Michael Waltrip led a few laps of today's Sprint Cup race, the Amp Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. He made a charge toward the front again during closing laps but was collected in a wreck on the last lap. His #55 Aaron's Camry came home 28th. His drivers Martin Truex Jr and David Reutimann finished 4th and 6th respectively.
Juan Pablo Montoya led the field to the green flag at 1:23pm ET. Mikey rolled off 20th, Martin 18th, and David 21st. By the end of the first lap, Mikey was on the outside groove of three-wide traffic. Joe Nemechek was now in the lead, Martin 11th, Mikey 12th, and David was 24th. Kevin Harvick led lap 3, with Mikey in 8th. Dale Earnhardt Jr led the next time around the track, and Montoya led the next. Jeff Fuller went to the garage.
Mikey continued running the high line which was led by Kasey Kahne in the #83. Kahne led lap 6. Kahne quickly lost the lead, and Mikey dropped back a bit. He was 16th as Earnhardt Jr led again.
Jeff Burton led lap 8, and Bowyer led the lap after that. Mikey was 11th and was discussed by the commentators at that point for his prowess as a drafter, for his charity event this weekend, and for dressing as Lovey Howell from Gilligan's Island when commentating the Truck Series race yesterday.
Brad Keselowski got out front on lap 10. Mikey then pushed Brad Keselowski into the lead on lap 11, and he was 2nd.
Mikey led lap 13. He stayed up there for two laps, then dropped back when Hornish Jr's car got hot pushing him. They had been running a couple seconds ahead of everyone else. Matt Kenseth led lap 15. Meanwhile, Mikey ran up against the wall further back in the pack. He was 11th on lap 16. On lap 18, he was 7th, and he was 3rd two laps after that. He then went to 8th and to 13th in the two laps that followed. Jeff Burton moved into the lead with Kenseth pushing. Kenseth and Burton switched off again so that Kenselt led lap 25.
Mikey led lap 31, then dropped back to 22nd by lap 33 as Keselowski led.
"Got the 5 out the front there on us," his spotter Dave said. "Got two more cars to your outside here - the 71 and the 77 in outside lanes. Here comes the 71. Got the 16 way up here. 33 jumped way out here on the bottom, and now he's backing up to us," Mikey's spotter said. "Still five out the front here, Mike. How many laps there, Bobby, you think?"
"Four more, four more. We're pitting with our teammates," said crew chief Bobby Kennedy.
"Are we going to get two or four?" Mikey asked.
"Two. We're going to hit pit road on 39 there, David. 39."
"10-4," said the spotter. "39 on pit road."
"Just watch your teammate there. That's our plan."
"Okay, 10-4 then." Martin had been pushing, but the spotter said that Martin was now to his outside. "Lined up here now. About four more cars here. Still stay in our lane. Two more cars. Yellow car outside. Red car. Clear right there."
Some cars chose to stop on lap 38. Bowyer led.
"Couple more here, Mike. Couple more. Got a group of four cars. You see them there. There's four of them." The spotter said they'd be pitting on lap 39 the next time around. "Okay, those guys are pitting there. All right, bud."
Bobby said again that they'd be pitting with their teammates.
"One more time here, bud."
"Pit next time. Just check your brakes before you come in. Don't slid them. Two tires. Full of fuel."
"All right, bud, we're going to pit this time. We're the fourth stall in, so make sure you get whoaed down there."
Bobby again reminded Mikey not to slide his tires and said not to go until he said it.
"All right, bud, 46 right here. Ten away, Bobby."
"All right, you've got 5, 4, 3, 2. Wheels straight, put on the brakes. Don't slid 'em. Come on. Come on! Fuel the... Go go go."
His spotter reminded him of pit road speed.
"When you tell me to go on you, you..." Mikey faded out.
His spotter guided him to stay below the yellow line all the way off Turn 2, and he led him back on track.
Martin was first on lap 42. David led lap 43 with Marcos Ambrose pushing. Mikey was 27th. His spotter noted that should be "all the pitters." "All right, y'all are busting away from those other three. You'll be fine there, Michael. You broke away." He noted who was ten up and who was five up from him.
"Keep an eye on your temps." Bobby told Mikey to get air on his nose when he needed it.
"78 and 13 there. Okay. Yeah, we're all good on our pack there. You see them right there. 00 and 47 are one and two on the top line, first and second. We're about ten or fifteen from the pack. Six of them straggling around on the bottom. About five from the 33 and 9. Still on your bumper there. Still got two off the 42 up there. The middle lane is kind of forming up there. All right, still on our outside there, bud. Clear low. Still two outside the front of the 42. The 42 says thank you. Got the 29 still lined up on the top."
Jamie McMurray led lap 48. Mark Martin was in the top spot the next time around the track.
"Sorry, I should have helped you there a little bit. Just you here. Two outside. Ten back is two by two there, Mike. It's just the 2 up at the top. Two back on the 78 following us here. The 56 is two back. 56. Behind the 56 if you need it. Behind the 56. Still all clear on the 16. All clear. That 16 two back there. Everybody lined up on the top behind us. Going to be more cars on the bottom lane. Still three cars out the front, eight out the back door."
Hornish led lap 51, and Martin led lap 52. The spotter noted that Martin dropped back and was now pushing Mikey along with Kevin Harvick.
Denny Hamlin led lap 53.
"We've got three helping us. They've inched off. Still three below us. Two below us. Still outside. Still way down low. 12 is lined up behind us there. 12 is following, 12's following. Here we come. 12's pushing you. 12 inside, inside 12. You're in the middle, you're in the middle. Last car in the middle. Still in the middle. Clear high if you want it. There you go. 00 and the 11 car. Still coming back inside. We'll be fine. That inside lane is coming here. You're bumper to bumper behind the 00. Mike, we don't have any help right now. Still two below us here. Got the 47 leading our lane. We've got two below us. Bumper to bumper all the way to the 47, leader of our lane. You and the 00, the 00 is in the middle here. Just you and him. The 13 is going to try to follow us."
"Needs a tear-off," Mikey said.
Bobby said they'd have to come twelve early, because they didn't get in enough fuel. They were planning to pit with Tony Stewart's #14 as he was out of sequence.
"Lot of racing. No big deal."
Bobby said he figured he'd go ahead and send him for that reason. Ron noted they'd pit on lap 65. Bobby sent Ron to go tell Stewart's team.
Mikey was 21st on lap 56.
"Where is the 14?" he asked.
"It's just you there, Michael," the spotter said, then he noted who was directly behind him.
Earnhardt Jr led lap 56. Mikey was 25th. Two laps later, he was 23rd. The spotter noted that the #56 and #00 were shuffled out and running the top line. Meanwhile, Bobby was asking the spotter to get with the #14 spotter. "Just tell us when to pit. We're ready."
"We're about four away. It's getting kind of crazy out front. Keep your eyes open," said the spotter.
"It'll be four tires, guys, when we do it," Bobby said.
McMurray led lap 63.
"I'll let you call it, David. We'll be ready."
"All right, bud. We're going to pit this time. The 14's coming. All right, bud. We're going to pit this time."
"14. 11's coming high."
Bobby led Mikey to his box and told him to go on the track.
"A tearoff?" Mikey asked.
"10-4. The jackman... Go go go."
"I can't frickin' see!" Mikey exclaimed.
"Watch your speed here."
"I asked for a tear-off."
"Yeah, he tried to get it. He couldn't get it. He tried."
The spotter led him back on track. Mikey was now a lap down in 37th.
David took the lead on lap 68. One lap later, AJ Almendinger spun, drawing the first caution.
"Got one low here... stay high, stay here. Still no caution yet. Just you and the 5. Caution's out now."
Bobby said they'd stay out and would get the wave-around back onto the lead lap. The spotter noted that Mikey looked like he was getting pushed good.
"Yeah, everything's really good," Mikey said.
The spotter said it was one to go.
"When do I go?" Mikey asked, wanting to know when he'd get waved around.
The spotter let him know and said the officials "get bent out of shape" if you go too early. Bobby said it looked like Mikey would line up behind the #12 of Keselowski.
"Y'all need to stop talking where you get all nonchalant," Mikey complained.
Racing resumed on lap 74 with Kenseth leading. Mikey was 31st, David 4th, and Martin 8th. David pushed Kyle Busch into the lead on lap 75. Stewart was pushing the #55.
"I can't see shit!" Mikey complained.
"10-4. The 14's with you. The 14 is pushing you. Clear high."
"Ask the 11 if he needs anything."
"Okay, I'll get to him."
Meanwhile, David led lap 77 with Busch's #18 pushing.
"I think I've got a right front shock off or something. It's moving all over. It's done that all day. See if y'all see anything," Mikey reported.
"Okay, 10-4," Bobby acknowledged.
"The 14's still committed to us," the spotter said.
Kyle Busch was back in the lead for lap 78 until Kasey Kahne took the lead one lap later. The #14 dropped off Mikey's rear fender.
"All right, the 11's kind of lost it. He's looking for some help here. He's back in the tri-oval. I'll get with the 14 to see if it's doable."
"He's way back," Bobby replied. "Junk."
The spotter noted that the #11 was just off turn 2 and the #14 was with them.
On lap 81, Earnhardt Jr led. Mikey was 31st.
"If they wreck, I'll just run right into them, because I can't see right past my frickin' nose," Mikey complained.
The spotter said he'd lost his help by quite a bit so do whatever he wanted.
"I've lost a valve."
"Mike, he's over into 3. It's too much to take." Hamlin had lost the draft by quite a bit.
Mikey was running with Chad McCumbee's #71, still in 31st.
"The 71's pit crew is hopping up on the wall. They may have a problem," Bobby observed.
Martin led three laps around 85. Mikey was at the tail end of the draft in 30th.
"Mike, 99 to go at the line here. 99 to go," said the spotter.
Hamlin was thirty seconds behind Mikey, and the commentators criticised him for not dropping back to help.
Montoya led lap 92. Mikey was 30th, David 9th, and Martin 13th.
"How long before we pit?" Mikey asked.
"Twenty laps. Twenty laps before we pit," Bobby replied.
On lap 93, Earnhardt Jr led. Bobby said they'd pit around lap 111.
"Is the 71 catching me?" Mikey asked.
"Yeah, slowly here, Mike, slowly," the spotter replied. He told him that McCumbee had paper on the grill and was going to use his car to get it off.
"We'll pit in five more laps," Bobby said.
"I don't guess he could get to me or something," it sounded like Mikey said.
David led lap 105, but Harvick took it from him one lap later.
"They're over in 3, bud," the spotter noted. Montoya led with 82 laps to go.
Mikey wanted to pit so that he would come back in the middle of the draft. He and the #71 were planning to make stops together.
Mikey asked if he were pitting this time.
"Give me one more. One more full one. Then we'll come," Bobby replied. The spotter led him around.
"All right, next time, next time. Just keep your eye on that pack there. They can get pretty racy." Bobby called for two right side tires.
"Clean my windshield, please," Mikey requested.
"Yes, sir. I've got you. Straight in, straight out."
"Ten away, Bobby."
"4600, 4600. There you go. There you go. 4, 3, 2, 1. Two tires. Go go go go go go go. 4600 all the way out."
The spotter warned Mikey to watch his speed. More cars were making stops.
Martin and David pit together with 74 laps to go. David got right side tires only.
David led with 72 laps to go after stops had cycled. Mikey was 31st and lapped. Bobby told Mikey who they were racing for the free pass as cars passed David for the lead.
Aric Almirola led lap 118. Mikey was 32nd and lapped. Three laps later, he was 33rd as Ambrose led. By lap 132, Mikey was 34th.
"Nice job there, M-Dub."
"Thank you. I do better when I can see. My windshield's good. Everything is fine. Wave around. Wave around, and then can we make it to the checkered?"
Bobby said no, they'd need another stop, but so would other people.
The second caution was on lap 133 for Jeff Burton, who had spun out after getting into Earnhardt Jr. Cars pit.
"They're real cool, and then it goes up when I do the deal, but they've been about 180 normal."
"Yeah, staying out here, Mike. Staying out,"
Mikey later suggested a gas and go. "Think about it."
"10-4," Bobby replied.
The spotter noted that Stewart was looking to pit too and they could come in together.
Racing resumed with 51 laps to go. David took the lead one lap into the run with Joey Logano's #20 pushing. Mikey was 31st at the tail end of the lead lap. David was dropped out with 49 to go, and Logao took the top spot.
"Got a spin. Go high go high go high, you see it. Good job. Caution's out, caution's out."
The third caution was with 48 laps to go. Clint Bowyer had turned Marcos Ambrose when the field was four-wide. Hamlin received the free pass.
"I think I hit something," Mikey said.
Ron said they'd pit and would get the car full of gas. Bobby told the spotter to see if he saw anything. He noted something on the right side of the splitter.
"I hit it with the splitter, whatever it was. It went under the car. I don't know if it's anything that matters."
Bobby told the crew to have a brace ready. He also said they'd have to go around Kenseth who will be in his box when the #55 comes to pit road.
"Four tires, tear-off," Bobby instructed. He called for one and one in the rear.
"Bobby, it looks fine from the centre to the right," the spotter noted.
Cars pit under yellow.
"Okay, four tires, guys. 4600, 4600," Bobby said. "One in each rear, one in each rear."
"Ten here, Bobby. Watch the 17."
"Stop him long, stop him long. Go straight. All right, go go go. 4600, 4600. All clear there, Auto?"
"Yeah, 10-4. Everything looks good."
Bobby told the crew to be ready to top off the tank.
"I'd rather lay back for a while. They're going to keep crashing. So I can save gas for a little bit."
"Okay. How much longer are we going to be, Dave?"
The spotter said they probably had time to pit again. Bobby told them to be ready again so they could stop and have a cushion.
The #55 went back to pit road to top off fuel.
"Watch your speed here, bud. Nothing to gain here," warned the spotter. "We'll take the flag next time by here. It will be 43 to go. Yeah, I agree. It's not over yet."
Mikey said he'd gain track position when they crash again.
"Just keep yourself tight. Don't lose them," Bobby said. He talked about others "wadding it up."
Logano led the restart with 43 laps to go. Martin was 4th, David 15th, and Mikey 28th. With 42 to go, Martin led. Logano was back out front one lap later. Mikey was 31st.
"I don't think the 11 has a problem. I think he has the same plan as we do. So it's all good," the spotter said.
"Tell the 11 I'm here for him. Whatever he needs, I'll be here for a while," Mikey said.
With 39 to go, Montoya pushed Martin into the lead.
The fourth caution was with 37 laps to go for debris. Martin was leading, and Mikey had been 21st.
"Debris centre of the back," the spotter said. Almendinger received the free pass.
"All right, we'll just stay out here, if you don't have any issues. We'll just stay out," Bobby said.
"The 11 is going to pit for fuel," the spotter observed.
Mikey suggested they pit if others in front of them don't and vise versa. Bobby went with this plan and counted the #55 to the box.
"The 11 says thank you, and the 42 has been looking for you for a long time, but he's p2," the spotter said.
Mikey said he was content "just farting around for now" but was looking to hook up with the #11 later on to "go ahead and win it."
After a pause, the spotter said, "10-4. He said thank you."
Martin was 1st, David 10th, and Mikey 19th. Racing resumed with 33 laps to go. Shortly into the run, the #11 got ahead with the #18 pushing. Mikey had the #39 pushing.
"Juan's going to blow a tire," Mikey reported. He was 29th.
With 30 to go, Hamlin took the lead with Kyle Busch pushing. Busch dropped to the inside and took the lead with 29 to go. Mikey was 30th, behind Almendinger's #43. His spotter was talking about speaking with Greg Biffle in order for them to work together.
"Mike, the first nine broke out, then the #00 leading fifteen," the spotter observed.
"26 to go, 26," Bobby said.
The spotter warned that the #1 was slow but there was no caution. "Still got the 16 78 pushing us. We've lost the rest of them. Still half out the front. Still half out the front here. Got the 7 and 42 leading this pack here. Still one out. Still half out on the front. Still one out there. Half out, half half. 16 following you. 16 pushing the 24. All we've got the 78. He's with the 16 and 24. We're all clear, bud. 16 is going to push the 24. We've got a run here. Clear clear when you see the 16. It's just him. Talking about debris there somewhere. Half out the front there. There you go. Still one out the front. 43 following us. Half out the front. Still one out there. Got two cars hooked up. Three. Oh. Still one out on the front here, still one out. Still one out there. Still one out. 43 with us here. Still one out. One out. One out to the 7. 48's leading the 7 up here. Still one out."
"30 to go, 30 to go. 20. My bad. 20," Bobby said.
"16 and 24 didn't go much, so you'll see them in the corner here. Two back to the 43." The spotter noted that Robby Gordon was now pushing Jeff Gordon. "Two out there now, two. It will be one around the corner and a half here. Yup. Everybody's top out here. Two out there. One out. Half out, half out, half out. Half. The 5 is running low here. He's back three cars here. Still one out on the front. Inside 5. Just the 5 and the 9. Still one out the front. Still one out. Still one out there. Nobody's made the bottom work there, Mike. Still one out. 7 is four back to that 16 48 24. Still one there, 18 to go there at the line. Still one out there. Half. Still half out. The 7's four back to the 16. Still half out, still half out. 88 34's low. 09 kind of went down there. Still half up there. 47's leading the top here. We're all good. Got the 09 now. Still one up up front, a lot tighter now. Still one up."
"15 to go, 15. 47's leading this group here. He looks like he may be holding them up a bit," Bobby noted.
The spotter agreed. "All clear there. Two out the front. Still two, still two. Still one out the front. Now there's three out the front of the 7. Couple more cars flew down to the bottom." The spotter noted the #5 was down low. "38 is leading the top lane, still one up. Half up. Go where you want. Okay, half out. Half out here. Still one up. Still one there. Do what you can here. Still one up on front."
With 13 to go, Biffle pushed Paul Menard into the lead. One lap later, Jeff Gordon took the lead with Jimmie Johnson pushing. Mikey had Almendinger pushing him. Gordon dropped down and reported that he was blowing up. Johnson took the lead. Mikey was in the middle with the #6 leading his lane. He was 22nd.
With 10 to go, Bowyer took the lead.
"Ten to go," Bobby said.
With 9 to go, Mikey was pushing Sam Hornish Jr down the middle line. He gave the #77 a big bump. Martin was right behind the #55.
"Clear low. 56 is not. Got the 56 and 29 helping us here. It's four back to the 56. It's all you, bud. Clear three back to the 56. Five back on the 56, pulling away. Caution's out. Debris. Debris debris. Three and four."
The fifth caution was with 8 to go.
"Darn," Mikey said.
"Nice move, bro," somebody said on the radio. It sounded like Bobby.
"I was fifth from what I could count."
Bowyer was leading. Mikey was 6th, Martin 9th, and David 15th.
"All right, you're in front of the 98," Bobby said.
His spotter warned him that the #14 - the lucky dog - was just off Turn 4.
"It will be four to go when you get the green. Four to go."
"Yeah, P6." He told Mikey the #48 is leading their lane. He also said the #77 was with them, "so have at it."
"Who's behind me?"
"That would be the 16 and the 2 in our lane and then the 98 and the 20 on the bottom."
Bowyer led the restart with 4 laps to go. Mikey was 6th.
"These guys are like drivers up here. They're all coming to me. I think we'll win this race. Coming to the green. Leader is on the inside here. Let's get ready here. Let's get ready here, and he is rolling rolling rolling. Good start, good strart. 16 in your mirror. Still two by two here. You're in the middle. 19's pushing. 19's pushing."
Mikey was pushing David.
"Still one out the front, bumper tag in front of him. Two back on the 19. Bumper tag in front of the 0 there. and clear high. Still one out. 19 is comitted to us. Bumper bumper bumper. 29 00. Theyr'e fishing to the inside. You see it. Clear high. Three wide, eight and back. Still three wide. 56 is on the bottom. Bottom and middle holding their own. 56 with a push from the 20. Pushing good."
"Two to go, two to go."
"Still two above us. No help yet. 43 pushing. Two above us. 43's trying here, trying to push us. Bumper bumpers bumpers outside outside keep digging keep digging. Keep rolling, bud. You've got right front damage here."
"Stay after it. That's white flag."
"White and the caution here. Stay on the race track when you get on into 1. Checkered here. Checkered. Stay on the track if you can. There's some safety trucks on the bottom."
"I don't know what happened. Somebody hit me."
"Somebody got into our right rear. I thought we had it straightened up here. I got shuffled out there. But everybody did a good job," Mikey said.
There was a dispute as to whether Bowyer or Harvick won. Meanwhile, the spotter warned Mikey that there was a car down low that was on fire. Bowyer did burnouts while Harvick sat back on track and watched.
"Thanks, Mike. Good finish."
Mikey said the last start didn't go well. He said Biffle took it three-wide. "Martin decided not to push me."
"Yeah, I noticed that. That wasn't very nice."
The spotter said that was probably why nobody was talking to him.
Bobby said their teammates finished 3rd and 6th. "Not a good day for us but a good day for our company."
Bowyer won, David was 4th, Martin was 6th, and Mikey was 28th. Mikey had been in the front group when a multi-car wreck broke out where Almendinger flipped and the #55 sustained right front damage.