Jordan Anderson isn’t the only one pulling double-duty in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2018.
Josh Reaume, a journeyman driver from California, will see both sides of the series this season, driving the Reaume Brothers Racing No. 33 Chevrolet for the full season in 2018.
With 32 XFINITY and 16 Truck series starts, this season will be his first full-time in a national NASCAR series. Furthermore, the 27-year-old has a few more new challenges in store for the year to come, the main one being the lack of a spec motor introduced to the series in 2018, which Reaume believes likely caused the team to miss the opening race at Daytona.
Additionally, a late accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway puts the team off to a slow start as the circuit hits the West Coast next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
For Reaume, however, he’s ready for the challenge. Taking on most of the grunt work in Truck Series ownership through the offseason, we spoke with Reaume to discuss the team’s building process, his opinions on the spec motor package and his expectations for his season.
Zach Catanzareti, Frontstretch.com: When it came to getting this team set for 2018, what was the building process like for you over the offseason?
Josh Reaume: It was pretty busy. It takes a lot to put a team together and get all your equipment put in place. But this is something I’ve had in mind and have silently been building for a year-and-a-half to try and make the transition smoother. I’ve had a lot of good people step up to the plate and that’s what has made it happen.
We just barely missed the race in Daytona. We did not have a spec motor, if we had one, I think we would have qualified really well. Here, we’ve got a built motor again.
We just need to get a couple races under us and keep building our equipment up.
Catanzareti: What is the background of this team like? What part do you play in the team and getting it started for the year?
Reaume: Essentially, it’s all me. The team name is Reaume Brothers Racing. From racing go-karts, that’s what we always called our race teams. I’m listed as the team owner… and I put it together. I hate to say that because my brothers are involved in helping where they can. They live in Canada.
On the ground in North Carolina, it’s me, my dad is here helping, my wife cooked all the food for the last two weekends. It’s a collective effort, but basically, everything is on my shoulders. I have to cross the T’s and dot the I’s, rental cars, hotels, entry lists, rosters, you name it. I’m doing it all right now. Hopefully, as we grow, we can get more people and I can delegate some of that off. It’s been a lot.
Catanzareti: Is that how it’s different from being a driver/owner to just a driver? I guess you don’t have to handle all that stuff as just a driver.
Reaume: Yeah for sure. And the other big thing is — I held it wide open for my lap. You probably care a little bit more when you had to pay to put the truck together and you have to pay to fix it. I hate to say that, I’d like to say the people I drove for, I took care of their equipment. But nothing really compares to when you really have to write the checks and you go out at 190 mph to run on the ragged edge.
Catanzareti: How much did missing Daytona hurt the team?
Reaume: I wouldn’t say so. If anything, I may be on a stretch to say it was a positive thing. Obviously, there is disappointment; it was great to see our partners step up and stick with us as a team. It wasn’t anything on our part we did wrong. We were under the impressions that the motor situation would be a lot more level. Had we had a spec motor if that was worth a couple tenths, we would’ve qualified well inside the top 20 and probably top 15.
In hindsight, too, you have to look at it as say we could’ve made the race and we could’ve totaled our truck on Lap 1. From a financial standpoint, that would’ve cost us more than missing the race.
Catanzareti: What are your thoughts on the motor package? You have a different type of view on it with your team.
Reaume: I think it’s a good direction to go. The problem is it’s pretty expensive to initially get into. Once you get in, it can be a good deal. It really falls back on NASCAR, in my opinion, on how well they can police it. I’ve been down this road before in the K&N Series with the spec motor they offer there. They really need to do a good job of making sure they don’t constantly change parts and pieces to where, at the end of the day, you add up everything you’ve spent to participate in a spec motor program and it’s comparable to a built engine.
It’s a direction you’re going to need to navigate toward. It showed at Daytona, you have to have those motors if that’s the advantage they’re going to have. There’s no way around it. It’s hard for us having built our team in the offseason to run a built motor. We went to Daytona and ran a tenth-and-a-half faster with our truck than the same package did last year.
Catanzareti: Will you be able to get a spec motor this year mid-season?
Reaume: We’re trying, we’re working on it. You know, there’s a lot of pieces to that. You need to re-wire your trucks, get different ECU, fuel cell. Also, they’re backlogged pretty bad, too. I don’t think anyone expected what happened in Daytona, so they’ve been swamped with orders. The last conversation I had was that motors were not going to be available until April. That tough. It’s not going to be a smooth transition, I can tell you that.
Catanzareti: Are you planning full-time through all the races?
Reaume: We’re going to run full-time with the No. 33, keep our trucks clean to continue to build up our program. As we are able to build up, I feel confident our equipment will get better and the team will, too. I don’t foresee a plateau.
Catanzareti: How many trucks do you have?
Reaume: We have a few, they’re all in various stages of being put together. That’s a loaded question because they’re all being outsourced to have various work done at the moment. We’ll be good. We’ll have a short track truck, a mile-and-a-half, speedways, then something to put together for Martinsville, Eldora. We’ll be OK, we just need to get through the next two.
Catanzareti: You said it’s a small crew?
Reaume: Absolutely. I have a friend from Canada here, my dad’s here. We just got a few guys from Stewart, Virginia helping out and going to the tracks with us. They have been working their butts off after-hours to put all this together for us. I’m really thankful for that.
Catanzareti: Going into a full season, brand new team, what are your realistic expectations? You have your hopes, but what do you expect performance-wise for this year?
Reaume: I would expect our average finish will be inside the top 20 and I would expect to finish top 20 in driver points for sure. That would be on the low end. I think it’s attainable for us to finish top 20 in truck owner points and I think our average finish, anything shy of 18th or better, I would be disappointed.
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