Nine hours after the green flag waved, on lap 146, Michael Waltrip's #66 BlueDEF / AAA Toyota was wrecked out of the Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick and Brian Scott had triggered the accident, and Alex Bowman got into Mikey as the #66 slowed.
"Well, I saw the cars get together ahead of me, and I got off the gas and was coasting under control, and someone behind me wasn't," Mikey said after his race ended. "And I'm not really sure what car started it, but a black one ended it for me. He ran me over pretty hard. And it was fun racing with the leaders. I stayed in touch with the lead pack. And I know, Krista, this battle to the finish is going to be intense, and I wanted to get the ol' Peak Blue DEF Toyota right up in the middle of it. But luckily, I've got AAA, so I'm gonna file a claim, and we'll be able to fix this baby up and will have it at Talladega in a couple of months."
Mikey finished 41st. His drivers Clint Bowyer also finished in the garage when his #15 5 Hour Energy Camry suffered engine issues; Clint was 42nd. Brian Vickers' #55 Aaron's Dream Machine pit with 26 laps to go, and he finished eight laps down in 30th; Austin Dillon had wrecked him toward the end of the race.
This was Mikey's 27th Daytona 500. He wore a Dale Earnhardt helmet this year, commemorating the return of the #3 with Austin Dillon behind the wheel and on the pole. Last year, he wore a Richard Petty helmet, and he wore a Darrell Waltrip helmet the year before.
Mikey expressed how much this race means to him and to others prior to the drop of the green flag. "I'm thinking, this is absolutely the best day of the whole year! It's Christmas, it's everything to me! I love the Daytona 500! I love the fact that I'm going to be out there with those boys, trying to win this thing. Did you hear the passion, the energy, the enthusiasm those guys had in the opening, talking about what it would mean for them to win the 500? And in some cases, like Dale Jr, how much it means to him to have that trophy at home? Today defines NASCAR. The Daytona 500 is what NASCAR is all about, and winning it - there's nothing like it."
Also before the race, FOX aired a segment about how Mikey prepares himself for a race.
"Intense, immersed, focused: Three words to describe me on race day. This is how I prepare. I always get to the race track bright and early."
FOX cut to a scene of Mikey napping beside his car. A crew member approached him. Tapping the driver on the shoulder, the crew member said, "Wake up, Michael! It's time for the race!"
Mikey opened his eyes. "Oh, it is race day! I'm gonna win!"
He went on to give his next step to prepare: "I always get a nice pep talk."
FOX showed Mikey in the garage, talking to himself in the mirror. "You're good enough, people like you, you're plenty fast enough, and by golly, you're going to win this thing!"
Mikey's final tip - "And it's important to make sure you're properly stretched" - was accompanied by an image of him on his knees, one arm and one leg stretched.
Live at the track, Mikey did the "grid walk". He quickly interviewed drivers walking up and down pit road. Highlights included the following:
* Mikey told a few drivers they were going to win.
* Kyle Busch gave him a pack of peanut M&Ms. Prior to the Sprint Unlimited last week, Kyle brought M&Ms with him to the Hollywood Hotel, and Mikey munched on them. Kyle handed him the bag today and said, "It melts in your mouth and not in your car."
* Mikey told Greg Biffle he had a beautiful daughter and that he was glad she looked like Biffle's wife Nicole.
* He welcomed Brian back to the track and said he looked "healthy and wealthy".
* He asked rapper 50 Cent if he'd kiss him if he were to win. 50 Cent said that he would. Mikey cheered and said he would win for that kiss. "I think I freaked him out," Mikey later commented.
The field was set for the Daytona 500 following Thursday's Budweiser Duel races. Mikey made the race based on owner's points; he was well on track to race his way into the field until a last lap wreck sent his #66 hard into pit wall. He was therefore 42nd on the grid for the Daytona 500; Clint was 20th, and Brian was 32nd. Clint had to start at the rear of the field with his car owner. He was also in that last lap wreck, relegating him to a back-up car.
Chris Evans, star of the movie Captain America, gave the command to start engines at 1:18pm ET.
"Test, one two," Mikey said over the #66 team frequency two minutes later.
"Loud and clear," his spotter replied.
"This is it - the Daytona 500, what NASCAR is all about. We gotta get us some track position and get up there and beat these boys."
After a pause on the radio, the spotter told him when they would go green. "Third time by. Third time by. They're rolling up here."
The #66 and the rest of the field rolled off pit road and onto Daytona International Speedway at 1:22pm.
The crew chief noted where they were on pit road. "Pit stall 42. Right here at you, bud."
"I like that pit stall," Mikey commented. "Good choice. Not that I had much of a choice."
"Well, we picked the less trafficky one." The spotter said hopefully they won't have too many to go around later. "You got one stopped to your right here."
The team then talked about pit road speed.
"Speak up, everybody!" Mikey requested. "I don't hear that great. It sounds like you're being bashful. I don't have time for that."
The spotter told Mikey that pit road speed was 4650.
"I got a bunch of rookies I'm surrounded with here, and from what I saw on Thursday, a couple of them don't know how to go straight. So keep your eyes on that, spotter. These rookies could cause some issues from what I saw the other night."
"10-4," the spotter acknowledged. "4650. Look at your commitment line."
"That grandstand, boys. Everyone wants to watch the Daytona 500, the best day of the year. Let's show them all something."
"Sounds like a plan. When these cars come back to the rear, we'll be on the outside. We'll be the last ones out there."
A little later, Mikey said, "This is the best day ever. This is the Daytona 500. If your heart ain't beating now, you've got to find another job. This is good stuff! I love being out here with the best of the world," Mikey exclaimed. "LOVE IT!"
"Good times right here," the spotter replied. "It will be one to go at the line. One to go. Cars going to the rear now."
The crew chief asked about voltes.
"Well, I've got 14 volts. It does seem like a lot. And I've got ten pounds of water pressure," Mikey replied. "Yeah, everything is looking all right."
The spotter acknowledged. "Let's get this thing rolling. Let's have a good time." He told Mikey he was behind the #48.
"Hey, y'all. Jimmie Johnson just waved to me," Mikey said.
"10-4, man. Have a good time out there. Be safe. Be smart. Bring it home... with a trophy."
"I don't think I've ever started last in the Daytona 500."
"Pace car's off."
"All right, an. Let's do it. Let's be ready. Rolling. Rolling. Good start in front of you."
Austin Dillon in the #3 led the field to the green flag at 1:30pm.
"Got one smoking high in one. It's all good. Still green," the spotter said after three laps of silence. Dillon was still leading, and Mikey was still in the back.
"Got one slow high in four. He's trying to get down, I believe. Just watch him here. He's trying to get down."
Kyle Larson's #42 hit the wall; he may have been the one the spotter had noted.
"Got the 42 down low in 1."
Once Mikey passed the #42, he was 42nd on lap 5. Dillon dropped to 15th, and Denny Hamlin was leading at this point.
"The 52 let off when the 42 hit the wall, and I've been wide open ever since, and we ain't gaining on them," Mikey said. Bobby Labonte was in the #52.
"I think we're in trouble here. People are getting smaller. What's the lap times say?"
"46 flat - same as the lead group," the crew chief noted. "Not losing the lead pack, but the lead pack is getting smaller."
"We lost them. No doubt. We're not going to be able to do anything."
"The leader at the line," the spotter noted.
"You're still 46 flat. 46.20 for you," the crew chief said.
"46.20 on the leaders, 46.25 on you," it sounded like he said later.
"Chad, the 52 wants to know if we can just push him."
"Doesn't seem like it will make him go faster."
"They're running around the bottom all the way."
The spotter told Mikey that Bobby Labonte wanted him to push him.
"I've been with him since we started, so that ain't going to work. It's not going to happen," Mikey replied. "Tell him to go. It's ridiculous."
"46.50 - same as everybody that lap."
On lap 12, Kurt Busch was leading in the #41. Hamlin had led nine laps before Busch claimed the top spot. Hamlin's #11 had trash on the grill, which is why he dropped off the lead. Mikey still rode 42nd, directly behind Labonte.
"30. A little bit better again. Lead pack's running 46.50."
"Catching a single car now - the #30 - halfway down the back," the spotter observed.
"30 - same as the lead draft."
"About four in front of him, that 30 car. He's running the top. Might get that 30 car behind us."
"46, 46.40. Same as the lead draft here. Copy me, Brickhouse?"
"The leader at the line," the spotter warned on lap 21. Mikey was 41st. He had passed Biffle.
The first caution was on lap 23. Larson's #42 had spun through the grass.
"Michael, that's 22 laps here. The 42 is going to be in his box, 2 laps down," the crew chief warned. "Michael, I think we should top it off and just reset here. Get it full of fuel with the weather coming."
"Michael, you got me?"
The crew chief told Mikey to stop short due to the #42. He said they were just getting fuel. "You're going to have a clean in here. The 42 is out of his box. We'll just get you pointed straight here." He told Mikey to put on his radiator fan.
Cars pit under yellow, and Matt Kenseth spun on pit road. The spotter noted that Mikey had stayed out.
"All right, Michael. They're coming back this time. You're going to follow them for two tires and fuel."
"Yeah, whatever. We're going to be last, so I don't know why you don't put four on it. But two tires and fuel all the way."
The crew chief said the left side tires were still good, so they would only get two.
"It's a little wiggly, if you want to make an adjustment."
The crew chief called for , "Four tires, fuel, one out of the right rear."
"We're in the centre of 4 now."
"One to go?" Mikey asked.
The spotter confirmed.
"That's some good information to have."
"Here he comes, Chad."
"Weather looks to be... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1," Chad led his driver in and out of the #66 box. "4650, 4650." He said something about the weather changing pretty rapidly amidst static.
"We will be coming to the green right here," the spotter said. "You're all clear. The 16 behind us. Coming to the green. 16's coming inside. Pace car's off. Just be ready, be ready. Green green green. It's all rolling in front of you. Rolling rolling rolling. Good. You're all clear. Lined up behind you."
Kurt Busch led the restart on lap 27. Mikey was 41st.
"Coming outside right here, outside. 42 is going to be the last one. Outside. Still outside. 42 is right behind him."
"Just look ahead, man. You can't do both. Just watch ahead," Mikey requested.
"10-4, man. I got it," the spotter replied.
On lap 28, Paul Menard was leading.
"Still three wide. Two wide. Everything's good in front of you. Everything's good. 4 behind you, still inside. Still out there, bud. Still out there. You're clear there. Side by side behind you."
On lap 30, Mikey was 32nd.
"Weather looks to be about ten to fifteen minutes away," Chad noted. "45-eighter," it sounded like he added.
"All single file behind you. Smoking on the bottom in 3. He's off the track."
The smoking car was the #78 of Martin Truex Jr.
"Caution's out. Caution's out for that 78," the spotter said.
The yellow flag waved for the second time on lap 33.
"Turn this fan on. Just tell him to... Right here. Nevermind, I'll tell him. Michael, just, rain looks to be about fifteen, twenty minutes away. It's awful spotty. It's hard to tell. We'll just do what we can here. Just coasting."
"All right. When we come in, we'll get gas. Hell, nobody's going anywhere. But I've spoken my word, so do whatever you want."
Chad asked if the adjustment had helped with the chassis.
"Uh, I can't really tell yet. It just wiggles a bit at first. It never quit last time, but we'll have to see."
"All right, 10-4."
"Pit road will be open. Quicky yellow."
Chad made the call to stay out.
"I'm doing the opposite of whatever they do in front of me."
"Yeah, 10-4. Fuel only."
"Entering four now, guys," the spotter observed.
Mikey came to the pits under yellow as the front runners chose to stay on track. His team guided him in and out of the box.
"It's raining," Mikey said.
"You said something there, Michael. I didn't hear what you said."
"I said it's raining."
"Got one trying to come outside, about five back," the spotter warned as the field rode around the track under the yellow flag. "NASCAR wants you to get staggered around the track."
"There's no rain on the back, just on the front," Mikey observed.
As of lap 34, Kurt Busch had led the most laps - 15.
"Is there anything we can do?" Mikey suggested a few ideas for things they could do on pit road. "Or are we just going to ride here?
The crew chief wanted to stay out. "Not much anything we can do. Go a few more laps, we might talk about topping it back off."
"I think we should top it off one to go, no matter what, personally."
Chad agreed. "There's nothing we can do right now that would benefit anything."
"Betcha there are a lot of drivers with an ECR engine under the hood who are nervous now."
"What's NASCAR saying?"
"Rain stopped," Mikey commented.
Chad said NASCAR was debating whether to bring out the jet dryer. At first, he noted that it was stopping. Then, he said the rain was picking up again.
"What are they doing with that 48?" Mikey asked.
The #48 was on pit road. Chad said they were checking the battery and cleaning up the grill.
"Michael, bring it back to us this time. Top it off with fuel," Chad directed.
"Just a drop or two. It's picking up a little bit," the spotter said. "We're entering 4 right now, guys."
"Come on to us, Michael. Fuel only."
"Off of 4. 4650 when you get there. All right, here he comes, Chad."
"Right here, bud."
The #66 was in the box.
"Go go go go go. 4650. 4650."
"You're all clear now."
"Yeah, it's raining good behind us now," Chad sighed. "It's coming."
"All right, looks like they're checking up in front of you. Going to come down pit road. They're going to bring you past the start / finish line, and they're going to double you up. You know the deal here. Two crew members to the car."
The field followed the pace car onto pit road, where they stopped for the rain at 2:11pm. Mikey was 39th.
"They said you can get out of the car if you want," the spotter told his driver.
Meanwile, FOX was reporting that the light rain shower had come and gone.
"Do you guys have a tarp for pit road?" Chad asked.
A crew member said they had a small one but could get a bigger one.
At 2:18pm, drivers were getting out of their cars on pit road. Jet dryers were on the track. Mikey spent time in the Hollywood Hotel during the red flag. He talked about the effect the rain delay would have on the race.
"I just think it will make the action more intense as we race into the evening, because the cars will stick better to the road," he said. "I was in the back. I was back there with Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, and we were all just logging laps like the majority of the field was doing. But I still saw cars wiggling around a lot. We did all of our racing so far under the night sky, and the cars worked better then. So, if we do run into the night, and the action is going to pick up, and guys are going to start racing for the lead, the cars are going to handle better."
Among other things, Mikey said, "Your plan has to be fluid. It has to change throughout the event." He also commented that, "It's fixing to get crazy."
When asked who might get aggressive, he identified Hamlin and Keselowski.
Later, Mikey summarized the beginning of the race: "There's a lot of action in the first 37 laps or so. The guys are two or three wide, so they know what their car is going to feel like. The group I was with fell back from the lead pack, but we chased them right back down, so we understand and the back pack. So there are a lot of things running through our head that we'll use later in the race."
When asked if he were looking to work with particular drivers during the beginning of the race, Mikey said, "No, it's just circumstances. It's all the guys who retreated to the back. And when they all said go, Jimmie Johnson didn't go. So we all just sort of hung behind Jimmie and got ourselves a gap in order to log some laps while they were three wide up there. When you're starting 42nd, and you look up through the field, and it looks like they're three-wide, you think if they crash, you'll never get through it. So you'd better fall back a little bit and get to the finish. Get some laps in, you know. You figure rain's going to be a delay, and we have to deal with that."
Fans cleared the grandstands due to rain, a thunderstorm, and a tornado warning. Teams and fans alike awaited the weather delay. Then, at 8:15pm, NASCAR called drivers back to their cars. Engines refired at 8:35pm.
"When you get out there, they want you to get up on that outside wall there," the #66 spotter said as cars took to the track. "They're going to keep pit road closed, but they're going to bring the jets down there to try to get some of the dampness out of it. You got three jet blowers off of 4 down low, and then you have two of them up high."
The field maneuvered around the blowers, behind the pace car.
"Got one more high here, entering the tri-oval."
"Just double-check your gear fans here, while we're thinking," Chad said.
"I'm thinking," Mikey replied.
"Five to seven laps, Chad," said the spotter. "Five to seven."
"All right, thanks," the crew chief replied. "They're talking about five to seven laps of yellow here, Michael." He said they would come in and top off just before going back to green.
"Right on, I'm with you."
The spotter warned Mikey again about the jet dryers.
"Man, I love our fans! Look at those grandstands!" Mikey commented on fans sticking around all day. "Thank y'all fans, for loving NASCAR! NASCAR on FOX on prime time tonight, so that's pretty cool. The Daytona 500. Mmm!"
A little later, as he continued to ride around under caution, Mikey said, "Looks pretty dry to me. It's wet right next to the wall, but hell."
Chad said NASCAR was more worried about pit road right now.
"Chad, you seen the radar?" someone asked.
"Pit road will be open," the spotter said. Then someone's radio got hung. "Michael, your button is stuck." The radio continued to hang open. "Michael, your button is stuck. Hey, you guys, you need to be ready. He can't hear me. Michael. Mikey. Michael, you copy? Michael, you got me?"
"The radio you just put me on died," Mikey reported.
"Stay out stay out stay out. Stay out stay out stay out. I heard you." The spotter thanked Mikey for changing radios.
"Yeah, but I don't know if I can get my antennae changed. So I think I should come to you, and you change it. Because I won't be able to hear anybody on the back."
"That didn't work long."
Chad said they would pit for fuel and to change the radio. "Copy?"
"Yeah, I have to do it. I have to change it. All I hear is static on the back."
"All right. We're coming to one to go here."
"All right, I'll come right to you."
The #66 pit. He was guide around Larson's #42 and adviced to take it easy on pit road. "It's still slick," the spotter added. "You got a copy? 4650. You got a copy, Michael?"
"Tail end off of 2. About halfway down the back. The tail end. Coming to the green. Coming to the green."
"Still got a copy, Michael?" Chad asked.
"Loud and clear."
"All right. Get 'er done."
"Pace car's off. Be ready. Green green green. Rolling, rolling, rolling. Things rolling in front."
Kyle Busch led the field to the green flag on lap 47. Mikey was 40th of 42 cars on track; Truex Jr's #78 was the only one who was out of the race.
Mikey was 41st on lap 48 as Busch's #18 continued to lead. The #66 radio was quiet.
"Spotter, are you alive?" Mikey asked on lap 50.
"I got a bead on them. I'm watching."
"You gotta let the driver know that you are watching."
"10-4. 10-4. I'll talk to you."
Hamlin and Kasey Kahne steamrolled by Busch going into lap 51. Kahne was marked in the top spot as the pair ran side-by-side. Cars were running two and three-wide behind them.
"Still got a bead on them, man. I'm watching them," the spotter said. Mikey was still 41st.
Hamlin led lap 52. The #18 was now behind Hamlin's #11. Mikey was in the second draft, a bit off the three-wide first draft.
"I'm still with you, Mike. I'm still with you."
"45.90. 46.20 back where he's at. He's fine. He knows what he's doing," Chad said on lap 54.
"The leaders aren't going anywhere, Michael. You're fine," the spotter assured his driver. "Got to ten green flag laps. Got you ten laps green flag, Michael."
"The car is fine. It just vibrates like a bitch," Mikey reported.
He was still 41st on lap 57. Kyle Busch was back out front, with Keselowski challenging him for the top spot. Keselowski was marked in the lead on lap 58.
"Copy that, Michael. 10-4," Chad said after a long pause.
"Still out there. He's trying to make it three wide on you. He's still outside. 99. Still outside. 17. 99 is behind him now. Outside. You're clear right there. Clear. Two back."
Kyle Busch led lap 60, before Keselowski got around him again. Mikey was 39th.
"99 is trying to get out there. The 17 is still with him. He's trying to get to your outside. You're clear, you're clear. By half. The pack is catching the single car - the 42 in the middle of the tri-oval right now."
"There's all kind of different pit strategies playing out, Brickhouse," Chad said. He added the #66 would be good for longer, but be prepared for the others to pit within eight to ten laps.
"Copy," the spotter replied.
Keselowski and Paul Menard were side-by-side on lap 66. Menard was along the inside groove, which edged out the outside line.
The spotter repeated the information to Mikey that he'd received from the crew chief. "Just be on your toes."
Keselowski and Menard continued to trade the top spot as Mikey ran in 39th. The front pack ran two-by-two, and the second draft ran just about single file all the way to the back.
"I'm still with you, man. I'm still with you. You're doing fine. These guys are going to start to pit here in a couple laps. Coming outside here. 17 inside. That's your last two."
Menard led lap 69. He was now a couple car lengths ahead of others. Mikey was 41st.
"All clear, man. He'll come back inside. A lot of these guys are going to start pitting this time. 17's in line."
Joey Logano led lap 70, having caught Menard along the outside.
"It's going to be within the next one to two laps, Brickhouse, that these guys are going to start shuffling to pit road," Chad warned.
"10-4. I see them waving," the spotter replied. He relayed the information to Mikey.
Jeff Gordon was the first to make a scheduled stop on lap 71. Mikey was 40th on lap 72 with Gordon's stop.
"Slow one's on the bottom here. As they're pitting," the spotter warned. More drivers were making stops.
Keselowski was in the lead on lap 73.
"It's all good in front of you. It's all good. Slow one's on the bottom here. He just came off pit road. Slow one on the bottom entering 2. Off of 2 now."
Kasey Kahne spun on lap 74 but righted himself and was able to drive away. Kahne's #5 spun leaving pit road. The exit was damp.
"These guys are busting their..." the spotter trailed off. "Got a ways to go here, Michael. We're looking another ten to fifteen laps. Pit road is slick. That's your last one right there - that 40."
More drivers were coming to pit road on lap 75. Mikey was now 33rd. Kyle Busch was told to pit road to serve a pass-through penalty for speeding during his stop.
On lap 77, Keselowski pit with others.
"We're looking at 88, finishing 88 on pit road," Chad said.
"Copy, got you, Chad. 88," the spotter acknowledged. "Two slow ones off of 2 on the bottom."
Trevor Bayne now led on lap 78. Busch's #18 still hadn't come to pit road for his penalty.
"Another slow one on the bottom getting into 2," the spotter warned.
"We will be coming with the 31 and the 15," Chad said. He added that another car would possibly be pitting with them.
"Got a slow one here on the bottom. The 2, he's rolling. It's good. Still out there. 88 and them guys are pitting right here. Got a slow one off of 2 on the bottom."
"All right, now we're going to finish 87 on pit road."
"Getting into 3 on the bottom. A lot of guys are pitting here in front of us. A lot of them are pitting right here. That's good. Just stay up, stay up. You'll be fine. It's all good. It's all good."
"We'll be coming with that 15. We'll be coming with that 15. A few laps, bud."
Bayne was still leading on lap 84 when many drivers pit and almost got into one another. Bayne did get into another car. Mikey was 30th.
"Slow one on the bottom here. He's on the bottom."
Mikey was 13th going into lap 85. Danica Patrick now led the field.
"4, 5, 6 of them here down low. Just came off of pit road. They're getting into 3. Remember, it's still damp on pit road."
Aric Almirola had to return to pit road for taking a jack out of his box.
"Guy's down low here."
"4650. It'll be 4650 when he does come," Chad said.
"Michael, should be this time. Should be this time. Follow that 15 in. Ease your brakes. You're good from behind. 4650. Don't slide it."
"Tell me when he's in the middle of 3 and 4."
"He's in 3 and 4 up high for some reason. Still out there. Oh... on the bottom. I don't know what he is doing there, man. I thought we told him. Pit this time. You got a copy?"
"Coming this time," Mikey replied.
"Two tires, two cans. You're going to go on me," Chad said.
Mikey led the race for one lap before he was to his box. His team warned him about pit road being slick.
"Go go go go go. 4650 4650. All clear. All clear. Nice job."
"4650, 4650. Remember your blend line. 4650. You've got two in the tri-oval, then you have the pack at the line. Left sides yellow. About ten or twelve still coming. Five more. You're clear off of 2 now. You've got a pack of four."
Menard led lap 90. Mikey was 27th. David Ragan was out of the race.
"All clear behind that 51."
"Tell him to get lined up and to keep it on the bottom," Chad said.
"Next one behind you is off of 2 now. The leader's at the line now. All right, we're in good shape."
Chad said his speeds were good.
Mikey talked about attrition and said something about Tony Stewart's car. Stewart's #14 had to pit with a potential fuel pick-up concern. "These things are so unpredictable. There's a big glob up there. I'm just going to keep my eye on them."
Menard continued to lead on lap 98. Mikey was 28th.
"15. You're clear. One back. Slow one's on the bottom. This one, then you have another one on the bottom. Clear the 47. Got one more slow one on the bottom. It's the 30. 15's with you. Still outside."
"He's a lap down. That 30's a lap down," Chad said.
"Still out there. The 15 stayed behind the 30. Lap 101. It's official here. Still outside. The 15's two back behind you. All clear. He's coming outside. The 42 is three back off of him. You're clear. Trying to come back off. Outside of you here. I'm still watching them. You're clear. 42's about three back. About three back on the 42, behind the 15."
Menard was still leading on lap 105.
"You're clear. Still outside, the 40. 15. The 42 is going to be right behind him. You're clear up. They'll be coming here. You're clear."
Johnson's #48 led going into lap 108. Mikey was 27th, and Clint was right behind him in 28th.
"I'm watching 'em, man. I'm watching 'em," the spotter assured his driver. "110 complete. 33 is coming outside of you here. 15 behind you, two back. You're clear right there."
"These guys are going to start cycling their pits again in another five laps or so," Chad said.
"10-4. It broke up a little bit, Chad, but I got you," the spotter replied. He then told Mikey, "The guys are going to start doing their pit stuff in a couple laps. These guys are going to start pitting here on the bottom."
Johnson was still leading on lap 114 as Menard made his stop, along with a few others. Mikey was 27th.
"15. On the bottom. 15 on the bottom here. Got one spinning behind you on pit road. Still green still green still green. 15 going to be coming outside, about two back behind him."
The car that had spun was Michael Annett's #7. The #7 made it to his pit box.
"Slow one on the bottom here."
Kahne was assessed a penalty for speeding on pit road; however, he had done so to avoid the #7.
"Twelve or fourteen away, Michael."
"Love it. Love it. Let's keep running," Mikey replied.
More cars were coming to pit road, and Keselowski led on lap 118. Mikey was 20th.
"Three wide right there. Three. Back to two. 42 back behind you. One outside. 42's coming outside. The 42 is going to be your last one. Got four slow ones off of 2 on the bottom. 42's in line with you. Got one outside. Clear up. Slow one's on the bottom. One outside still. Two back behind you now. 32's going to be coming. 52 behind you. Got some slow ones on the bottom off of 4."
Stewart's #14 was on pit road with the crew in the trunk. Meanwhile, Kahne served his penalty but expressed his disagreement with the call as he came to the box.
"Guys on the bottom here. Still outside. 17 still out there. 32 behind you. Clear up right there if you need it. 31 one back."
Keselowski pit on lap 122. Johnson led.
"You're catching two more slow ones on the bottom off of 4. One more slow one off of 4. You're clear all around. Coming back inside - this 1 car."
"Five more laps, Michael."
"Slow one on the bottom off of 4 - the 30 car. Just two wide there. Inside. These guys will start pitting right here. You got more pitting this lap."
Johnson was still leading on lap 127. Mikey was 11th, with Clint in front of him in 10th.
"Car dropped a cylinder, he thinks," the spotter said. "The 15 broke."
Johnson was one of eleven drivers to pit on lap 128. The #15 was on pit road with the hood up, and Clint got out of the car. He was out of the race.
"One on the bottom here. Slow one on the bottom off of 3."
"Michael, pit this time. Pit this time. Four tires and fuel. Get him ready for this pit stop here. Watch him on pit road. It's slick."
Mikey led lap 130 before he was guided in and out of his pit box.
"Watch your blend line. The pack at the line, out of the tri-oval, here they come. On the yellow, left sides. Got about five more coming. About seven back. Coming outside. Three more coming. Off of 2 now, up to speed. About five back, coming hard. Coming inside, coming inside. Got the 9, 10, and the 30. Three-wide. Back to two wide. Hole behind this one here."
Carl Edwards' #99 was now in the lead.
"All right, he's in line. All clear."
"Why did we change four tires? Son of a bitch!" Mikey exclaimed.
"We'll be all right, bud. We'll be all right. Leader's at the line."
Mikey and Chad talked on the radio at the same time. Mikey said something about passing, and Chad gave lap times.
"We're all right," the spotter said after saying where cars were on the track.
Mikey told his spotter just to watch the track. "I don't need any commentary."
"10-4. I got 'em."
Dale Earnhardt Jr passed Edwards and was leading by lap 137. The commentators mentioned that rain may be coming into the area. Stewart's #14 went to the garage.
"We're 67. Leader 45.80," Chad noted.
"You've got only three of them back there. 51 and the 42."
Mikey was 23rd on lap 139 as Earnhardt Jr continued to lead.
"Slow one off of 2 on the bottom. You're clear up. There you go."
Mikey was 24th on lap 142 with Earnhardt Jr leading.
"Got a slow one on the bottom in the centre of 4."
Edwards led with 57 to go.
"All right, check up check up check up. Damn it! He's back on our ass. Shit motherfuckers."
"Fucking. I can't believe that," Mikey reacted to getting wrecked. "He didn't do... You did a great job, spotter. I saw it, but that guy just ran us over."
"Yeah, 10-4. 10-4. You all right?"
"Yeah. That damn. I mean, that's ridiculous. I saw it, I slowed down. Just got run over. It's going to be a great finish to the 500. I wish I were a part of it."
The third caution was on lap 146. Kevin Harvick's #4 and Brian Scott's #33 got into each other when three wide with Aric Almirola's #43, pushing the #43 into the wall. Mikey was collected, as was Dillon, Kahne, Ambrose, Patrick, Stenhouse Jr, Menard, Gilliland, Allgaier, and Wise. The #66's hood was peeled back, and the car was destroyed.
"Thank you for everything, bud. Sorry for your luck there. We'll get it ready for Talladega."
"Yeah, great call on the four tires. Great stop. I just got run over. Who was it who did it? That dumbass in the 83?"
"I'm looking at it right now."
It looked like it was Alex Bowman's #23 that ran into the back of the #66 as cars slowed for the initial wreck.
Chad told the team they did a good job in the pits. They talked about bringing saws from the pit box.
Biffle's #16 led the field to the restart with 47 laps to go with the #66 and #15 in the garage.
Mikey was back in the Hollywood Hotel when the checkered flag waved. Dale Earnhardt Jr won with cars wrecking behind him.
Watch for Mikey when he gets back behind the wheel at Talladega!