All Three MWR Camries Will Race In The Daytona 500 by Kellyanne Lynch
15 February 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing's three Toyota Camries will race in Sunday's Daytona 500. Team owner Michael Waltrip raced his #55 Napa machine into the field by earning the first transfer spot from the first Gatorade Duel 150. Boris Said earned the second transfer spot, which allowed David Reutimann's #00 into the field with his qualifying time. As a past champion, Dale Jarrett has earned the last position in the field for his #44.
Mikey was slated to start 13th in this qualifying race. Due to the confiscation of his primary car, he had to start his back-up Camry at the rear of the field. His driver Dale Jarrett started 26th.
The command to start engines came at 2:07pm ET.
"1, 2. Hello?" Mikey came on the radio moments later.
"Got a copy, Mike?" asked crew chief Scott Eggleston.
"Yeah, you all hear me?"
Mikey addressed his spotter.
The spotter replied, "Loud and clear, sir."
"All right, Mike. The front of the field is just now moving," the spotter, Mark, said. "I'll give you a count down on your pit stall in a little bit, Mike. Maybe that will help you just a little bit.
"All right, you're ten away. Five away."
"Who's in front of us and behind me, Mark?" Mikey asked.
"We've got the 07 behind us. We've got an open spot in front of us - the 00. We've got the 4 in front of that."
"Okay, Michael. Pit road speed right there," Scott said.
"I'm showing 43."
"Well, actually, no. I'm not either. I'm showing 41."
"10-4. Uh, 41."
"Hey, Scott," the spotter addressed the crew chief. "Scott? This is Mark."
"I'll get him in and get him stopped, and I'll let you get him out, and I'll catch him at the end."
"I have Blaney behind me," Mikey reported a moment later.
"Yeah, 10-4," Mark acknowledged.
"Does he belong behind me?"
"Let me find out," Mark replied. "I'm checking on it, Mike. Hold on."
"Slow there, Mike. They're a little confused there too. Yeah, just got it. 22 behind us. We're good. All right, we need to go to the inside behind the 49. The 58 goes in front of you. There you go.
"All right, one to go this time. One to go."
"Mark, don't worry about me, just worry about the track up ahead," Mikey told his spotter. "Let me know if they're going to stay straight or not."
Mark asked if Mikey wanted to know about the cars beside him.
Mikey said no; he just wanted to know what was happening out front. "Once you say they're stabilised, then I'll want to know that."
"All right, Mike," Scott said. "Tighten your belts for me. We can do it."
"Okay, they want the 22 in front of us now," Mark added after a minute. "They're confused about their line-up. The 22 car, Michael, is probably not a bad guy to hang with."
Mikey asked Mark to speak louder.
The race began at 2:19pm.
"All right, pace car's off. Ready? Green green green."
The field remained single-file throughout much of the first lap but broke three-wide on the backstretch. Mikey jumped up to 25th. David Ragan led the first lap, taking the lead from pole sitter David Gilliland. Mark cleared Mikey all around as he moved into 21st.
"Three-wide, you're in the middle. Clear high if you need it, clear high if you need it. Clear low if you need it. Clear all around. Clear high."
By lap 4, Mikey was up to 12th as Ragan lost the top spot to Gilliland.
"Three-wide. You're on the outside. Still three-wide. Still three-wide. Two-wide, still inside. Three-wide, you're on the outside. Four outside. Clear behind the 4, still inside."
Hung in the middle, Mikey got moved back to 20th by lap 6.
"Three-wide. You're on the outside. Still three-wide. Clear behind the 43. There you go. Clear all around.
"Three-wide. Clear behind that 41. Still one inside."
Mikey was 15th by lap 7. He was three-wide with help from Reed Sorenson's #41. He was cleared all around as he moved up to 12th.
"The 48's stuck in the middle here, two in front of you," Mark warned. "Still got one inside.
The yellow flag waved for the first time on lap 9. Stanton Barrett was three-wide and came down into Jeremy Mayfield. Mayfield's #39 slid into Bobby Labonte's #43.
"What do you got there, Mike?" Scott asked.
"The front is handling fine. If we need four tires or just gas, I don't care, if the gas gets us to the end."
"We've got to go about ten more laps before we can make it the rest of the say."
"We should be ahead of the 49," Mikey said. He was 11th, and Dale was 21st.
"Okay, we can't make it from here, so we're just going to stay out," Scott decided.
"Scott, are we going to stay the same, regardless of what the leaders do?" Mark asked.
"We can't make it from here, so there's no reason to come in."
"They're all coming, looks like, Scott," Mark noted. Mikey picked up the lead after staying on the track.
"Tell me what they all do, Mark," Mikey requested.
"Some guys took two, some guys took four."
"Anybody just get gas?" Mikey asked.
"No, I didn't see anybody."
"All tires, Michael," Scott confirmed.
"Let me run this by you now, Scott," Mark interjected. "If everybody's getting tires now, they're just going to get a splash later."
Scott said they wouldn't see a difference if they took two tires and gas.
"Just a suggestion."
"There's probably going to be another caution, the way they're doing in the back," Scott predicted.
"Everybody's got to stop for gas, and we just might to get fuel too."
James Hylton was held a lap for pitting outside his box. Mikey was the only one who'd stayed on the track.
"Yeah, there's just no way we can make it right now on fuel - none," Scott added.
"The 17 and the 20 there are lined up behind you," Mark said. "Green green green."
Racing resumed on lap 14 with Mikey leading. Dale was 24th. Dave Blaney's #22 struggled to keep up with the pack when the race returned to green; he had missed a gear. Meanwhile, Mark told Mikey that everyone was staying single-file.
"Got the 8 and the 20 lined up single-file behind you," Mark said on lap 15. "Everybody's staying single-file, six back."
"8 car just outside," Mark directed. "All of them lined up outside. Have a little hole behind the 8, after the 20. Caution's out, caution's out."
Mikey spun Dale Earnhardt Jr, drawing the second caution on lap 16.
"I hit the right front into Dale Jr," Mikey told his team. "I don't know how much damage, Mark, but we do need to pit. I just came off there, came into a wicked push and hit him."
Mark said Mikey had a little smoke so take care of it.
Scott called for four tires and told the crew to clear the right front.
Mark reported the damage he saw on the car. "Scott, if you're looking at the right front wheel, about two o'clock to three o'clock looks like it's pushed in a little bit."
"10-4. We saw it on TV," Scott replied. He said they'd work on the lefts then the rights. "Make sure it's full."
"Don't change nothing, just fix it," Mikey said. "Make sure nothing's falling out the back. I got hit there too."
"10-4. While we're checking out the front, check the back," Scott told the team.
"10 to go. Five, four, three," Mark guided Mikey into his box.
"Pace car, Mark," Mikey asked.
"Off of two, we've got plenty of time."
"Don't do too much to it," Mikey said. He added that he just didn't want a rub.
"Still got plenty of time. Let's get it fixed now," Mark informed. "Pace car in the middle of three and four."
"Make sure it's good here guys. It's good? Okay, go. Go go go."
"Is the back okay? Everyone look at the back. Is the back good?" Scott then said he wanted to come in and top off before going back to green. With one lap to go until the restart, they pit to top off the #55. "Check that right front when we come in to top off."
"Make sure we're well under the pit road speed, brother," Mark said.
"Where's the pace car, Mark?" Mikey asked.
"In one and two. We're good." Mark added they had to be quick now and not give up any time. Scott called for just gas.
"All right. Go go go go go."
"41, 41. The tail of the field is just off of two," the spotter stated.
Racing resumed with fourty laps to go. Tony Stewart led with Mikey in 29th. Dale was 28th, and Earnhardt Jr was one lap down. When Mikey hit his car, Earnhardt Jr had said, "He turned me. That's weird."
The third caution came out on lap 23. Robby Gordon cut in front of AJ Almendinger and spun himself. Mikey was 19th, and Dale was 17th; they were nose to tail.
Mark guided his driver through the scene. "Spin in front of you. Hold your line. Go low, go low. Caution's out."
"You didn't see any smoke, did you, Mark?" Scott asked.
"Not a bit."
"What's your temperatures right now, Mike?"
"Well, they're not real good," Mikey replied. "They're about 180 each."
Scott decided to stay out. Earnhardt Jr, who received the free pass, made a stop.
"Okay, it will be one to go this time, one to go," Mark announced.
Scott added, "Michael, it will be 33 laps to go when we get the green."
"Pace car is off. Ready? Green green green."
Stewart led the lap 28 restart. Mikey was 17th, and Dale was 27th. The #55 was still 17th when the Richard Childress Racing #07 of Clint Bowyer and the #31 of Jeff Burton lined up with Mikey. He moved up to 15th and was told the #07 and #31 were still with him.
Bowyer's #07 broke out from behind the #55 and passed him along the outside on lap 33. Mikey was back to 16th. "Got the 31 car four back," Mark added. Mikey had just passed David Ragan when Jeff Burton dropped him and passed him. Ward Burton went around him next.
"31 still out there, the 4 outside," his spotter said. "Still got the 4 on your quarter panel. Clear behind the 4 if you need it."
Mikey was 17th on lap 36.
"Two-wide. Still inside. Got that 30 car two in front of you. Might not be a good place to get in the bottom. Still inside, sitll inside," Mark advised.
Mikey cut back in front of Jeff Burton and was cleared low and all around. He was up to 13th on lap 37.
"Still got the 31 car behind you. Clear all around," Mark continued. "31 still with you. Car there in front of you is the last transfer spot - 60 car."
"He's already in," Mikey replied. He passed him and moved into the 10th spot on lap 40.
"Clear all around, still got the 31 with you," said Mark. The Childress cars passed Mikey, moving him back to 12th.
"Four tires, no adjustments," Mikey requested. "Yeah, I think I need four tires and no adjustments."
Scott went with it.
"I'm a little bit loose, but I don't want an adjustment," Mikey informed his team. "Put a splash in it in case we get a green and white checkered."
"Mark, I need correct information. The 60 is in," Mikey said. "I'm worried about me right now, and if there's anyone in front of me who's not locked, tell me."
He was told he's the first one in right now. Mark apologised for the information earlier.
"None of my temperatures are over 180. Hasn't been all day," Mikey noted. He wanted tape on the nose.
"41 at the line, 41," Mark directed. "Michael, that 07 is right behind us. We're going to have to go around him."
Mikey was led to his box for a four tire stop.
"Just for the sake of clarification, the top two cars get in and they go to speed," Scott informed his driver. "I think we still need to finish second to be in the top two."
"Yeah, I forgot about that," Mikey replied.
"We're all good. Good job on the pit stops, guys."
"If I remember, Jarrett doesn't need to race his way in," Mikey noted, saying that Bill Elliott would then get the provisional. "If Jarrett races his way in, it doesn't do anything for Reutimann."
Mikey was warned that the #58 of Hylton didn't pit.
Racing resumed on lap 44. Jeff Burton led, and Mikey was 14th. Jarrett was 20th.
"Got the 41 and the 60 lined up behind you," Mark told his driver.
With 15 to go, the yellow flag returned for David Ragan spinning independently. He was trying to catch up with the field after receiving the free pass.
"Caution's out, caution's out. Got a spin on the back straightaway. Watch the middle, watch the middle," Mark said.
"Okay, we're staying out, bud."
"Coming to the one to go this time," Mark noted.
"Roger," was Mikey's reply.
"It's going to be twelve laps to go when you get the green."
"Okay, if you see Schrader's guy, tell him I'm right here. I might need him to help me," Mikey said. "I know you don't know who Reed's guy is, but I wish he'd follow me."
"Michael, I just talked with his spotter, and he said he's going to run the top if that's what you're going to do. If you can trust him..." Mark trailed off.
"Calling it off, Michael. Calling it off," Mark noted of the restart. "All right, Michael. We are coming to the green, coming to the green."
"All right, eleven to go, here," Scott said. He noted where people were who he needed to pass.
Racing resumed with eleven laps to go and Jeff Burton leading.
"Everybody's single-file," Mark stated. "41 one back, three back to the 60. 41 right on the bottom, lined up with you. Everybody's single-file right now. 41 looking high, right there."
At the front of the field, Stewart looked for the lead. Behind Mikey, the #41 lost its engine. The yellow flag waved with 9 laps to go.
"Caution's out, caution's out. Got a blown motor behind you," Mark said. Mikey was in 13th. "One to go this time. One to go. It will be six laps to go when you get the green."
Scott told Mikey that the #58 and #70 were in front of him and the #60 behind him, all looking for the spot.
With six laps to go, racing continued. Stewart led. Hylton fell out of the draft, and Mikey passed him. He went on to pass Sauter and went three-wide with Jimmie Johnson and Ken Schrader.
"Three-wide, you're on the bottom," his spotter kept saying. "Clear high, clear high. Clear all around. Good good. Still outside, the 60 still with you. We're the first transfer."
With three laps to go, the yellow flag waved again after Ward Burton spun.
"Got a spin right behind us. No caution. Caution's out, caution's out," Mark noted.
"Nice work. We'll probably have a green white checkered here," Scott said.
"We're lining up behind the 25," Mark told his driver. "Mikey, we're talking to Schrader's guy. He said he'll follow us up there."
Mikey expressed his worry that Said could put him out of the race. He was in 9th.
"All right, one to go when you get back here, bud. One to go. Green white checkered," Scott said.
"Michael, Schrader says he'll stay with us unless we go screaming to the front."
Mikey said he wouldn't do anything nutty but that he can't stay conservative.
Racing resumed with a green white checkered. Stewart led. Everyone stayed single-file, and Schrader hung with Mikey.
"Everyone's still single-file. Clear by one, back to the 21. Everybody's still single-file. You're good right there. 25 car still outside, still outside. No pressure from any cars. Just hold what you got. Checkered flag right there. Awesome job, right there."
"Great job, Mikey. All three of your cars will be in the Daytona 500."
After a long pause, Mark asked, "Mike, you all right?"
"Yeah. Mark, you're a great spotter."
"Good job, today. That was a lot of pressure. Good job today."
"Not really sure, Scott. Are they going to stop us in another place than everyone else?"
Mikey told his team about the car. "The water temperature was 180 the whole race, so we got to come up with a better set-up than this on Sunday to have a shot at this."
Scott said it blew off during the race.
Dale waved and clapped with his driver. Because Said finished second of the drivers who had to race their way in, David is in the 500 too.
"Yeah, I'm about to cry myself," Scott said.
"It's like the volcano's erupted, and everything's good," Mark stated.
The command to start engines for the second Gatorade 150 came at 4:19pm ET. David was told when to put on his fan. "In other words, run four or five laps without the fan on the right front," crew chief Frank Kerr said.
"Check check, radio check," the spotter said.
"Hey, if I'm not at the pit stall in time for the start, get that sign awaving for him here," a crew member said.
"All right, D-Reuit, it's going to be third time by," the spotter told him.
"Everybody's rolling. All right, start looki
"Yeah, we're going to need a bigger pit sign than that," David told his team the pit sign was tough to see.
"You got me, Frankie?" the spotter asked. He said how far he'd spot David to his box.
"Is that the sign you had out there? That one right there?" Frank asked. "All right, pit road speed right there. Let's get a good reading."
"I'm seeing 4100. 4100 and second," David reported.
"4100 and second. We got it," Frank replied. "All right, guys, just wanted to say great job all week. Good luck out there, Dave. I'd like to say welcome to the Domino's people who have been here all week."
"All right, D-Reuit, next time by, buddy," his spotter said.
"23 fell to the back. Got the 26 right behind you," Frank reported. "Pull those belts tight one more time."
"All right, buddy, coming to the green. Good clean start here. Pace car's off. Be ready," the spotter guided his driver to the stripe. "Green green green."
The race started at 4:30pm ET. David's spotter warned him that cars were outside. The #00 went three-wide with David in the middle. He was 28th throughout the first lap, as David Stremme took the lead from pole sitter Ricky Rudd. He fell to the back of the pack. Lap 3 saw him pass Eric McClure, but McClure's #04 repassed the #00.
"What kind of springs do you got on this thing? It freakin' hits every time on the straightaways?" David asked on lap 5. He said they were getting killed on the straightaways. At the front of the field, Juan Pablo Montoya took the lead.
David passed Elliott Sadler for 29th on lap 7. One circuit later, he got around Frank Kimmel for 28th. Within the next two laps, he advanced to 25th. Kevin Lepage's #39 looked to repass the #00. Lap 14 saw him go three-wide along the bottom groove with no help. He fell to 28th and ultimately to last, but he immediately retook 29th from McClure.
"How's your race car, Dave? Starting to give up?"
David said he was really loose. "The worst thing is the friggin' thing getting on the chip every time."
Frank asked if he'd switched to box B, and the spotter relayed the message. David said he hadn't.
"Clear all around. Clear by one."
David got back to 28th by passing Kirk Shelmerdine. He lost the spot again by lap 19. "Inside. Still there. Got the #04 coming to give you a push. #04 inside, inside. Still there. You're clear low."
"It's so freaking loose right now, I just can't do anything with it," David reported.
"Loose on entry, loose on centre. It's just loose everywhere," added the driver. "It's not so bad on the bottom. The top's just real bad."
"Is the motor any better, Dave?"
"Yeah. We just shouldn't be back there, you know?"
"That's all right, bud. We're just trying to learn about the car for Sunday."
"It's just... you can't manuever with it at all," David complained.
Frank called for two rounds in the left rear and said green flag stops were coming soon. They pit on lap 24, while Montoya smoked on the track.
"Caution's out, caution's out. 4100 and second."
The first yellow flag waved on lap 25 for Juan Pablo Montoya's smoking #42. The #00 waited for NASCAR to confirm their position, as David was coming off pit road when the caution came out.
"They're checking on it right now, David. Stay out here. Wait for them to tell us to go around."
Everyone else pit, and Kevin Harvick's #29 stalled on pit road.
"All right, David, go around the pace car. Do you want to stay out or come in?"
"We'll be at the tail end of the longest line anyway," David replied.
"No, we pit during green. We're leading." The spotter and the crew chief discussed what they thought NASCAR wanted them to do. Frank wanted to check the changes first.
"We're just looking to get run over if we stay up here," David said. The team decided to go a few laps and drop to the back.
When asked if the car struggled with box B, David said he couldn't tell. "I wasn't with a fast group. I was just back here messing around with these guys."
"Frank, it stayed loose the whole time. It just didn't get better."
"All right, bud. We'll just work on it," Frank said they'd work on it today and tomorrow and get it ready for the race.
"They want us to move up behind the caution car," the spotter said, but Frank told David to stay in the back. He led a couple laps before he did.
Kyle Busch led the lap 28 restart. David was 28th, the last driver still on the track. Montoya and Harvick were out of the race. "Clear all around. Just you and the #27. You're catching the #04."
"They're just driving away from me, dude!" David exclaimed.
Frank said they were going to put in a real motor for the race. He gained a spot on lap 32 when Mike Skinner's #23 slid to the rear of the field.
"I mean, that's as wide open as it will go, dude. They're driving away from me," David told his team.
Frank decided to bring the car in so they don't blow up the engine.
"It's just flat. It won't turn or nothing. I mean, you fixed the handling all right, but this is it," David explained.
"Frankie, you want to go behind the wall or to the pit stall?" asked the spotter.
"No, we'll just take it home."
"Let's just stop right there, make sure NASCAR doesn't want to check anything," Frank said.
"Frank, remember to give the reason - it's electrical."
The crew chief explained that David was losing a lot on the straightaways.
"Something's not right somewhere. It's not tight - it's free. It just won't go there."
"It's all right. You get a new motor, new transmission for the race. It's not a big deal," Frank assured his driver.
David was out of the race after 38 laps and ultimately finished 28th. The team thought the problem was probably electrical, as the car ran fine yesterday.
Watch Michael Waltrip Racing in action in the Daytona 500! Coverage starts at 2:00pm ET on FOX.