Daytona Qualifying by Kellyanne Lynch
11 February 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing participated in qualifying today at Daytona International Speedway, in preparation for next week's Daytona 500. Team owner Michael Waltrip's #55, David Reutimann's #00, and Dale Jarrett's #44 ranked 25th, 15th, and 50th respectively. David Gilliland's #38 took the pole, with teammate Ricky Rudd's #88 second.
Just before time trials began, NASCAR confiscated Mikey's engine. The sanctioning body noted a strange odor from the #55 Napa Camry and found liquid in the intake manifold, even after changing the part. Officials permitted the #55 team to qualify with a new engine. The old parts were taken to Concord, NC, where NASCAR will complete a chemical analysis. At the track, officials impounded the #55 car, and NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said they will go over the car "with a fine-toothed comb". A decision will be announced by Tuesday.
Qualifying took place in considerably windier conditions than were present during practice. Daytona was overcast and cool, with an air temperature of 64 degrees and a track temperature of 83. Winds from the northeast blew at ten to fifteen miles per hour.
Mikey was the first MWR driver and the 44th overall to take to the track. He ran high through his first lap, turning a 49.62-second circuit at 181.25 MPH. His second time around the track, Mikey held the bottom line. He picked up speed and completed a 48.940-second lap at 183.899 MPH. He ranked 20th at the time.
"We were certainly disappointed with the speed of the car," Mikey commented on his two laps. "It was a long morning with the confiscation of the intake manifold, but we got all that squared away just to get to make an effort and have a have chance to be somewhere in the twin 150s. I'm ready to go; I've won them twice so I think I can win it again."
Dale was four drivers behind his car owner. He turned his first lap in fifty seconds even at 180.02 MPH. Although he picked up the next time around the track with a 49.434-second circuit at 182.061 MPH, he ranked 40th.
Taking to the track 59th of 61 drivers was MWR's rookie of the year contender. David completed his best lap in 48.802 seconds at 184.419 MPH. He was 15th.
"To be where we are is pretty impressive," David said after his run. "We have a great group of guys and we just came up a little short. We're going to roll up our sleeves the rest of the week and work hard to get into the 500, that's what we came here to do. We're not giving up by any means, but it would have been nice to do it today."
David Gilliland's #38 took the pole. David was 0.498 seconds behind Gilliland. Mikey was 0.636 seconds off, and Dale trailed by 1.130 seconds. Kasey Kahne's #9 and Matt Kenseth's #17 will have to start at the back of their respective duel races after failing post-qualifying inspection.
Be sure to watch the Gatorade Duel 150's on Thursday, February 15th, at 2:00pm ET on FOX. Mikey and Dale will compete in the first, and David will be in the second.
Daytona 500: Toyota teams qualifying day quotes
Racing series NASCAR-CUP
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Domino's Pizza Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
On his qualifying run: "To be where we are is pretty impressive. We have a great group of guys and we just came up a little short. We're going to roll up our sleeves the rest of the week and work hard to get into the 500, that's what we came here to do. We're not giving up by any means, but it would have been nice to do it today."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
On his qualifying lap: "We were certainly disappointed with the speed of the car. It was a long morning with the confiscation of the intake manifold, but we got all that squared away just to get to make an effort and have a have chance to be somewhere in the twin 150s. I'm ready to go; I've won them twice so I think I can win it again."
On his car overall: "There are Toyotas that are faster than us, so we should have done better. That's really the bottom line. We'd like to perform at the top level and we are a little bit off. Our problem was getting through inspection made us not be able to get our temperatures as hot as we'd like it."
On the intake manifold: "There's nothing wrong with it, we just had an oil problem of some sort. That's not even a factor. We ran a 60 something yesterday and we needed to run a 60 something today, and we didn't, we ran in the 90s."
On the large field trying to race their way into the Daytona 500: "I don't care about the others. All I worry about is me. I'm going to race as hard as I can--that's all I can do."
DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
On choosing this car for the 500: "We decided early on in testing with this car that with the amount of downforce, it felt to me like this was the car we wanted to use for the 500. We knew today wasn't going to be pretty as far as speed for us and that is just a sacrifice you have to make when determining which car to use. I still think I could race my way in on Thursday if it all goes like I think it will with this race car. Basically today was just a day to throw away for us. Our work starts on Wednesday and I think we will be pretty good for Thursday and next Sunday."
On being nervous about their time: We're not nervous because we obviously have a spot. Last night didn't go as well as we would have liked, handling wise, which backed up what we thought would happen because that car is light on downforce and light in the front imparticular. We were hoping we could make it better with some adjustments, but we are feeling pretty good about where we are and we know we will be good in the race."