Josh Reaume has been a race-car driver since he was six-years-old. But he never thought he would end up competing on the NASCAR circuit.

And, although he has yet to win a race, Reaume says his team continues to thrive despite having a rough start.

Reaume, 29, was born in Redlands, Calif. to Canadian parents. He says he didn’t think “a whole lot” about racing when he was younger, but “As I got older, at some point I flipped the switch and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ Ever since then, it’s been everything I can do to make it happen.”

Reaume’s interest in racing began as a child living abroad.

“My parents are missionaries, so I grew up in West Africa. My parents still spend a lot of time there to this day. [Growing up there] was a different perspective. We take a lot for granted — You definitely realize that after living in a Third World country.”

However, his family was briefly forced to move to Ontario after his mother came down with an illness. Reaume says that’s when he started go-karting.

“When we were living in Africa, I primarily raced in Europe. I would take my go-kart on the airplane. If we were flying home to Canada, we would make our layover in England and would go race.”

During that time, Reaume says he was “one of the best North American karters in the world,” holding numerous European karting records.

Reaume permanently returned to Canada at the age of 15 with his family settling in Victoria. He would attend the University of Victoria, earning a degree in engineering. He also continued his racing career on Vancouver Island. But, eventually, he had to make a big decision regarding his future.

Reaume had wanted to do “open-wheel stuff” — a reference to cars that have wheels outside their main body. And he really liked Formula 1, which is arguably the top motorsport in the world and features open- wheeled cars racing on road courses. But what he wasn’t interested in was driving on ovals, which happens in NASCAR and is the predominant form of racing in North America. However, after talking about it with his father, he realized “We didn’t really have a whole lot of funding to go open-wheel racing. Stock car racing was the better option, because it seemed like it was easier to get corporate sponsorship. So we went in that direction and never looked back.” Reaume began his NASCAR career in

2012 in the K&N Series, a regional NASCAR series with East and West divisions (both series now operate under the name ARCA Menards Series). Reaume got a shot at competing in the series by getting to know the right people.

“We’re crazy fast in ourgrowth, because I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”

— Josh Reaume

Even when he was a kid, he would try to phone Penske —a famous auto racing team — and try to talk to its owner Roger Penske.

“I never got a hold of anybody,”says Reaume. Nevertheless, he also “went to racetracks and introduced myself to team owners, and told them, ‘I know I’m a nobody to you now, but one day I hope you know who I am and I hope to drive for you.’” “Eventually you meet the right people that show you the right path.”

His engineering degree helped clear him that path too, giving him opportunities towork behind the scenes in NASCAR. “I was Ryan Sieg’s race engineer for two years, and we made the Chase in the Xfinity Series the inaugural year. Finished second a couple of times. I’ve also crew chiefed at a number of different places along the way.”

As a driver, Reaume began to move up the NASCAR ladder in 2013 and 2014, making his first starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series, two of the highest levels of NASCAR racing. Moving up to bigger races was not something that made Reaume nervous.

“As far as being in the garage area, and being to the racetracks, I think I had pretty much gone to every racetrack working as an employee for other teams. I had eliminated a lot of the things that would typically be‘shell shock’if you will. I was familiar with the atmosphere.”

Despite getting torace in some of the top series in NASCAR, Reaume was unable to find a permanent ride in either Xfinity or Trucks, racing sporadically for 11 teams from 2013-2017. Over this time, Reaume slowly began acquiring the equipment he needed to start his own team.

“I’ve owned a lot of my own equipment growing up. My K&N stuff, I owned a little bit of that. So for me, I knew what we needed to make it happen and I knew what it was going to take, just from having worked in a variety of different roles for race teams over the years.”

Once 2018 came, “I was like, ‘Alright, I’ve got stock. I’ve got equipment. I need to sink or swim. I need to jump off the deep end or this will all go away.’ I was getting a little bit older, married. I needed to make it work or not do it at all. I told my wife if I wasn’t able to make it work, I’d be done.”

That year, Reaume Brothers Racing was launched.The team is based in Mooresville, N.C., and competes in the Truck Series, where pickup trucks are raced. However, their first season did not start strong when they arrived at Daytona International Speedway in February.

“I actually leased a truck to go to Daytona from somebody else. [Failed to qualify] that race. Went to Atlanta, crashed. We didn’t have time to fix that. We had to buy another truck or we wouldn’t make it to the next race in Vegas. I put myself in a bad situation right off the bat.”

“But we overcame it. We still missed a number of races and tore up a decent amount of equipment. I crashed more my first season driving for myself than I crashed for all the other teams I had raced for combined.”

“I didn’t have a ton of money behind me, and I’ve made it. If you’re passionate about it, you really care about it, nobody’s going to work harder for yourself than you are. So go get it, go chase it.”

The start of 2019 would be a complete 180 from the previous season for Reaume. In the first race at Daytona, he started at the back of the field. However, he managed to keep his truck in one piece, avoiding the large wrecks that superspeedways such as Daytona produce.

“That was really big for us. It really set up our year really well. We were smart about it. We hung out in the back all day, let everyone tear their equipment up. Then we were there at the end and really could have contended for a win if we weren’t running out of gas and stumbled on the final restart.”

That sixth place finish at Daytona is the best of Reaume’s NASCAR career so far. It helped the team start moving in the right direction.

“Year two was pretty good. We didn’t tear up a lot of stuff. We went from one truck to two trucks. Then this year, we went from two trucks to three trucks at select races. We now have 12 trucks in our inventory.”

Reaume says he hasn’t “really made any money from this personally.” Instead, he’s “put everything back into the business. Anybody who talks about building a business, they’ll tell you that’s how it is.”

Despite that lack of money, Reaume says, “It’s exciting, because from a racing standpoint, knowing other teams and seeing other teams and how fast they grow, we’re crazy fast in our growth, because I’m putting my money where my mouth is.” But with that excitement has come “a lot of ups and downs.”

“There’salotofdisappointment.Weseedisappointment almost on a daily basis. The smallest part of what we do as racecar drivers is actually getting in the racecar and driving it. That’s the fun part of it. But, really, it’s the smallest part of it.

Going into the 2020 season, the team now fields two full-time entries: the number 00 truck driven by Angela Ruch and the number 33, which is driven by many throughout the season, including Reaume. The team also has a part-time truck, the number 34, which competes in select races.

Before NASCAR suspended operations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the start of the season was going well for the team, with another strong showing at Daytona. Reaume had fellow Canadian Jason White in the 33 truck for that race.

“The plan was to do the same thing I did the year before. With Jason, I was on his radio, and he was anxious wanting to go forward. I told him, ‘Just trust me and stay where you’re at.’ I think he was about 25th, with six laps to go. Sure enough, they wadded everything up and he restarted eighth with three laps to go. He ended up finishing tenth without a scratch on the truck.”

To change those losses into wins, the race team is dependent on finding sponsorship to keep their operation

Even when he was a kid, he would try to phone Penske —a famous auto racing team — and try to talk to its owner Roger Penske.

“I never got a hold of anybody,”says Reaume. Nevertheless, he also “went to racetracks and introduced myself to team owners, and told them, ‘I know I’m a nobody to you now, but one day I hope you know who I am and I hope to drive for you.’” “Eventually you meet the right people that show you the right path.”

His engineering degree helped clear him that path too, giving him opportunities towork behind the scenes in NASCAR. “I was Ryan Sieg’s race engineer for two years, and we made the Chase in the Xfinity Series the inaugural year. Finished second a couple of times. I’ve also crew chiefed at a number of different places along the way.”

As a driver, Reaume began to move up the NASCAR ladder in 2013 and 2014, making his first starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series, two of the highest levels of NASCAR racing. Moving up to bigger races was not something that made Reaume nervous.

“As far as being in the garage area, and being to the racetracks, I think I had pretty much gone to every racetrack working as an employee for other teams. I had eliminated a lot of the things that would typically be‘shell shock’if you will. I was familiar with the atmosphere.”

Despite getting torace in some of the top series in NASCAR, Reaume was unable to find a permanent ride in either Xfinity or Trucks, racing sporadically for 11 teams from 2013-2017. Over this time, Reaume slowly began acquiring the equipment he needed to start his own team.

“I’ve owned a lot of my own equipment growing up. My K&N stuff, I owned a little bit of that. So for me, I knew what we needed to make it happen and I knew what it was going to take, just from having worked in a variety of different roles for race teams over the years.”

Once 2018 came, “I was like, ‘Alright, I’ve got stock. I’ve got equipment. I need to sink or swim. I need to jump off the deep end or this will all go away.’ I was getting a little bit older, married. I needed to make it work or not do it at all. I told my wife if I wasn’t able to make it work, I’d be done.”

That year, Reaume Brothers Racing was launched.The team is based in Mooresville, N.C., and competes in the Truck Series, where pickup trucks are raced. However, their first season did not start strong when they arrived at Daytona International Speedway in February.

“I actually leased a truck to go to Daytona from somebody else. [Failed to qualify] that race. Went to Atlanta, crashed. We didn’t have time to fix that. We had to buy another truck or we wouldn’t make it to the next race in Vegas. I put myself in a bad situation right off the bat.”

“But we overcame it. We still missed a number of races and tore up a decent amount of equipment. I crashed more my first season driving for myself than I crashed for all the other teams I had raced for combined.”

The start of 2019 would be a complete 180 from the previous season for Reaume. In the first race at Daytona, he started at the back of the field. However, he managed to keep his truck in one piece, avoiding the large wrecks that superspeedways such as Daytona produce.

“That was really big for us. It really set up our year really well. We were smart about it. We hung out in the back all day, let everyone tear their equipment up. Then we were there at the end and really could have contended for a win if we weren’t running out of gas and stumbled on the final restart.”

That sixth place finish at Daytona is the best of Reaume’s NASCAR career so far. It helped the team start moving in the right direction.

“Year two was pretty good. We didn’t tear up a lot of stuff. We went from one truck to two trucks. Then this year, we went from two trucks to three trucks at select races. We now have 12 trucks in our inventory.”

Reaume says he hasn’t “really made any money from this personally.” Instead, he’s “put everything back into the business. Anybody who talks about building a business, they’ll tell you that’s how it is.”

Despite that lack of money, Reaume says, “It’s exciting, because from a racing standpoint, knowing other teams and seeing other teams and how fast they grow, we’re crazy fast in our growth, because I’m putting my money where my mouth is.” But with that excitement has come “a lot of ups and downs.”

“There’salotofdisappointment.Weseedisappointment almost on a daily basis. The smallest part of what we do as racecar drivers is actually getting in the racecar and driving it. That’s the fun part of it. But, really, it’s the smallest part of it.

Going into the 2020 season, the team now fields two full-time entries: the number 00 truck driven by Angela Ruch and the number 33, which is driven by many throughout the season, including Reaume. The team also has a part-time truck, the number 34, which competes in select races.

Before NASCAR suspended operations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the start of the season was going well for the team, with another strong showing at Daytona. Reaume had fellow Canadian Jason White in the 33 truck for that race.

“The plan was to do the same thing I did the year before. With Jason, I was on his radio, and he was anxious wanting to go forward. I told him, ‘Just trust me and stay where you’re at.’ I think he was about 25th, with six laps to go. Sure enough, they wadded everything up and he restarted eighth with three laps to go. He ended up finishing tenth without a scratch on the truck.”

To change those losses into wins, the race team is dependent on finding sponsorship to keep their operation running.

Reaume in his Chevy Silverado racetruck at Daytona International Speedway in 2018. Daytona is where Reaume earned a sixth place finish in 2019, the best finish of his NASCAR career so far. Photo: Instagram

“It’s avery dynamic thing and it’s a difficult process,” says Reaume. “You’ve got to find the right company that has the capacity to spend, has the need to spend, has the infrastructure to support their growth in business that you can create for them. Then you have to be able to sell to all the hierarchy in that business on a program that ultimately costs money but is designed to generate sales or whatnot for them.”

Being an owner responsible for multiple trucks makes finding sponsorship the number-one priority for Reaume, something he says is a “very time-intensive process.” As a result, Reaume is“more in sales than anything with the business.”

“We’re essentially a marketing platform. It just so happens that what we do is something that’s really cool. I’m not passionate about billboards but I could sell a billboard. It’s just my billboard goes 200 mph.”

Closing deals with sponsors is one of the many skills Reaume has used in his racing career. His experience as a driver/owner/ mechanic harkens back to the old days of NASCAR, when many competitors wore all those hats. Doing that in this day and age is a rare sight, but it was a necessary move for Reaume.

He realized that, as a driver, he ended up having to bring his own sponsorship to the table to get opportunities.

“I looked at it from a business perspective and was like, ‘Well I’m providing quite a bit of financial backing for this team but I’m looking for a job every winter. What more can I do to help guarantee myself a ride and put myself in better equipment?’The answer to that is to be in control of more things.”

Many drivers often drop out of racing due to a lack of sponsorship. Reaume has worked hard to make sure he doesn’t fall into that category, and believes that’s why he’s still on the NASCAR circuit.

“I think that mentality [of not looking hard enough for sponsors] is why drivers don’t have longevity in this sport, and that’s why I’ve stayed around longer. There’s nobody calling our race team saying, ‘We want to sponsor you.’Those days are gone. That’s just the brutal reality of it.” As someone who started racing in Canada, Reaume believes that seizing the moment is important for Canadians that want to get into competitive driving.

“I think for Canadians, they need to be there, and they need to compete. In order to compete, you need to convince somebody to help fund the initial stages of your career. I used to think of the sport in a way that it was a negative aspect of it. I didn’t have a ton of money behind me, and I’ve made it. If you’re passionate about it, you really care about it, nobody’s going to work harder for yourself than you are. So go get it, go chase it.”