Reuvers Works His Way Up to Upper Midwest Racing Royalty by Jana Jurkovich
Elko, ASA Midwest Tour Are His Kingdoms
If Donny Reuvers were king, he would rule the short tracks of the Upper-Midwest. Elko Speedway in Elko, MN would be his palace and his kingdom would be built from the ground up, just like his racing career.
31-year-old Reuvers began racing fifteen years ago. He started out at the entry level, like most drivers do, and a few years later bought his first late model.
“We had no idea what we were doing,” says Reuvers, “We didn’t know how to change anything so when we did anything we took it apart and made sure we put it back together exactly the way it was, assuming that the guy we bought it from did it right.”
Like most good leaders though, Ruevers began to surround himself with the right people. Besides the help and support he receives from his father, one of the first was Shane Tesch, who has gone on to crew chief in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Says Reuvers, “He was very ambitious. He would work hard to make sure everything was right on the cars. I just learned a lot from him and working with him on stuff. ” The Dundas, MN racer also went to work at Country Joe Racing and got a chance to learn from guys like Kevin Cywinski and Bond Suss.
“All those guys were a tremendous help” says Reuvers, “I spotted for Joey Miller and I
always would room with like Bond or Kevin or those guys, so it was fun because I’d get to pick their brains about different tracks and different set ups. With Bond being a crew chief you could ask him some questions and then when I was with Kevin, as a driver, he could kind of tell me the feeling of the car.”
Now Reuvers rules the short tracks in the Wisconsin and Minnesota areas. He owns the last three straight points championships at Elko Speedway. He’s conquered Raceway Park in Shakopee, MN, where he also claimed top spot in points last year, and sets his sights on the ASA Midwest Tour, where he finished runner-up a year ago with four top five and eight top ten finishes.
While his rise to the top wasn’t always easy, it makes Reuvers appreciate the journey even more.
“Knowing that we built it up off of really nothing and just kind of hands on built it definitely makes you feel good at the end of the day,” says Reuvers, “Especially when you’re running good.”
This season he sets out to defend his ground and will once again run for points at Elko Speedway.
“There’s always pressure at Elko,” says Reuvers, “At Elko there’s a lot of competition and there’s a lot of guys that don’t want me to win another championship.”
But don’t expect that to phase the driver of the #41 Camry. With his sights also set on finding his way to victory lane for the first time in the ASAMT, Reuvers and his crew know they must constantly be on top of their game.
“The competition level here is so good you can really never be prepared,” says Reuvers, “You just have to work on your car all the time, because there are guys that do that. So you always have to try and find something to make the car go faster even just to get in to the race now a days.”
Like any successful racecar driver, Reuvers has hopes to race at the next level.
“It would be fun to go do some of the bigger races around the country,” comments Reuvers, “In the wintertime go down and do that stuff.”
But that would mean finding some extra sponsorship money and more importantly spending time away from his wife and three children.
“I enjoy doing the short track stuff cause you can be around your family more. If you’re traveling a bunch and flying all over the country it gets to the points where you never see your kids. Your kids realize that, so as long as we’re having fun doing it, I guess I’m happy with doing what we’re doing.”
The day will come when Reuvers descends the throne. And more than the trophies acquired over the years, the attitude he brings to the track may be what is remembered most.
Says Reuvers, “You want to be friends with everyone out here because it makes it so much easier. Racing has to be a give and take. Your car isn’t perfect all the time, sometimes you have to let people go and the next weekend you might be the guy that they let go. So that’s important and I just believe you should race people how you’d want them to race you.”
Ruevers tries the outside of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch recently at Madison. (ASA MW / Doug Hornickle / Fast Lap Photo Photo)