Sports

Highlands racer: He's bad, he's Nationwide

Brothers Jonathan, left, and Josh Reaume, both trained mechanical engineers and race drivers, have spent many hours working on engines in their family’s shop in Highlands. Josh, back home this week, has signed a deal to drive in six Nationwide Series stock car races this season. - Don Descoteau/News staff
Brothers Jonathan, left, and Josh Reaume, both trained mechanical engineers and race drivers, have spent many hours working on engines in their family’s shop in Highlands. Josh, back home this week, has signed a deal to drive in six Nationwide Series stock car races this season.
— image credit: Don Descoteau/News staff

Working as an engineer with Tristar Motorsports in the NASCAR hotbed of Mooresville, North Carolina, it’s not unusual for Josh Reaume to spot a Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon having breakfast in a local cafe.

“You meet a lot of drivers through daily living. It makes me feel like I’m in the right place,” says the multi-talented 23 year old. He moved to Highlands in 2006 with his family, got his mechanical engineering degree at the University of Victoria and latched on with the Tristar team after doing an internship with Toyota Racing Development.

Also an accomplished driver who made his Camping World Truck Series debut last summer (25th place out of 35), he’s a switch-hitter in the sport, a guy who understands the subtleties of driving and the mechanical side of performance. He’s learned much about what makes high-powered stock cars tick in recent years, both from tearing them apart and rubbing shoulders with veteran drivers and crew members.

His next racing opportunity is driving for Rick Ware Racing in six 2014 Nationwide Series races – the next rung down from NASCAR’s top-level Sprint Cup – starting March 15 with the Grit Chips 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I want to show people that I deserve to be there, that I’ll take care of the equipment and not go crazy out there,” he says.

His goal is to let his performance do the talking. Last April in Virginia, Ware watched Reaume start 31st and finish 23rd in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. Not an eye-popping result, but the team owner later told the youngster he liked the way he handled himself on the track and offered him the part-time ride.

Reaume’s brother Jonathan, 25, raced karts alongside Josh in the early days and races late models at Western Speedway when he can – he recently completed his masters in mechanical engineering at the UVic. He isn’t surprised his younger sibling earned this opportunity.

“He’s got such a drive and a passion for it,” Jonathan says. He remembers many a time when Josh’s friends would be out doing other things, but he’d be tinkering in the garage, trying to gain an edge. “He’s definitely sacrificed (social time) to get to this point. It’s nice to see it pay off.”

Josh Reaume's other scheduled Nationwide races include:

• April 11, Help a Hero 200, Darlington Raceway

• May 18, Pioneer 250, Iowa Speedway

• May 24, History 300, Charlotte Motor Speedway

• June 14, Alliance Truck Parts 250, Michigan International Speedway

• June 27, Feed the Children 300, Kentucky Speedway

To follow Reaume’s progress on the Nationwide Series visit http://www.bit.ly/1gaSes8.

ddescoteau@vicnews.com

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