felt it wasbest for us to make the move over to the Hooters ProCup Series and tocompete for the 2005 Rookie of the Year."
More on that and his No. 53 car in a minute. First, about Faulk. Just ashe vowed last season, his goals are still to graduate from theUniversity of Florida in public relations, hopefully after two moresemesters, and to move up in his racing career.
To lighten his load, he sold the lawn care business which he'd startedin his Gainesville, Florida, hometown.
Mike Faulk. Remember the name. He's the son of Lee--former driver of theSlender U NASCAR Cup and Busch cars and now a car builder--and AmbyFaulk, who now sees her son following in her husband's tire tracks.
"I remember when I was around six years old going to watch my dad racein the All American Challenge Series (later NASCAR All Pro). I grew upgoing to Orlando Speed World and New Smyrna on Friday and Saturdaynights," Faulk recalls.
He first climbed into a race car in Bill Beltz's Pure Stock at nearbyBronson, and in the ensuing season won nine races. Then he moved to LateModels and competed in the S.A.R.A. Series where he was Rookie of Yearand finished Third in points in 2000.
From there it was pick and choose until, under Lee's guidance, heentered the Florida Pro Series full time for 2003.
Enter the Reutimanns, David and Buzzie. "I had first met David Reutimannthrough my dad at a local short-track race in Florida," says Faulk. "Iwas a youngster, but Dad was racing and I was spotting for him."
Although from different venues, Buzzie and Lee also crossed pathsfrequently.
"Buzzie is known for his open-wheel background, and my dad was more intothe Late Model scene, so they didn't get a chance to race togethermuch," Faulk says.
However, David started driving the Cowherd Motorsports Late Model in2000 after the senior Faulk was in the car, which is currently driven byJames Powell.
"That relationship didn't last very long, but we became closer friendswith David," recalls Faulk.
Did they ever. So much so that when Reutimann left the 00 car last year,he recommended Faulk as his replacement, but with the results mentionedearlier.
"I'm used to me and Dad loading up and going to the races, which is howwe've done it my whole career," Faulk says. "So it will be fun to bondwith a new team and new people at the Hooters ProCup races.
"Even without TV, Hooters ProCup seems to be better promoted and thepublic is more aware of the series. There are certainly more fans in thestands. Hooters is corporate friendly, and that always helps to attractcurrent and prospective sponsors and their clients. The ProCup Series isthe main attraction for Hooters Racing, so naturally it's broadly andpowerfully promoted. The series also attracts the best and mostexperienced drivers in the country, and winning at this level wouldreally mean something to me personally."
Buzzie's official position will be Mike's crewchief. Young Faulk andBuzzie have proven they communicate well together, and Buzzie'sknowledge and experience is an obvious advantage for the team. Buzziewill of course consult with both teams regarding race car setups, tires,shocks, motors, gears, and so on.
Lee is the general manager of MB3 Motorsports. He will oversee allaspects of both teams on and off the track.
Michael and Michelle Burton from Ocala, Florida, are the owners of theteam, and Larry Goolsby from nearby Williston, Florida, is the driver ofthe second team car.
What about that all-important sponsorship for the new No. 53 car?
"Team owner Michael Burton is heavily involved with companies such asHerbalife, Mybodyshape.com, and several others, which will play a keyrole in corporate sponsorship," Faulk says.
Reutimann, the Truck Series driver, is married to Lisa with daughterEmilia, so the pair's outside interests took quite a fork in the road in2004--Reutimann to the trucks and Faulk to the Southeast Series--asFaulk attests.
"Since he is married and I am single, our interests aren't exactly thesame as I'm sure you can imagine," Faulk says. "I don't really know whatDavid likes to do in his spare time--which he doesn't really have any ofanymore. As for myself, though, I like water-skiing, basketball,fishing, and I always keep time to the side for girls.
"We do speak, probably three times a week, depending upon schedules, andwe make time to visit one another personally when close by," says Faulk."I call David not only about car setups and tracks, but about the racingbusiness in general. He's a great friend and helps whenever and howeverhe can."