Michael Waltrip had a great dancing partner in Bobby Labonte. Unfortunately, Labonte's #47 was loose toward the end of the race. On lap 174, the #47 wrecked. Mikey scrambled for drafting partners and went from Landon Cassill to Denny Hamlin. His #15 Aaron's Dream Machine / Darrell Waltrip NASCAR Hall of Fame Camry finished 9th. Martin Truex Jr's #56 Napa Toyota was 10th, and David Reutimann's #00 Aaron's Dream Machine was 12th.
Mikey qualified 23rd for today's race. David and Martin qualified 36th and 37th respectively, with Mark Martin on the pole.
The #15 team conducted a radio check at 2:09pm ET. The call to start engines came a minute later.
"Bobby, they've got the radios fucked up," Mikey said.
Crew chief Bobby Kennedy called for Ron to go to the #15 car as the radio was having a problem.
"No, we're not, Ron. When I put it on channel 2, I'm the only one I hear. It's me talking to me. How do we not know that?"
"I hear you fine. That's not the problem. The problem is, when I put it on radio two, it's just me. It's Mike talking to me.
"It's so loud when I talk, I don't know if anybody hears me. Let's try it again."
"Okay, I can hear you too," Bobby said.
"Okay, I"m on channel two, and I'm listening to myself talk."
Bobby said he could hear Mikey.
"Roger that. Well, this is weird.
"Now I'm on one."
"You're good," Bobby said. "All right. How 'bout it, Ken."
It sounded like Ken Butler was on the radio.
Mikey apologised for the drama, and Ken said he had his signal. Mikey told Ken to tell him to switch radios if there were someone else to talk to. Mikey called for Bobby again. Bobby Kennedy answered, and Mikey said he was trying to talk to Bobby Labonte on channel 47.
"Hey, Michael, it's Ty. Do you got me?" spotter Ty Norris came on the radio.
"Bobby, do you hear me now?" Mikey asked.
"Yeah, and I switched over and heard you talk to the 47. It's all good."
Ty spoke again.
"Yes, Ty, I hear you."
Mikey said the radios weren't working like they were designed. He also said something about there being too many Bobbys so he'd say Ken when he wanted to talk on his frequency.
Ken agreed with the radio assessment but said they'd work with what they had. "We're going to be okay, MW."
"I'm showing 4200."
"All right, MW, pit road speed is going to be 4600. 4600 second gear pit road speed," Ken said.
Mikey acknowledged, then told Ty he'd have to do some relaying. Bobby then noted when Ken and Ty would spot the #15. Bobby said the #66 was on the way in.
Ty asked if Mikey were thinking about starting on the 47 channel.
Mikey said it was impossible to tell. Then he said he'd put it on the 47 and Ty should talk to see if they can hear Ty on the 47 frequency. They couldn't hear each other when Mikey switched frequencies.
"Michael, can you hear me? It's KB. W, can you hear me?" Ken asked.
There was no response.
"MW, do you have a copy on us?" Ken asked again.
"I hear you, Ken. He may have already jumped over to the 47," Ty said.
Ken said this race was about Mikey and DW and told Mikey to have a good day.
"10-4, bud," Ty replied. "We'll be coming to the green this time."
Mikey asked about switched.
"Ready? Green green green," Ty said. "Everybody's rolling in front of you."
The green flag waved at 2:23pm ET.
"Two by two," Ty said. "The 7's got the 9 on his nose. Looking outside, 31. 9 and 43 have hooked up. Got a real slow one in front of the 48. Clear low. You're still clear low, clear low."
Jimmie Johnson led lap 1.
"Three wide. Slow one on the bottom," Ty warned. "Still both sides, still both sides. Clear low, clear low. Three-wide, three-wide. 56 in the middle. Still three-wide. 7's trying to get back to you." Ty warned Mikey about two cars slow on the yellow line. "Outside, outside." He said the 24 and 5 were trying to hook up. "Both sides all clear. Clear two back to the yellow car. Clear all clear, whatever you need, bud. Whatever you need."
Lap 2 saw Mikey in 27th. David Ragan led. David was 11th, and Marin was 24th.
"Clear low, now you're clear high. Got a lot of cars trying to hook up, bud. Bottom side moving. Top side still trying to get hooked up. Three wide right there, three wide. Three wide in front of you there. Still outside. You're clear to the top side, clear to the middle. Clear four out the back."
Matt Kenseth led lap 3. Mikey was 35th.
"Tandum coming to the top side. You're clear by twenty right there. All the way on the top side with no help. Clear two off the 47's nose."
Mikey wad 30th on lap 5. Jeff Burton led. David was 28th, and Martin was 31st.
"Coming back outside."
Kenseth led lap 6. Mikey was 27th, David 30th, Martin 31st. David and Martin had been drafting with one another. Jamie McMurray led the next time around the track, with Mikey in 22nd. He was 26th one lap later as Kenseth regained the top spot. The #15 radio was quiet; he may have been on Bobby Labonte's #47 frequency as the two drafted together. On lap 11, he was 27th as Kenseth continued to lead with David Ragan pushing.
"Michael, we're half a second faster than the leader - a 48.8 to our 48.3," Ken noted.
Ryan Newman led lap 14. Mikey was 27th with Bobby pushing from 28th. Martin and David were 35th and 36th.
"Fastest lap of the day right there. Looking good, man," Ken said.
Kevin Harvick was in the top spot on lap 16. Mikey and Labonte were 25th and 26th; Martin and David were 35th and 36th. Denny Hamlin had lost the draft.
"We're halfway on the fuel run, halway. Lap 19," Ken observed. "We're at 48.6, leader 48.4."
Travis Kvapil led lap 19. Mikey and Labonte were 25th and 26th. Martin and David were 33rd and 34th. Bobby said they'd pit on lap 38. One lap later, Harvick was back out front. Labonte was in front of the #15 now; they were 23rd and 24th. Martin and David were 31st and 32nd. On lap 22, Mikey was back to 26th, with Labonte in 25th. On lap 23, he was 24th.
Labonte's spotter warned Mikey about the #11.
"Yeah, and make a note of the 51. He doesn't know what he's doing," Mikey replied, talking about Landon Cassil.
Debris in Turn 2 drew the first caution on lap 25. Kasey Kahne was in the lead. The #15 team talked about staying out.
"Well, I know what to do now. I just can't do it like it was designed."
"Yeah, stay out. I'll tell Frankie to do the same thing. The #47 is going to do the same thing," Bobby said.
Ty said it was a quicky yellow. "Denny didn't have a partner there, Michael, so he started blocking the whole field."
"How come he doesn't have a partner?" Mikey asked.
Ty said he didn't know. "The communication broke down, and he got left."
"I thought Bobby was going to pit the second time by," Mikey said as cars pit.
Ty told Mikey that the #47 was the last one off pit road and would be right there.
"I feel like I need to help the 11," Mikey replied.
Ty said Hamlin was back on the lead lap.
Bobby led Mikey to pit road. "Tires. All the way out, all the way out. 4600." Bobby told Mikey to go on the jack each time for the rest of the day. Mikey had led lap 26 before going to pit road.
"Pace car's off. Ready? Ready? Green green green. Everybody's rolling."
Kahne led the restart on lap 29. Mikey was 34th, David 25th, and Martin 16th. Labonte was 33rd. On the #47 radio, he told Mikey to ease down on the bottom.
"Let's see if we can... oh, 7 car. If we see a way to help the 11 car if he gets screwed again, maybe the three of us will run fast enough so he can get caught up," Mikey suggested.
"Yeah, I don't know where he's at," Labonte replied.
"If he looks like he's the odd man out, let's just see how we can run with three of us."
"10-4. Stay right here in themiddle."
Clint Bowyer led lap 31. Labonte was 32nd, and Mikey was 34th.
"Michael, 77 32 coming hard," warned the #47 spotter.
"I just think it would be... I'm right here on you," Mikey said. He was 39th on lap 34.
Someone said the #21 was now the odd man out.
"All right, we're going to be on the bottom," someone said.
"Let's try to keep the 11 pushed up. If we want to help him, Bobby, give it a try," Mikey said.
"He's got the 7 right now if he wants to work with him. All right, let off let off let off let off. Okay, stay down. I'll work with you," Labonte replied. "All right. We've got a little bit here. We'll just run middle or high. Let's go low, let's go low."
"I'm loose, Bobby, I'm loose," Mikey announced.
Kyle Busch led lap 36. Mikey was 39th.
"We'll just stay low, Michael," Labonte instructed.
"37 32 outside," Someone said."
"That 7 is going to screw the 11 in a minute. If we can help him, that would be cool for the Toytas, but it's your call, Bobby."
Labonte said that the #11 had the #7.
"We need to worry about ourselves too, guys," someone said.
"I'm getting a little warm, Bobby," Mikey reported.
Labonte told Mikey, "Poke out if you need to."
Someone warned that the #21 was in the middle of the track. "On the outside here right now. Stay here. Leaders are just now in the middle of 3 and 4. We're good."
Labonte and Mikey were 34th and 35th on lap 36.
"That's ten laps on your tires, ten laps. You're half a second faster than the leaders," someone said. "Stay in the middle here. They're switching in front of us, Mike. All right, stay a little higher."
Mikey asked again to hook up with the #11.
"Uh, I don't want to do that and be in the middle." Labonte made a suggestion.
"Yeah, I need to get me too though, so... I would get screwed if I let you do that."
"The 21's back there, so maybe he'll help."
"I want to be a good help to the Toyota family, but I don't want to screw myself." Mikey said maybe they could just hang out in the back. He wanted to help Hamlin until Hamlin got a partner.
"Yeah, we can do that."
"All right, the 21 is back there with the 7 car right now, so it's just you guys alone," someone said.
"Denny knows the deal here," someone else said.
Mikey was 33rd on lap 41. Labonte was 32nd, Martin was 34th, and David was 35th. Bowyer continued to lead.
"Bobby, they're doing some swapping up there," Labonte's spotter warned.
Labonte told Mikey that he was still pushing the #11 on lap 48.
"I got the 56 and the 00 behind me. They just got here, so this is a pretty good place to be right now," Mikey replied.
Labonte told his crew chief that he was running half throttle.
"Ken, I've been all throttle on mine, keeping up," Mikey noted.
Brian Vickers led lap 49. Labonte, Mikey, Martin, and David were 32nd, 33rd, 34th, and 35th.
"Coming on the inside, 7 21," Labonte's spotter warned. He then noted that someone had cost the #00 the tail end of their line. This was resolved quickly. "27 29 trying to get rehooked on the top line, Michael. Still clear, Bobby. Michael's not. Clear guys."
"We're not hooked up or anything, Michael. The guys on top are in the middle. Not like the old days, right, Michael?" Labonte said.
"Totally. I knew we could help that boy without hurting ourselves."
"27 29 on the bottom here," a spotter warned. "Bobby, just Michael 56 00. We lost those other cats."
Juan Pablo Montoya led lap 51.
The #47 spotter said that the #77 and #32 were coming.
"That's the 71, right?" Labonte asked, talking about Andy Lally. His brother Terry was in the #32.
"Yeah, one of those cars there. They get a little run on David."
Labonte's crew chief said that he was eight laps from a stop. The spotter warned Mikey about the #71 and #32, then said everyone was lined up again.
"Let's run a lap. They've got to pit in a minute," Mikey suggested.
"Four more to go," Labonte said. "I say we just run here and see what happened."
The spotter warned that the #56 and #00 were inside the #47 and #15. "Still half back. Five to Michael. There they are."
"Those two are speeding up for a minute. Maybe they'll get up there and will break apart. Coming high, Bobby."
"Coming outside, bud," Labonte replied. "You're all good, Michael."
"Two more until then."
"Am I pitting with him, Frank?" Mikey asked.
Frankie Kerr told Mikey that he was, and Bobby Kennedy confirmed.
"Watch for them wrecking when they pit, Bobby," Mikey warned. Bobby asked him to repeat, and he did.
"Not this time, not this time. One more," Frank said.
"Michael, 77 and 32 again. Two back. We've still got another lap. Staying out here. Bunch of pitters here. They're wrecking right here. Just keep coming. No caution no caution. No caution, guys," The spotter said. "Frankie, 20's rolling good on the bottom here. They say the track is clear here. Pit this time."
"4600 for you, Michael," Ty said.
"4650, Bob," Frank said.
Joey Logano's left front tire blew as Mikey was counted to his box.
"Caution's out," Frank said. "Just into 3."
The #47 and #15 finished their stops. Labonte said that maybe the #20 would be working with the #11 now.
"You do the number crunching and let me know how we're looking," Mikey said.
Bobby said they were looking good and asked if they wanted to stay out. Mikey wanted to know what Labonte wanted to do, and Bobby said he'd check. Ty noted that the #20 had blown a tire and would now be back there to help Hamlin.
The #15 and #47 teams decided to pit again.
"I'm going to come in. Yeah, I'm going to get this tear off and maybe some lefts here, if that's all right," Mikey said.
Ken said they'd give Mikey what he didn't get last time - some rights. Mikey agreed to this, and Ken counted him to his box.
Ty called Mikey to the restart on lap 73. Marcos Ambrose was leading. Mikey was 20th, Labonte 19th, and David and Martin were 12th and 13th.
Labonte told Mikey's plan to hang out for a bit.
"Okay, I'm good. I think the 18 and the 11 are together now, so we can forget about them," Mikey replied.
"Stay low, Mike. Stay low," Labonte instructed. "All right, back off."
"David, don't say one above us or two above us, say two tier or three tier. It sounds like we're running three wide," Mikey requested of Labonte's spotter. "Tell me if you just want to ride, Bobby."
Labonte said he just didn't want the leaders getting too far ahead. "Just ride up high."
Dale Earnhardt Jr led lap 77 with Jimmie Johnson pushing. Mikey was 31st.
Labonte said they'd just ride. "All right, come on up here. We'll push for a little bit. Let's try the middle for a little bit, Mike."
"I'm all clear low," Mikey replied.
The spotter said they'd stay in the middle. "Coming outside. Just stay low, Mike. Caution out, behind us, behind us. Track's clear, but there's a lot of debris on the front stretch. A lot."
The third caution was on lap 79. Jamie McMurray had been leading when Ryan Newman spun.
"I'm totally happy, man. If you're in front, you'll tell me what you want to do, and if I'm in front, I'll tell you what I want to do," Mikey suggested.
Labonte agreed. His crew said they'd pit just to top off. Mikey told his team to keep an eye on Labonte and to see what he does. They confirmed that Labonte was just taking gas. The #15 pit under yellow. Bowyer stalled on his way out of his pit box.
"This is fun being back in the game again," Mikey commented.
"We'll keep you there the whole game," Ken replied.
"I passed Jimmie Johnson a minute ago. Now I'm right behind him."
"You're going to get to pass him again." He then told Mikey told let them know about temps when he comes back around. Ken then had Ty relay the message to Mikey.
"He's on multiple channels. He likes to wander around and talk to people. I'll find him," Ty said.
Martin came onto Labonte's radio momentarily to check in.
Ty asked for temps on the #15 radio.
"170, 180," Mikey replied.
"You copy that, Bobby and Ken?"
"I think Martin and Bobby and everybody's is cool. We're just riding. I want to drive up there, but I want to be a team player. Do we need to top off for any reason?" Mikey asked.
"No, we're good," Bobby replied.
"All right, man, one to go. The 00 is behind you and two back to the 56."
Andy Lally led under caution.
"Pace car's off," Ty said. "Green green green."
Jeff Burton led the restart on lap 85. McMurray reclaimed the lead on lap 87. One lap later, Labonte was 15th, and Mikey was 16th. With 100 laps to go, they were 13th and 14th.
"All right, we're catching those guys a bit. Let's back off a little. We'll just stay here in the middle," someone said on the #47 frequency.
"I lost you, Bobby," Mikey said.
"17 and 6 back there."
"We'll go low," someone said.
With 98 to go, Burton led. Labonte was 11th, and Mikey was 13th.
"20 and 14 hooked up, Michael," someone said. "88 and 48 inside. Way down low, Bob."
"We'll just stay up here," Labonte said.
With 96 to go, Allen Bestwick took notice of Labonte and Mikey, who were up to 7th and 8th.
"Stay low here. Easy easy easy off, easy off."
"Stay out there, Michael. Three tandums coming in line on the top."
"Tell me, Bobby," Mikey said.
"Coming hard outside, two tandums."
"Be pretty careful. I'm pretty nervous with you behind me here," Labonte said.
"I understand, bud. I'll totally quit if you want to, bud," Mikey replied.
"Stay here for a little bit."
"Still one tandum above Michael."
"Back off, back off," Labonte said. "Let's swap here."
This was with 94 laps to go. Kenseth was now leading.
"I was trying to give you room. I saw those guys coming under you. Right now, the bottom is where we're going to be. We've got a couple broken on the top. Got a lapped car up ahead. We're going to the middle, going to the middle," Mikey directed. "Now we're going to go low. We're going to go low. We're going to stay low, we're going to stay low. We've got a couple broken apart up top."
"Outside 43 one tandum outside," a #47 spotter warned. "Clear Bob, clear Bob. Clear Michael."
"Okay, Bob, hold on, hold on. Come off of me. Okay, come back," Mikey instructed.
They were 16th and 17th with 92 to go. McMurray continued to lead.
"Okay, we're good. Just go low," Mikey said.
A spotter warned them about the #24 and #5 up top.
"Uh, lay off of me, Bob. Lay off of me," Mikey requested.
They were 30th and 31st with 89 laps to go. Martin and David were directly behind them. Harvick was in the lead.
"Keep following me. In the middle, in the middle," Labonte said. "Don't spin me out. We're good. Okay, let's go low here. One tandum above you, Mike. All right, let's just back off here. Back off. Let's just try to run here for a while, just without pushing."
"Five back, Bobby and Michael," someone said.
"We caught these guys. Let's ride here, if we can," Labonte said.
Tony Stewart led with 87 laps to go. One lap later, Burton led.
"Outside here, Mike. Bobby, two cars hooked up. Here they come. Just him. 48 and 88 are not hooked up, eight back."
"Anything's fine by me," Mikey said.
"Stop stop stop stop stop. Stay high. We're good. Good job," Labonte spotted them through a wreck.
The fourth caution was on lap 104 for a multi-car wreck. Marcos Ambrose had pushed his teammate AJ Almendinger and had sent him around. Harvick, Montoya, Kyle Busch, and McMurray also sustained damage.
"9 turned the 43 here right past centre," someone said.
"That was a good one. We're getting a lot of action in front of us here, aren't we, David," someone on the #47 radio said.
"Yeah, I can't watch."
"That looked like it'd been brewing for a couple laps."
The #47 team decided to stay on track.
"Dub, you on the channel here?" Bobby asked on the #15 radio. No one responded.
A little while later, Bobby said, "Just come in and pit."
"4600, bud," Ty added. "All right, M-Dub, we're going to stay on this channel until we get hooked back up to the 47."
"Okay," Mikey replied.
Racing resumed with 79 las to go. Bowyer was leading, and Harvick was on pit road for repairs. Mikey was 30th, and Labonte was 17th.
Ty told Mikey that the #47 was trying to back up to him. "Here they come to the outside, here they come to the outside. The 47 is on the outside. You see him."
"Still two in front of us," the #47 spotter said.
"Where's Mike at?" Labonte asked.
The spotter said he was at the tail of the field. "The 27 is trying to hook up to us, but... Mike is at the tail end of the field. The 2 car in front of us. The 27 is trying to push here."
"Not really looking to be pushed here."
"Okay, I'm telling the spotter here." He told Labonte that Mikey was at the tail end. The #27 was Paul Menard. Labonte's spotter told him that Mikey was worming his way up through there. "Michael is back five to the outside. Three back to the middle. Okay, Michael's on the bottom."
Labonte said he'd push Mikey for a while.
"Let's see what we can do for that 11. Let's see if we can help him out," Mikey came onto the #47 frequency.
Kenseth led with 75 laps to go, with Ragan pushing. Martin and David were 11th and 12th. Mikey was 32nd.
Labonte asked Mikey to back up a little bit. Menard was now pushing Harvick.
The fifth caution was on lap 120 for debris from Allmendinger's car. Kenseth was leading, and Mikey was 29th. He wanted four tires, because he was complaining that his tires had been wiggling.
"I'll be there in about a minute," Mikey said.
As cars pit, Bobby said, "Next time by, next time by. We'll give you four then."
Bowyer was the first driver off pit road. Martin was 8th, and David was 9th.
Bobby told Mikey not to go through the #29 pit when he came in. "They've got stuff all over it." He led his driver to the box and out again.
"Denny finally found someone to run with. He's going to go back there and run with the 42," Ty reported.
Bowyer led the restart with 63 laps to go. Mikey was 29th, Labonte 28th, Martin 12th, and David 13th.
"Clear low, Bobby. Michael's with us," said the #47 spotter. "You're clear, Bobby. He is not. 22 78 outside. Michael's trying. All clear guys."
Kenseth led with 62 laps to go.
Labonte said that they'd stay low. NASCAR stopped scoring Harvick's smoking #29. Mikey was 18th with 61 laps to go. They were talking on the #47 frequency about running from middle to low.
"We're still all good here. We're running in the middle. Slow down but keep going," Labonte said.
The sixth caution was on lap 129 after Kasey Kahne spun out. Teammate Brian Vickers had gotten into him in the tri-oval. Mikey was 18th at the time.
"All right, good job," Frankie said. He made the call to stay out.
"We've got fifteen more laps before we come to our fuel window," Ken reported on the #15 frequency.
Robby Gordon led under caution.
"Do you want to lead, or do you want me to lead?" Mikey asked.
Labonte said the #20 was on him.
Robby Gordon led the restart with 55 laps to go. Martin was 7th, David was 8th, Mikey was 10th, and Labonte was 9th.
"Still five on Michael. You've got it, Bob," the spotter said. "Michael, 36 and 2 coming two back. In your mirror. Here comes Bob. Clear, right there. 22 inside Michael. 22 inside Michael. Got four on the bottom here, guys. Two back Michael. 36, outside 36. Clear high, guys."
"All right, keep going, Mike," Labonte instructed. "We'll just stay high here."
"13.51 bottom, Michael," someone said.
"All right, Michael, stay in the middle. Watch out for that 36."
The spotter warned Mikey of the #56 and #00. "Still coming outside, guys."
"All right, just stay low here. Stay low," Labonte said. "Switch here. Switch."
"Clear. Still twenty back, Bob," the spotter said.
Tony Stewart led with 52 laps to go. Mikey was 27th, and Labonte was 28th. Somebody on the #47 frequency said something about twitching.
"88 and 48 on the bottom, five back," the #47 spotter said. "Still all good, guys."
Mikey told Labonte to go low when they go into Turn 1. "I think I want to go again." They were 25th and 26th with 50 to go. "Run a little low, a little low. No issues right now."
"Ten laps on your tires. Fifty to go. Fifty," Frank said.
"Go low, Bobby," Mikey directed.
"Switching up here, Michael."
"Let's just back off here for a second, Bobby," Mikey said. "Back off."
"Thirty out the back," someone said. "Outside 71 32. Two back. Coming outside, guys. One tandum."
"We're going to hold the low line. Running low," Mikey instructed.
"All clear, guys," said the spotter.
"Running low," Mikey repeated. "All right, we're going to hold low off."
"99 and 16 down the track, guys."
Mikey said something about hooking up, but his words were broken up by static. He was 33rd with 46 to go. He said something about cars being broken up on the top groove. "Go low, Bobby. You've got to go low."
"Clear," said the #47 spotter.
"Run the middle. We're not catching anyone. Run the middle," Mikey told Labonte. "It might be faster with me pushing. Run the middle. No problem. Run the middle. Same deal. Catching up a little bit. Might have to make a plan here in a lap or so, but right now no issues. Run the middle. Leader's on the same straightaway as us. Hey, back off of me, Bobby. Back off. Go low, Bobby, go low. Back off of me. Okay,c ome on."
Burton led with 42 laps to go.
"Twenty laps on your tires here and on the run, 40 to go."
"Back off, Bobby. Nevermind. Come on, come on," Mikey instructed.
"One tandum below," warned Labonte's spotter. They were 33rd and 34th.
"Right now, we're good. We're okay. All right, keep it coming if you can. Keep it coming if you can," Mikey directed. "Do you want to switch?"
"No, you just stay up. We still have a lot of laps to go," Labonte said.
"That time, I just rolled off the gas, Bobby, on the back straightaway when I got in that hole. And if you just roll off, I think we can stay hooked together. Just keep that in mind."
"38 to go, guys. 3-8," a #47 spotter said.
"Found a lapped car down low," Mikey warned. "We're going to go high. He's letting up. Back up off me."
"Coming to you."
"All clear, all clear," the spotter said.
"Run the middle," Mikey said. "Run the middle."
"All right, we're about twelve from a stop. Twelve," Frank noted.
"Slow one low here, Mike," someone said.
"Slow one down low here, Bobby. Run the middle," Mikey instructed.
With 34 laps to go, Mikey was 31st with Labonte pushing.
"Okay, you're four tenths slower than the lead pack. Four tenths," Frank noted.
"Run the bottom, Bobby. We'll see if it's any faster," Mikey suggested.
Bobby said something about needing to peek out due to his water pressure.
"Same speed as the leaders," Frank said.
Mikey said they'd go high. "We're catching them pretty good. We're going to go high."
"All clear," said a spotter.
"Got a slow car down low. We're going to go middle," Mikey instructed. "We're going to go low, Bobby."
"71 32 hooked up, by themselves."
"Go low," Mikey said.
Burton led with 30 laps to go.
"We're catching them pretty good riding the bottom," Mikey observed. "There's a group of four at the end of it running gaps. I think we'll try that when we get there rather than pass them."
"Just let me know. Low low low," Labonte replied.
Mikey was 29th, and Labonte was 30th.
"Everything's good right now, Bobby. They're just running all over the place," Mikey reported. "For now, we'll just go low."
The seventh caution was on lap 163. Terry Labonte took the air off Andy Lally's #71 when he was pushing him. This happened beside Bobby Labonte. Mikey was 26th before stops.
"Your pit crew got you a few spots, so the rest of them are up to you," Ken told Mikey on the #15 frequency.
Edwards led under caution, then pit.
"Hey, Bobby. Make sure everyone takes a look at that 20 car and how he's running and what his left front fender looks like and think hard and long about some windshields," Mikey said.
"10-4," Bobby Kennedy replied.
"All right, bud. One to go when you get here. One to go," Ty said.
"All right, we have fuel for three green/white/checkereds, so we're good to go," Bobby told his driver. "21 to go when you get here."
"The 15 and the... the 51 and the 13 are doing it again," Mikey reported. He was talking about Cassel and Casey Mears.
"Bobby was just asking for you, Michael, if you were on our channel," Ty said.
Mikey said the #51 and #13 were screwing it up.
"10-4. Pace car's off. Be ready," Ty said. "You ready? Green green green."
Bowyer led the restart with 21 laps to go. Mikey was 14th.
"Got the 9 half up his nose," Ty added.
On the #47's radio, the spotter noted that Mikey was coming high. "We still have two tandums following us. Two tandums. Clear clear."
"Mike, let's go straight here," Bobby directed. "Go go go."
Dave Blaney, then Tony Stewart led with 20 laps to go.
"Stay low here. 00 56 in the middle. Now we're low. Need to roll out just a little bit. All right, you're good."
Mikey yelled something.
"All right, we'll stay here, middle low," Labonte replied. "We're going to stay low. Stay low. Clear, guys. Roll out roll out roll out. Stay with me in the middle. There you go."
"Mike's clear," the #47 spotter said.
"I'm off of you," Mikey said.
"All right, stay low," Bobby replied.
"Stay low, guys. 22 78," the spotter said.
"11 and 20 coming behind you, Mike."
With 17 to go, Mikey pushed Labonte to the high line.
"I'm off of you, Bobby!" Mikey said repeatedly.
"Three below us, guys. Two tandums below us, Mike."
"I'm all set, Bobby," Mikey said.
"Stay high," Labonte replied. "Go to the middle, go to the middle."
Mikey was 23rd with 16 to go.
"Hold it, Bobby, hold it," The spotter said.
"I'm sorry, Bobby. I don't know what I could have done different."
The eighth caution came on lap 174 when Bobby Labonte got wrecked. Landon Cassel's #51 and Kurt Busch's #22 were also collected. Frank said they were going to the garage.
"Are you okay, Bobby?" Mikey asked.
"He's climbing out right now," the spotter said.
"I was pushing right on the back of him. I don't know what went wrong."
"Thanks, Mike," Frank replied.
"Frank, he's kind of limping there, so we'll need someone to come over," the spotter said.
Bobby called Mikey and Ty back to the #15 frequency. "Ty, hello."
"Yeah, I'm looking for a partner," Ty replied.
"Go to the 78. He had the 22. We have him on our radio."
"That's who I was talking to." Ty said the #78 was trying to work a deal with the #11.
"Do you have any ideas who I'm working with?" Mikey asked.
Bobby said Ty was working on it. Ty came back with two options - the 78 and the 42. "The 78 has got some steam, so it would be good to work with him."
Mikey asked if anyone had any ideas.
Ty said they were going to try to work with the 78.
"I heard them talking on the radio about something else," Mikey replied.
"Yeah, they're talking about the 11 or something."
"The 8's talking to the 13," Bobby added.
"Where's the 51?" Mikey asked. "Nevermind. He crashed."
Bobby said they didn't have any luck, that the #42 was the odd man out.
"Where is the 42?" Mikey asked.
"He's in front of you," Ty replied. He said he was talking to the spotter right now.
"78 said they're going with the 13," someone said.
"Let's see if we can work with that 42," Ty said.
Bobby said to make sure, because he'd gone to the #42 radio, and it sounded like they were working with the #1. Mikey asked if there were anybody else.
"I'm looking back there. The 18 is kind of by himself three back behind us. Let me see if he has enough left in the tank to work with us. 2 says he wants to run with the 1."
"Try the 18," Bobby suggested. He said it looked like the #18 was going to be his best bet.
Mikey then asked about the #51 and the #43. Ty said the #43 is torn up and that the #51 is running well right now.
Racing resumed with 11 laps to go and Stewart in the lead. Mikey was 21st.
"Lost your guy back there. He's three back. Coming to you. There he is. You're all clear. Still off of you by one."
Burton led with ten laps to go.
"Still off you by one," Ty said. "Nine to go, he's hooked up. Off you by half. Inside, inside. Hook up to him. He's going to back up to you, he's going to back up to you. Bottom side's all clear. Four off in front of you. Clear all clear. Clear four off his nose. Back it down back it down back it down. One against the wall. Come up to the middle."
"Are you with the 51? Tell him I can go. I just didn't want to, and I knew they were going to wreck. So tell him I've got to pit, because I slid through that wreck, but I'll get four tires and I'll go this time. Tell him that he doesn't have to put his foot on the floor with his teeth gritting, so if a hole closes up, he doesn't spin me out. It's going to be nuts."
The ninth caution was with 7 laps to go when Regan Smith was wrecked. Mark Martin had cut down into Hamlin and was turned into Smith. Mikey pit under yellow.
"All right, he's going to be lined up right by your bumper," Ty said of Cassill.
Bobby asked Ty to make sure they've committed, because the #51 channel was talking about the #39. Ty said the #39 can't help anyone and the #51 was on their bumper.
"As long as he's committed, then we're good to go," Bobby said.
Mikey was 20th under caution, with Burton leading.
"Sounds like he's committed, Ty," Bobby commented.
Ty said Cassill was already on his tail anyway. Bobby told him to tell Cassill not to worry about his gauges, just get to the end. Martin was 10th, and David was 11th.
Ty had told Mikey he had one to go until the restart, then said, "Not going to go." There were still clean-up trucks on the race track.
"Pace car's off. Two to go," Ty said. "Be ready. Green green green."
Burton led the restart with two laps to go.
"Clear all clear, clear all clear. Lost your guy. You'll just have to dig here, dig," Ty said. "Inside inside. Middle's good, middle's good. Clear high. Coming to your bumper. Clear, both sides."
With one lap to go, Burton and Bowyer had pulled well ahead of everyone else.
"Clear three back. Rolling the bottom here. No one breaking out yet. 11 coming to your bumper. Outside."
"That's cool. We got ourselves a big ol' top ten. Big ol' #9."
"I had a good spot. It didn't work out right, but thank y'all," Mikey said.
"DW, I think he'll be proud of what you did," Ken said.
Mikey said he felt bad for Bobby. "I couldn't have done anything different. Got the ol' Aaron's Dream Machine in the top ten. Thank you for your suppport."
Ken said the #00 got 12th too.
Clint Bowyer won the race. Mikey was 9th, Martin 10th, and David 13th.