Kyle Busch triggered a wreck that took out Michael Waltrip's #55 Aaron's 55th Anniversary Toyota in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. Mikey had led four laps and had been running up front from a back of the pack starting spot. He finished 119 laps down in 39th. His drivers Martin Truex Jr in the #56 Napa Camry and David Reutimann in the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine came home 12th and 14th respectively. Marcos Ambrose' #47 Kingsford Toyota was twelve laps down in 37th.
The call to start engines came at 1:08pm ET. Qualifying had been rained out, so the field was set according to owner points standings. Mikey rolled off last. Martin started 17th, Marcos 28th, and David 30th. Points leader Jimmie Johnson was on the pole.
Johnson led the field to the green flag at 1:21pm.
"Ready, green green green. Everybody's away," spotter Mark Green led his driver to the line. "Clear on the 87."
Kyle Busch led the first lap. Mikey was now 40th.
"1 car on the bottom is slow." Kevin Harvick had booted Jamie McMurray out of line. "Clear low if you need it. Still inside. Still there. Clear high. Still inside. Clear clear. Clear all around. Two by two behind you."
Lap 2 saw Mikey move into 38th.
"Single file behind you now. That's two lined up behind you, then three or four car lengths back, three lined up."
Joey Logano led lap 4.
"You've just got the one car behind you, the #26." David Stremme was in the #26.
Matt Kenseth led lap 5.
"Just let me know if you're hitting the splitter or anything," crew chief Bobby Kennedy said. He told Mikey they could work on the car during the planned lap 20 caution.
"No, it's not doing nothing," Mikey reported. He mentioned a problem that I couldn't understand what he said.
"Yeah, I'm going to help you with that the first stop."
Kevin Harvick led lap 6. Denny Hamlin took the top spot one lap later. Mikey was 38th, Martin 20th, David 23rd, and Marcos 26th.
"Still got the 26 with you. Clear by fifteen back to a pack of three cars. Inside of you there, the 26. Clear behind him. Still clear by ten, back to a pack of three. Clear by five. Got the 42, the 1, and the 87. Clear by three. Lined up there with you. Coming inside, inside, 42 and 1. Clear behind the 1 by three back to the 87."
Tony Stewart led lap 10 with Elliott Sadler pushing. David Ragan took over after that. Mikey was now 40th.
"Got the 38 there by himself."
Mikey asked about staying out for the competition yellow.
"I'm going to need to make a little adjustment in the back of your car to help the speed," Bobby replied.
"How are we running right now compared to the leaders?"
Bobby said he was running the same.
Kurt Busch led lap 14. One lap later, Logano was back in the lead. Mikey was 37th, Martin 29th, David 30th, and Marcos 22nd.
"15 down this time, 15," Mark noted.
Mikey was 36th on lap 17.
"The splitter looks the same as the one in front of you," Bobby noted.
"Yeah, it all feels good. No issues this whole race." Mikey said something else that was hard to understand.
"87's looking inside, inside," Mark observed. "26 staying with you. Everybody's lined up with you. 9 car on the bottom here has a motor problem." Kasey Kahne had dropped back and was lagging behind the pack.
Jeff Burton led lap 20.
"I'm just curious why people do things, Mark. Where was he going?"
Mark said he didn't know either. "Now he's lost y'all, so that wasn't good for him either. Got your 20 laps right there. Should be getting that caution here. Okay, caution is out, caution is out."
The competition caution was out on lap 21.
"Well, 20 down, one hundred and sixty something to go," Mikey said.
"All right, I"m going to put four tires on you, and I'm going to do some adjustments in the rear. Anything to drink?"
"All right. 4600 there, Mark. 46."
"Hey, Bob? Take a look at ol' Bobby Labonte. I think that boy wants to race today."
"Yeah. We're going to stop you on the sign a little bit long." Bobby said they were giving the #14 of Tony Stewart some room.
"All right, pit road will be open this time, this time."
"Yeah, give him that ten away, Mark, because that car is hard to see."
"10-4. 46, 46."
"And you're ten away."
"5, 4, right around the 14. 2. Right here, right here. Wheels straight, put on the brake."
The #55 was in the pit box for the first time in the race.
"Okay, halfway halfway halfway. All the way."
Kasey Kahne's #9 spent a great deal of time on pit road with the hood up. Bobby told Mikey that someone had "hit your skirt" during the first run.
"Where did I go across the line?" Mikey asked.
"25th, 25th," Bobby replied.
"Why would some people pit weird?"
"I don't know. There was lots of congestion on pit road."
Jeff Gordon led under caution before pitting. Kurt Busch led the field to the green flag on lap 25. Mikey was 25th, Marcos 17th, Martin 19th, and David 20th.
"Ready? Green green green. Clear high. Got help. Still got help. 43 and the 5 behind you. Three-wide, you're on the top. Three-wide. Still three-wide there on the top. Got a little hole right there. One car inside, just one. Back to three-wide, you're on the top. Still three-wide, you're on the top. Four-wide, four-wide, one outside. Still four-wide. One car outside. Still one car outside, four-wide."
On lap 26, Mikey was 20th.
"Still four-wide, one car outside. Clear high, clear high. Three-wide. Clear high. 78 lined up with you. Clear all around, clear all around. Three-wide, you're on the top. Two-wide. Still inside, still there. Clear if you need it, clear low."
Brian Vickers led lap 28. Mikey was 8th.
"Whatever you want to do there, clear all around. Back inside, three-wide. You're on the outside. Still three-wide, still three-wide. Still three-wide. Still three-wide. You've got help behind you. Still three-wide, you're on the outside. One car inside, just one. 83 still down there. Still got the 77 lined up behind you."
On lap 30, Mikey pushed Dale Earnhardt Jr into the lead.
"You're clear the 11, back to the 77, lined up with you. Inside line coming back. Two cars inside. Still inside, 77 00 behind you."
Hamlin led lap 30, but then Mikey pushed Earnhardt Jr back ahead. Bobby told him to turn on his fans.
"Clear all around, clear by four, lined up behind you. Everybody lined up on the top behind you. Still out there, still out there."
Mikey said he'd gotten hot.
"10-4. Got two hooked up on the bottom, two hooked on the bottom, here they come. 43 car inside. Back clear the 43. The 88 and the 11 lined up with you. Clear all around, clear all around. 88 and 11 lined up with you."
Mikey led lap 32.
"77 by himself lined up on your quarter. Outside lane still lined up with you. Got two hooked up on the bottom, 43 inside. The 43 and the 18. Still lined up behind you single-file. Two deep. Inside lane coming back, inside coming back to you now. Clear all around behind that 18. Inside row is on your quarter panel, inside row on your quarter panel. Inside. Still inside, still there. Three-wide, you're on the outside. Three-wide. Still three-wide. Got a slow one on the very bottom."
"When you get a chance, make sure your radiator fans are off," Bobby said.
"Two-wide. 6 car on the middle lane. Clear the 6. 88 right there on you."
Mikey led three laps before AJ Allmendinger passed him on lap 35. Then Ragan took over the top lead.
"88 behind you. Everybody's two-by-two, inside row and outside row."
Earnhardt Jr led lap 37, and Mikey was 2nd.
"Got the 6 car pushing you. Still two by two. Clear behind that 6 if you need it. 83 is coming. He's inside inside. 11's still lined up with you. Still inside. Four-wide, you're on the top. Four-wide, you're on the top. Three-wide. Two-wide. Got the 98 lined up with you. Three-wide, you're in the middle. Still in the middle."
On lap 38, Mikey was 6th.
"No help behind you, you're in the middle. Got help coming. 17 behind you. Still in the middle. Still in the middle, three by three. Clear high if you need it, clear high if you need it. Back to three-wide. Clear in the middle. Four wide four wide. Three wide, you're in the middle. Still in the middle."
Mikey was 14th on lap 39 as Earnhardt Jr led.
"Still in the middle. Clear low if you want it, clear low if you want it. Still got one outside, still got one outside. Clear low right there. Still got one outside. Still lined up outside. Got help from behind. Three-wide, three-wide. No help right there. Three-wide, you're on the bottom. Looking outside outside. Clear behind him. Clear clear. Got the 77 lined up behind you. You're clear by twenty back to the next little group."
Mikey was 18th on lap 42.
"Still outside there. Three wide in the middle. Clear high if you need it. Three-wide, you're on the outside. Two-wide. One car inside. Still outside. Clear high if you need it. Still inside."
Mikey was 17th on lap 44. David was 22nd, Marcos 24th, and Martin 29th.
"Three-wide, you're on the top. Two-wide, one car inside. Three-wide, you're in the middle. Still in the middle. Still in the middle. Still in the middle. Clear by one to the 09. Still in the middle."
Mikey was 14th on lap 45.
"Clear low, still outside. Clear low, still outside. Clear by one back to the 09 behind you."
On lap 46, Mikey was 8th.
"Still lined up two by two here. Still lined up outside. Still outside. That 09 can only get a half to a full car behind you for some reason. Still outside. Got the 20 down on the bottom. One back. Outside, inside. You're in the middle, you're in the middle. Still in the middle."
Kurt Busch led lap 47. Mikey was 6th.
"Still in the middle. Still three-wide, you're in the middle."
Mikey was 8th on lap 48.
"Four-wide, four-wide. Three-wide, you're in the middle. You're on the bottom. Still outside, still outside. Still outside. Got the 09 and 31 behind you. Three-wide on the bottom. Two-wide. One outside, one outside. Clear all around, clear all around."
Mikey was 12th on lap 49 when Brad Keselowski's #12 led.
"Still clear all around, 78 on top, 31 on the bottom."
On lap 50, Mikey was 5th.
"Inside, inside. Inside line there. 78 still lined up behind you. Still inside. Still down there. Three-wide, you're on the top. Two-wide. One car inside. Back to... just one inside, just one inside. Outside lane's falling back."
Ragan led lap 51, and Mikey was 6th.
"Still inside, still there. Got the 48 lined up behind you. Three-wide, you're on the top. Two-wide, still inside. Got the 48 and the 77 lined up behind you. Three-wide, you're on the top. Three-wide. Two-wide. Clear, clear all around. Lined up behind you."
Keselowski led lap 52, and Mikey was 5th.
"Bottom lane is dropping back to six back. Single line on the outside, pulling away from the bottom row."
"Eleven more laps. We're going to be on pit road on 64. On pit road on lap 64, Mark," Bobby said.
"10-4. Lined up six back behind you."
Jeff Burton led lap 54. Mikey was 4th. David was 20th, Marcos 22nd, and Martin 29th.
"Ask Jimmie if he wants to go. I don't want to do this. I don't mind falling back. I need to know for later," Mikey said on lap 56.
"The whole field here is single-file. Got a bunch of cars six behind you. 48 looking inside, inside, inside. Everybody's following him right here."
"That's what I want to do. I want some information," Mikey said.
"Still out there. Still outside. Got the 11 behind you lined up, still outside."
Mikey was 5th on lap 58.
"Looking inside, inside. Three-wide. You're in the middle. Still in the middle, still in the middle."
"Six laps away until we pit. Six laps away," Bobby said.
"Still in the middle."
"Tell me if I'm clear ahead, Mark," Mikey requested.
Mikey had pushed Sam Hornish Jr into the lead on lap 60 and was 2nd.
"You're clear ahead. Just keep pushing him, just keep pushing him. No help from behind. Clear by six. Slow car on the very bottom right there. Clear high, clear high. 31's coming to the bottom, two-back. In the centre. Inside inside, lined up inside. 77's behind you. Still inside. Clear behind the 83 if you need it. Still outside. 71 coming with you, 71 behind you. Clear high."
Kyle Busch led lap 61. Mikey was 6th, David 10th, Marcos 13th, and Martin 22nd.
"Mark, you've got to tell me. I can't see. When I get up to someone, it's going to be second nature to get right up to them."
Bobby said they'd be on pit road in three laps.
"Clear, clear all around. Clear by four behind you, no help. Clear by five, back to the 18."
On lap 63, Mikey pushed Brian Vickers into the lead. He pushed him well ahead of everyone else.
"Put your radiator fans on," Bobby said.
"Clear by ten, clear by ten. 48 and the 88 is tied together five back, running on the top, running on the top. Outside outside."
"All right, next time by. Next time by, we'll pit. Next time by," Bobby said.
"Outside, still there."
On lap 64, the field had caught up to Mikey and Vickers and passed them.
"Still outside. Wave them off behind you when you get a chance."
Mikey pit at the end of lap 64 with others.
"46. Turn your radiator fans off, radiator fans off."
"Okay, you're ten away."
"5, 4, 3, 2, 1. You're going to go on my command. He's going to drop the right side. You're going to go on my command. Go go go go go."
More cars pit next. Marcos hit Keselowski on his way to his box. FOX reported "no apparent damage".
"Stay below the line until you get off of 2."
"Great job, fellows. Really good job, everybody," Mikey praised his team.
"Clear by ten back to the 20. Everyone else is on pit road here. Clear by ten back to the 20 and 82 together."
"Turn your radiator fans off," Bobby adviced.
"Clear by five, back to the 20. Clear by one. You've got the 20 and the 82 lined up with you. 20's pushing you, 20's pushing you. You're clear all around right here, clear all around. He's backed off of you there."
"Man, I feel weird," Mikey said.
"Still with you, one back. Still helping you from behind."
Hamlin led lap 67. Mikey was 14th.
"You're clear all around right there."
Johnson led lap 68. Mikey was 8th, David was 2nd, Marin 19th, and Marcos 23rd.
"Still lined up with you. Clear high if you want it. Still inside, still inside. Clear on the bottom or the top. 20's still with you. Clear the 14, clear all around."
Jeff Gordon led lap 69. Mikey was 6th, with David right in front of him in 5th.
"That 48 in front of you there is the leader. Clear all around. 48 and 00 in front of you. Clear high if you need it. Clear clear. Clear the 48. 20's still with you. Clear all around. Got four cars lined up behind you on the bottom, single file."
Mikey led lap 71 with Logano pushing.
"Still single-file behind you, back by five. 24 car working the bottom, six back. 20 car looking outside, outside. No help from behind. Coming outside outside. No help right there. Three-wide, you're on the bottom."
Logano led lap 72. Mikey was 3rd.
"Three-wide, you're on the bottom. No help yet. Got the 82, 39, and 77 outside. The 39 and 77 the last cars in this group. Clear high, clear high. 20 still out there, 77 lined up with you."
Mikey was 21st on lap 73.
"Clear the 20. 77 still behind you. Clear inside. Clear all around."
"I don't feel it on the inside," Mikey said. "Do you understand, Mark? When I catch a guy, I need to know if he's on somebody or not? What didn't you understand the first time about it? Just help me anyway."
Reagan Smith led lap 74. Mikey was 17th.
"I guess you don't understand, you know? Nevermind. Just don't even... if you can't do that. I just can't help it."
Kyle Busch led lap 75 with David in 2nd. Mikey was 16th.
"Spin right here, spin right here. Everybody's clear. Caution's out."
"I've got some damage. I got a little bit of damage on the right. I don't think it's bad."
Bobby said they'd look at it. "We'll put four tires on it right here."
"I don't understand why you can't do what I'm asking," Mikey said.
"I understand, Mike. I'm just trying to be on the safe side. But I'll help you."
"All you've got to do is say no gap no gap. I mean, it's simple. Then I know what I have to do. That's all you have to do."
Bobby asked about Mikey's damage.
"I hit the car in front of me. Barely. I mean, don't even think about that. I've hit everybody harder than that today. Then I scuffed the wall. So the damage is minimal. But if y'all have to go to the back, go to the back. I don't want to worry about it later."
Bobby called for four tires, and he said he would look at the car.
The caution was on lap 76 for Denny Hamlin's spin. It had been triggered by cars slowing when Mikey had scuffed the wall. The #55 pit under yellow.
"Y'all have to give me some kind of fucking signal," Bobby said.
Mikey said not to overadjust on the back end.
"That's it for today. That was just a half." Bobby said they'd leave one in the bank.
"Man, I appreciate this car y'all gave me. It's fun to drive." Mikey said they had a car that could win, "and that's cool."
"Yeah, it's fun to watch, fun to watch."
"Can I talk to Martin and them on my radio, or is it just me and you?"
Bobby said no. "We're on an island here."
"Well tell Martin, when he wants to go, I'll get him there. I'd rather get us both there than just me."
"I'll switch over to Pat and tell him."
Kurt Busch led the restart on lap 80. Mikey was 21st, Martin 20th, David 11th, and Marcos 40th.
"Okay, pace car is off. Ready? Green green green. Everybody's away."
"56 is just going to lay back," Bobby reported.
"That's a good idea. Long way to go. No worries, no worries," Mikey replied.
"Coming outside, no help from behind. Clear high, lined up on the inside. Got the 12 behind you. Still in the middle."
Mikey was 26th on lap 81.
"You're still in the middle."
"I was waiting for you to tell me if I had a gap or not. Just so you know next time."
"Clear clear. Outside outside. You're in the middle, you're in the middle."
"This is when you would have told me what's ahead of the 19, but you didn't do that. I don't understand."
David Reutiman led lap 83.
"Clear in front of the 9. Clear by three. Half a car gap in front of the 34. Got a spin in front of you. Stay straight. Keep coming, keep coming."
"The great Kyle Busch, the great Kyle Busch, the greatest driver in NASCAR."
"Yeah, just... gosh. Take it to the garage. Aw, it was just such a good shot in the left front. The fender and the side's torn up. We're here to win, not for points."
"Great job, great job everybody," someone said.
"I was trying to see if he would check me for damage, and he didn't," Mikey said.
Mikey said to have the car come to pit road, put tires on it, and see what happens.
"All right, come to me, come to me and check it here."
"It's amazing he would make a mistake. You know what a genius he is."
Bobby called for scuffs.
"Oooh... put the scuffs on it. We're going to have to take it to the garage. We can help our teammates. Take it to the garage. We'll see you in the garage."
"That's such a shame. That's a shame. Golly, I was having... I'm proud of you. Thank you all. Aw, shit. Everybody's going to make a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. That's part of it."
"Yeah, that was fun to watch, man. Fun to watch."
"Damn it, I'm mad," Mikey said.
"Good job, everybody. Thank you so much," someone said.
"Mark, I'm sorry. I never tried to do what I was doing today. You did a great job. It's different things I need now, the way you drive these things."
"Yeah, I"m sorry. I just wasn't on the same page as you."
Mikey said they would next time. "I appreciate your help. The Aaron's 55th anniversary car was right, baby."
David had been leading when cautio came out on lap 84. Kyle Busch had wrecked Johnny Sauter and collected a number of other cars, including those belonging to the following drivers: Kurt Busch, Max Papis, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, David Stremme, and Bobby Labonte.
"I think they told us to go to the tractor trailer with our car, right?" Mikey asked.
"Yeah, 10-4, 10-4."
"Bobby, you going to call that done?" someone asked.
Bobby said probably but said to sit tight while he took a look at it. After a while, he said, "Yeah, go ahead and break down in the pits. We're done."
Kevin Harvick went on to win the race. Martin was 12th, David 14th, and Marcos 37th and 12 laps down. Mikey finished 116 laps down in 39th.