Although Michael Waltrip was guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500 after the first Gatorade Duel race, he bettered his starting spot by finishing 3rd in the second. His qualifying speed on Sunday had been one spot shy of allowing him into the field based on his time, and when Bill Elliott raced his way into the field during Duel #1, Mikey's #15 Napa Camry was next in on time. He was in it to win it in Duel #2, working with teammate David Reutimann much of the time and communicating via a common channel. Although he and David lost touch toward the end, Mikey rallied back up front. Burton won, David finished 11th, and Martin Truex Jr finished 13th.
The call to start engines came at 3:51pm ET. Jeff Gordon would start from the pole. It was 72 degrees with intermittent cloud cover.
"Radio check," spotter Ty Norris was on the team frequency one minute later. "You've got a radio check?"
"We're working on it now, Ty," crew chief Bobby Kennedy replied.
"10-4. I see him."
"Hey, Ron, make sure you have that secondary radio set up on channel four there."
"I lost that big ol' locator for the radio number two, so it fell off, so I'm going to put it on channel four and leave it there. So if you want to tell me to go to common, I'll go to common."
"Okay. Let's try right now."
After a pause, Mikey said, "I'm back on the regular channel."
"10-4. Got you here," Bobby said.
"Hey, M-Dub, you have a second to talk?" Ty asked.
"Sure, whatever you need."
Ty said the spotters had noted the lead guy felt he had to drag the brake to get re-engaged.
"Okay, yeah, I know what you mean. And the other thing too, if you happen to be caught by another tandum, it's important if I'm leading, tell me to block the bottom or to stay low. Like Matt and them got screwed, because he didn't know to stay low."
"Okay. Definitely different. More entertaining than I thought it would be. Definitely different."
"All right, we're going to be right here on your left. Two past that double not. Right here," Bobby said.
"So two past the 00," Mikey said. "Right here?"
"No, we're about four past the start / finish line. About one stall from where we were the other night. All right, Ty, we're going to be looking for 4500 pit road."
Ty said the other guys were going with this too during the other race and ran to lap 39 before caution. Bobby said they'd be running at the same schedule and would take on gas only, one can of fuel.
"Did y'all work on the brakes?" Mikey asked.
"10-4," Bobby replied.
"Is it different pads or what?"
"Different rotors and calipers."
"Okay, good. Good. That's a good deal."
Bobby said it was the same thing they'd run Saturday night.
"I'm really into helping the 13, but just, we just can't do it right off the bat, so let me know, Ty, if you're with this guy, what we need to do."
"Yeah, 10-4," Ty replied. "We'll have to hook onto someone here early." Ty noted where the #00 was in front of them. "We'll just see how this thing shakes out. I mean, with four to go, the #46 was a lap down, and he made it, so a lot of stuff happens here."
"Yeah, I happened to be watching that pretty closely."
"Yeah, we had four guys up here beating everybody on the shoulder. It was fun. It works out. We get to race now." Ty warned Mikey that people's tempers might raise.
Mikey adviced pushing on the right and said Tony Stewart had spun him out by pushing on the left and did the same thing to Ryan Newman during the first race.
"All right, just remember the radiator fan there, Ty. And the lights just like you ran in practice." Bobby told Mikey when his water pressure would turn red.
"Did you notice that Kenseth could just push together? He didn't have to breath?" Mikey asked.
Bobby said they had the right side of the car hung out breathing.
"Michael, it's Martin," teammate Martin Truex Jr was on the radio. "Make sure you have a copy here real quick."
Mikey said he did.
"10-4. Good luck. See you in a bit."
"All right, bud. One to go when you get here. One to go," Ty said.
Bobby said they could pit after lap 25 if anyone who wanted to team up with them wanted to pit.
Gordon led the field to the green flag at 4:04pm. Mikey was 11th, David 9th, and Martin . Ty called the green flag.
"Pace car's off. Ready? Ready? Green green green green green. Everybody's rolling. Clear whatever you need there. Clear whatever you need." Ty praised Mikey for getting hooked up with David. By lap 2, they were 5th and 6th. "Good job, you guys are back re-engaged. Top side is clear. Clear by one. That tandum's got a good run on the bottom, good run on the bottom. You're clear by ten."
The first caution was on lap 3 for Casey Mears' #13. The engine blew.
"Clear about eight out the back, clear about ten out the front. Caution's out caution's out caution's out. You've got one blowing up." Ty warned Mikey about cars blowing past him.
"Well, there goes the 13. We'll be staying out here. Staying out," Bobby said.
"Ty, you should have told me to go to the common, man," Mikey told his spotter.
"Yeah, okay, man. 10-4," Ty replied.
"We should have went to the common, man, but I don't know what it's for when we're hooked up." Mikey said to let him know next time.
Ty said they made a mistake getting too busy in the spotters stand and had been talking about it.
"My temperature's, I mean I didn't even run a lap behind him, and it was 240 on the water and oil, so I don't know what we're going to do about that."
Bobby said the #47 did that the first race. "You can run it like that the whole time."
Ty explained the #11 wouldn't get off the #56, which is why they'd flown past Mikey after caution had come out.
David was 7th, Mikey 8th, and Martin 10th.
"Caution's going to break up all the tandums here, so you'll be restarting front the outside, p8," Ty noted. "Another thing, Bobby turned his fan on and kept it on. He went 245 and stayed there, just to let you know."
"Thank you," Mikey responded.
"The 24 would like to work with you, unless it shakes out where you work with the double not again," Ty informed his driver. He then called the restart.
Racing resumed on lap 7 with Clint Bowyer in the lead. David was 7th, Mikey 8th, and Martin 10th.
"Inside inside now, inside inside. Middle of three wide, middle of 3. Still outside. 20's coming to your bumper. Middle of 3. You're clear up to the top. 20 is not yet. You're clear up to the top, 20 is too. Clear up to the top. You guys are all clear all clear. Quick closer two back. They're coming on the bottom here, they're coming on the bottom. 20 dropped off on you a little bit. You're still inside. Coming back to your bumper. Joey just asked if we could not run so close to the wall. Clear four back, and they're closing pretty quick."
Lap 9 saw Kyle Busch take the lead. Todd Bodine was pushing David, and Joey Logano pushed Mikey. The #15 was 13th, #00 8th, #56 10th.
"You're in good shape here," Ty said. He warned cars would be swapping soon. "Bottom line's going to be moving, bottom line's going to be moving. The 11 is pushing the 56. You're clear now. You're both clear. The 11 has the 56 on his nose. The 33 is trying to work the bottom two back. Inside inside. 20 says he's still okay on temps. Joey says he needs a switch when you can. 33's on the bottom. Clear ten back behind him. Clear there, all clear there. He's coming to you. Clear ten back. Eight back closing pretty quick. Doing fine there. Those guys are wanting to swap soon. Clear six back. Clear six back off of his nose, three back. Clear four off of his nose there off the yellow line. He looks like he's working the bottom. You're clear six back. Two tandums behind you, two back. Work the high side here, work the high side. 60's going to have a run on the top side. Outside outside. Outside outside. Back to clear by one, clear by one. Clear by two. You've got slow ones on the high side off his nose."
Carl Edwards had taken the lead, but on lap 15, Jeff Gordon took it with Trevor Bayne's #21 pushing.
"Two off his nose, and you're closing."
"We're going to have to switch here pretty quick, next corner," Mikey said.
"I just told him. You're clear fifteen back. You're fine. You got two tandums right in front of you. Slow one's on the bottom. He's one off the tandum up top. They just switched, so they'll be two back. Caution's out, caution's out."
"Well, you told me that one when I hit him," Mikey commented.
Ty said the other two tandums in front had slowed dramatically.
"Yeah, I couldn't see, and I had already spun him out when you said something."
"Coming for fuel, coming for fuel," Bobby informed the team. "You need a tear-off or anything?"
"Nah, I'm good."
"Need a water bottle? We're looking at five seconds, five seconds. Stop him short here." Bobby said the #11 was coming. He told his driver to go around the #00 and put the car as close to the wall as possible to be closer to fuel.
"Don't push the car." He said he'd take a water if they could get it through.
Bobby guided Mikey to the box. "Go go go go go. All the way, all the way. 4500."
"4500," Ty reiterated.
After stops, Carl Edwards was in the lead. Mikey was 9th, David 11th, and Martin 19th. Ty noted that Trevor Bayne had done well on the start.
"All right, tug on them belts, tug on them belts," Bobby said.
Edwards led the restart on lap 21.
"All right, pace car's coming off. You're coming to the green. Pace car's coming off. You ready? You ready? Green green green. You're clear all clear, you're clear all clear. 00 on you now, 00 on you now. Inside inside inside inside inside. Three of them on the bottom here. The 7's trying to jump up there with you. 7's up there with you. 18's dropping on the bottom, all by himself. The 00 needs you to move up so he can get hooked up to you. Four off his nose. You're..." Ty then told Mikey to go to the common channel. "Clear by four. If you're going to go to the common channel, I'll tell Shawn."
Shawn Reutimann is David's cousin and spotter.
"I'm going to common," Mikey said.
David and Mikey were 5th and 6th on lap 23, on the inside of Edwards and Burton. Two lines got around them though on either side. Meanwhile, Martin was running with Denny Hamlin pushing. They were two who had passed David and Mikey, who were now 9th and 10th. The #00 and #15 had fallen off the front group a bit.
On lap 25, Jeff Gordon was leading with Trevor Bayne pushing. Mikey and David swapped places so that Mikey was 9th and David 10th on lap 27.
Martin led lap 28. Hamlin dropped him, and they both fell back. Gordon was back in the lead with Bayne pushing. The front four were now well ahead of the others, and all three MWR cars were in the second pack.
On lap 29, Edwards took the lead with Biffle pushing. Mikey and David were 7th and 8th on lap 30, and Martin was 10th. Burton took the lead with Bowyer pushing. Martin had fallen back to 12th.
On lap 33, Mikey and David were 5th and 6th, with Martin in 13th. The #15 and #00 then dropped to 7th and 8th. The front eight were in a pack together. Mikey was pushing David on lap 38, and they passed Burton and Bowyer together. They were now 5th and 6th and were still on the common channel together.
With 21 to go, Gordon led with Bayne pushing. The Edwards/Biffle tandum were next, then David and Mikey.
The third caution was on the same lap when Brad Keselowski spun out. Todd Bodine had bumped him.
"All right, you're there, M-Dub?" Bobby asked.
"Yeah, I'm here," Mikey replied.
"Just save fuel, save fuel."
"I've coasted since the start/finish line, because they waited for the pace car. That's probably about a lap total I've coasted so far."
"All right, guys. Be ready." After Ty told Bobby cars were pitting, Bobby said, "Stay with David there."
"Staying out," Ty said.
"10-4. Okay, save save save."
Ty said teammates were all getting separated with the double file restart.
Mikey said something about the common channel. Ty let him know Joey Logano hadn't blamed him for the accident.
"What?" Mikey asked.
"Michael, go to that common channel, talk to David a little bit," someone said.
Racing resumed with 17 to go. Gordon led, and David and Mikey were 5th and 6th. Martin was 12th. The front four jumped up, and Mikey was in three-wide. Martin hopped in front of the David / Mikey tandum. Mikey began slipping away from them but came back to David's rear fender. Mikey then lost him again.
"Did you get to our channel, bud?" Ty asked when Mikey was 20th with 14 laps to go.
Edwards was in the lead with Biffle pushing.
"M-Dub, you back on our channel?" Ty asked.
"Just go to the other channel and tell him to switch, Ty," Bobby said.
The fourth caution came out with 14 to go when Hamlin spun.
"I'm back. I was on the common channel. I don't understand why we ever got of it with me and David. We had a plan."
Ty said the #56 and #00 wanted to get to the common channel, so that's why Ty wanted to get off it.
"Okay, I'm sorry. I didn't know I was there, first off all. And secondly, I guess I didn't know if I was on it, they couldn't. But now that that's done, man, we don't have a chance to win anymore. Is there anyone I can help?"
"The 60," Bobby suggested.
Ty said something in static.
"There are guys with bent rear clips out here, or something," Mikey commented.
Edwards was in the lead. Martin and David were 12th and 13th, and Mikey was 17th.
Bobby said they were coming to the green, to save fuel, and to pull his belts tight.
"He said he'll do whatever. You want to push or to be pushed?"
MIkey said whoever came out. "I screwed that last deal up. Or somebody did."
Racing resumed with eleven laps to go.
"Outside outside. He's got the 00 on his nose. Middle is better, middle is better. Three-wide. Middle is better. 11's coming to your bumper, 11's coming to your bumper. He switched lanes, he's on the bottom now. Still three wide, three wide. Three wide, still three wide. You're clear high now. You've got the 60 on your elbow. Two by two. Back to top side. 77 trying to fill it. Stay in the middle. You're all clear, all three of your clear. 00 and the 56 backing up in the middle. Slow one's on the bottom there, slow one's on the bottom. Clear low. You've got a big run on the bottom. 60 and the 11, one back. 60's on your bumper now, 60's on your bumper. 60 and the 11 are hooked, 60 on your bumper. Bud, you're by yourself. You see the 1 backing up. Shove coming on the bottom. You've got the 11 coming to your bumper. You're clear low here, clear low. You're clear. Whatever you need. 18's by himself. They're two by two behind you. You don't have anybody. Still clear by four out the back. You're clear five out the back. You guys have got the run here. You're getting two him. Outside outside."
With 7 to go, Martin led with David pushing.
"Still outside outside. You're going to be coming to the bottom here. 7 to go. Stil clear three off his nose, four off his nose. Backing up. Stay on the bottom. By two, by two." Ty said there was a slow car on the bottom. "Three wide. Stay to the bottom, stay to the bottom,s tay to the bottom."
With 6 to go, David and Martin had dropped.
"You guys have got the bottom here. You're clear. You're clear back to the 24. Got a run up top. Coming back to the 18. Both of you clear, both of you clear. There's a spin behind you. Caution's going to be coming out."
"All right, save me fuel. Save me fuel," Bobby requested.
The fifth caution was with 6 to go for a multi-car wreck. David picked up a great deal of driver's side damage.
"Fantastic job right there, Michael<" Ty praised.
"You too, Ty. You've just got to tell me to get off of him. If the 18 had to have stopped, you have to tell me. You did a great job. We'll just see what I have here on this restart."
Bobby told him to run it home and not look at his gauges now.
"The 13 and the 60 are both out. One blew up, and one just crashed," Ty informed his driver.
"We're staying out, staying out."
Mikey let Ty know he'd work with Bowyer, although Bowyer had more horse power.
"All right, I'm standing right next to his spotter," Ty replied. He came back and said he was talking with Kyle Busch's spotter instead. "They want you to come down in front of the 18 when we get started. He's going to give you room. M-Dub, you just get going, and the 18 will let you in."
Mikey said he hoped they'd work better together now.
Under caution, Mikey was 4th with Burton in the lead. Martin and David were 10th and 11th.
Racing resumed with 3 to go.
"Be ready. Green green green. Keep rolling, keep rolling. Clear down behind him if you need it. 18's to you, 24's going to be coming outside. One back to the 18, half back. All of you clear, buddy. All of you clear. Big run outside. Outside outside. 18's on you now, 18's on you."
With two to go, Mikey was 3rd.
"Still on your elbow, still on your elbow. Outside. Both of you are clear. Coming two to go. To the bottom. Clear by three, clear by three out the back."
"Two to go, two to go."
"Whatever you need. Run off the back of the 18, the ___ and the 2. Coming to the white, coming to the white. Whatever you need. About two up the back. 56, 00 two out the back. Run up top. You guys are going to be clear out the back, it's just you four. Come on to the checkered, come on to the checkered. Man, nice job nice job nice job. Back it down. That's it."
"Good job, Ty, M-Dub. Great job."
"Thank you. Ty, tell the 18 there I could have made a run earlier, and I drug the brake a little bit. Oh I'll talk to him if he cares. Anyway, I ran the whole last lap wide open, and I couldn't gain on them," Mikey stated.
Burton had won. Mikey was 3rd, Martin 9th, and David 11th. Just before the checkered flag, Gordon wiggled and spun out Bayne, who wrecked along with David Ragan.
Be sure to watch Mikey race all three Daytona races in the Truck, Nationwide, and Cup races this weekend!