#55 30th, #44 23rd, and #00 40th in the Daytona 500 by Kellyanne Lynch
18 February 2007
After struggling with a tight #55 Napa Auto Parts Camry and hitting the wall midway through the race, Michael Waltrip finished two laps down in 30th in the Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip Racing driver Dale Jarrett crossed the stripe 23rd in his #44 UPS machine, and David Reutimann's #44 Domino's car was wrecked out of the race on lap 174.
The call to start engines came at 3:20pm ET. The race began in 54 degree weather and a 79-degree track temperature, with winds coming from the northwest up to 25 MPH.
"All right, pace car at the front of the field is just now leaving," the spotter Mark noted.
"Give you a little heads-up from the ten and the five here," the spotter added. "Ten to go right there. Five to go."
"All right, Dave, right here," David Reutimann's crew chief told Mikey.
"Hey, Frankie, you're on my channel," Mikey told him.
"Somebody's radio is messing up. Let's get on top of it. I think I'm showing 41 here, Mark. Is that right?"
Mark said it was.
"Yeah, 41. That will be good. Okay, let's key in on this radio deal, guys," Scott told his crew.
"Mark? You got everything under control for me?" Mikey asked.
"10-4," Scott replied.
"All right. Do me a favour and talk with Scott." Mikey asked him to repeat what Scott says. "That will make it easier."
"All right. 10-4."
"I really, really appreciate all the work to get us here. You guys have been asked to overcome some real tough circumstances than normal around here, and I appreciate it. I will try to make you proud today. Scott, just know I think two tires is an option." He said he hoped they make a good decision with the chassis.
"I agree that sometime we might need to. Just let us know what you need, and we'll give it to you."
"200, 200 on the temperatures right now." "I only have one B blower on right now. Should I run them one at a time or both at once?"
Scott said he can run both but to start with one. "Pull your belts tight. Have a good day."
"Also, I want to say hi to my mama and say I love you and I'm sorry for what I put you through this week," Mikey added. "You just sit there and be proud and know that your son's happy and had people supporting him through this mess. I know you're sitting there in your chair. Be proud."
The race began at 3:30pm ET.
"Okay. Pace car is off," Mark informed his driver. "Ready? Ready? Green green green. Everybody's away. Checking up just a little. Everybody's good. Everybody's two by two.
"Clear by four behind you, to the 25. Clear all around right there, all around."
Pole-sitter David Gilliland led the first lap of the race.
"Inside, inside," Mark said on the second lap. "Three-wide, three-wide. Still three-wide. Still three. Two-wide, two-wide."
Mikey was still 15th on lap 3 as Gilliland continued to lead.
"Still three-wide," Mark noted. "Still three. Two-wide. Two-wide."
Mikey moved up to 14th on lap 2, riding alongside Ryan Newman.
"Two-wide. Got the 13 lined up behind you," Mark continued. "Back to three-wide. No help right now. Still three-wide. Still three-wide. Still three, still three. No help. Still got one inside. Two-wide. One inside."
By lap 7, Mikey was back to 20th. He was cleared all around.
"The 01 a little bit on the outside, not there yet," Mark said the next time around the track. "Got one on the outside, quarter panel. Clear by two, back to the 00."
"The car's good," Mikey noted. After other comments about the car, he said, "You might want to put a pound or two in the right front tire or a pound or two out of the right rear."
"10-4," Scott replied.
"The 8 car's starting to get real tight. Nothing wrong yet. Just watch him," Mikey advised.
By lap 16, Mikey fell back to 40th.
"Got a spin beside you there. Caution is out. Caution is out."
"All right, let's try to go two up on the right rear and two down on the right front." "Get a good look at our tire here and go up on the trackbar a couple rounds."
The first caution came on lap 17 when Boris Said's #60 bounced off David Reutimann's #00 in front of Mikey and spun through the grass. Drivers made stops under yellow, and Kurt Busch's #2 returned to the track first.
"All right, 10-4," Scott said. "What's your temperatures?"
"220, 225," Mikey replied. "Right in the middle of a big pack though."
"A pound or two out of the left rear." After a pause, he asked, "All that and the track bar, right? You still want to do the trackbar too, Mikey?"
Scott reviewed the instructions. He also called for four tires.
"Okay, 4100 when you get to the line. 41."
"Let me know how my tires are looking when you know," Mikey requested.
Scott told him they looked good. "How's your water temperature right now, Mike?"
Mark informed his driver he had one to go until the restart.
"Tires all look good, guys? Everything good on the tires, Mikey," Scott said after a minute.
Racing resumed on lap 20 with Kurt Busch leading. Mikey was 31st. Dale and David were 40th and 42nd respectively.
"Pace car is off. Ready? Green green green," Mark stated. "Got the 13 and the 18 lined up with you. Everybody's strung out pretty good, single-file, all the way through."
"225, 225 on the temperatures," Mikey told his team.
"10-4," Scott replied.
"Got a little hole behind the 18 there. Clear by three car lengths," Scott said on lap 28. "Got one looking inside, inside. Still got help from the 13. Clear all around."
By lap 33, Mikey was back to 33rd. Mark told him he had one car inside.
"25 inside now. You're clear by six back to the next car," Mark said. "Clear right there. Clear."
Lap 34 saw Mikey drop to 34th. He lost a spot to Casey Mears' #25 and was cleared behind him.
"Give me some lap times," Mikey said on lap 41. He was 35th, and Dale was 37th. David, who was well off the pace, rode last.
"Clear by two, back to the 7," Mark observed.
"I can run wherever you want, but I'm faster in three and four than I am in one and two," Mikey told his team on lap 46.
"10-4," was Scott's reply.
"Clear behind the 44. Clear in one and two behind the 60," Mark said.
Dale passed on lap 47, dropping Mikey to 36th.
"Clear by seven behind the 60 car if you need it," Mark said. "Clear right there. Clear."
Lap 49 saw Mikey drop to 37th when Said's #60 passed.
"49.25," Scott noted.
"7 car got a run up high here," Mark said. "Outside, outside. Clear behind him."
On lap 50, Tony Stewart took the lead; Kyle Busch helped Stewart's #20 past his brother Kurt's #2. Mikey was 38th, behind Robby Gordon's #7.
"I'm just pushing, man," Mikey commented. "I'm just pushing too much."
"I think we probably ought to put that air back into the right front and do something else to free it up," Mikey said. "This adjustment didn't do nothing."
"All right, 10-4," Scott acknowledged. "We're going to have to pit in about eight laps here."
Mark cleared the #55 behind Kyle Petty's #45. Mikey was now 39th. FOX caught him stretching a strained right hand on camera.
"All right, we're going to pit in four laps," Scott said on lap 48. "Mark, if the 7 car pits earlier, the 44 is going with him, and we need to too."
"All right," Mark replied.
"We're going to pit in three laps, pit in three laps.
"Gonna pit in two laps, two laps. Let me know if you're going to need your windshield cleaned."
"We just need a good stop, fast stop," Mikey told his team. "Just make adjustments that we need."
"10-4, 10-4. Next lap, guys. 10-4, Mikey," Scott replied. "Hey guys, forget about the trackbar, the trackbar. Just air pressure."
"The 44 is stopping. The 44 and 7 are stopping now," Mark informed the team.
Mikey came in on lap 62.
"How's your windshield? Need it cleaned?" Scott asked.
"Nah, it's fine. Just give me a quick stop, get me in front of these guys," Mikey replied.
"Wheel's straight, hold the brakes," Scott said as Mikey approached the box. "Go go go, clear all the way, push push."
"Got three just now past the tri-oval," Mark directed. "Coming outside, two more. 13 five back."
"Think we got good out in and out," Mikey commented. "I'm closer to these cars than I was. Good stop, guys."
Many cars were pitting for green flag stops. David also made a stop.
"Tell me about my tires," Mikey requested. Scott said they "tore up the right front pretty good" during the last run.
By lap 67, stops had cycled, and Tony Stewart led. Mikey was up to 37th and back on the lead lap. David was last and lapped while Dale ran 33rd. Mikey gained a spot to Bobby Labonte.
"Still outside, got 13 with you," Mark stated. "Clear the 43. The 17's still with you.
"Clear by six, back to the 13."
"It's not pushing anymore, but I ain't going to do good like this. If it's legal to change springs, let's do it," Mikey told his crew on lap 75.
"It's legal. We'll do it," Scott replied.
"Clear by ten, back to the 43," Mark said. Nemechek's #13 passed Mikey, dropping him to 37th on lap 76.
"49 flat," Scott read off lap times. "49.32."
"We need a competition yellow," Mikey said on lap 78. "We need a competition yellow to get everyone caught up so we can have a fun Daytona 500."
"10-4," Scott replied.
"Got a smoker in Turn 1. Caution is out, caution is out."
The second caution came out on lap 80 for Kyle Petty's smoking #45.
"All right, bud, do you want to change that spring?"
"Yeah, I just don't want to lose a lap," Mikey said. He wanted to pit the second time by to be the first one in and have more time. "I need a clean windshield too."
"Probably will take a little bit," Mark noted.
"I hope we have a good plan. I don't want to lose laps," Mikey said.
Mikey wanted to go with two right-side tires first and then the other. "It's going to take two minutes. Do you think you can do it?"
Mikey and Juan Pablo Montoya were the only drivers to stay on the track. On pit road, Gilliland spun Robby Gordon when he drove inside. Mikey pit the next time by, as did Montoya.
Kevin Harvick was the first driver back on track and became the race leader. Stewart was given a penalty for being too fast exitting pit road.
"Is it one to go yet, Mark?" Mikey asked.
"No, sir, not yet." When Mikey asked again, Mark said that the safety crew had a lot of cleaning left to do. "Okay, hustle as much as you go."
"They just gave one to go, didn't they?" Scott asked.
"That's cool," Mikey said. He said they could get caught up and told Mark to watch when they got into each corner.
"I just slid my right front. Let's get four more," Mikey told his team.
Racing resumed on lap 84 with Harvick leading. Kurt Busch challenged along the outside for the lead with his brother Kyle pushing. Mikey was 41st. He passed David one lap into the run.
"Clear the 00," Mark noted.
David pushed Mikey up to 38th by lap 86.
"We might ought to lower that valence down," Mikey told Scott. "It's not touching nothing."
"10-4," Scott replied.
Mikey commented that he thought the springs might be too high.
"All right, the spring's in," Scott answered.
On lap 89, Mikey and David were 39th and 40th respectively. Dale was 26th. The radio fell silent for several laps.
"I'm pushing worse now than I was," Mikey said on lap 96. He was still 39th with David pushing, with Dale in 37th.
Lap 98 saw Mikey pass David Ragan's #6, but Ragan got back around him the next time around the track.
"Clear the 18," Mark said on lap 100. The #55 began dropping rapidly.
"I hit the wall, y'all. We're going to have to tear the fenders off," Mikey told his crew. "Right sides. Pull the fenders." "We also need to get this thing freed up."
Mikey went to pit road on lap 101. He lost the lead lap and fell to 41st, with two cars - Scott Riggs' #10 and Kyle Petty's #45 - out of the race.
"Leader five back," Mark noted. "Still lined up on the outside. Still out there.
"Got a two car-length hole behind the 21. Right there. Outside, outside. Got the 22 and the 14 lined up to the outside and a two car-length hole behind the 14. You're clear right there, clear right there.
"Clear the 20," Mark continued. "Clear high if you need it, 22 coming back. 20 car inside, clear high. Got the 8 car one back lined up with you. Clear the 14. Still out there. No help right there, no help. 96 to the outside. Clear all around, clear all around. Clear by ten back to the 43."
"22's still out there," Mark noted on lap 109. Dale was 28th, and David was 31st.
"48.92," Scott read off the time on lap 114.
"Inside - 96 car. Inside, behind him," Mark directed on lap 116. One lap later, he said, "Clear by ten, back to the 42."
"It's just plowing, worse than it did before. It's just really really tight. It feels like the front end is all the way off the ground," Mikey commented. He wanted a valence adjustment.
Scott said they would work on it. Meanwhile, Dale was 23rd and David was 29th.
"Clear by three, back to the 7 car," Mark said on lap 120.
"That's what you call a PUSH!" Mikey exclaimed two laps later.
"Sorry, bud. We're trying to come up with a plan to help you here," Scott replied.
"Leader now," Mark noted. Dale was 19th, and David was 27th.
Green flag pit stops began, starting with Carl Edwards. Others followed suit.
"Still got the 13 lined up with you," Mark observed on lap 128. With stops, Mikey moved up to 39th on the next circuit. Kurt Busch pit, allowing Ryan Newman to pick up the lead for one lap. NASCAR penalised Clint Bowyer for hitting the committment cone coming to pit road, allowing Mikey to gain a spot.
Kurt Busch led after stops, and Mikey was back on the lead lap. He was 28 seconds behind Busch's #2 and had no drafting help. Dale was 22nd, and David was 34th. Lap 133 saw Mike Wallace pass the #55, dropping Mikey to 39th.
"There's an awful lot of trash out here, man," Mikey commented on lap 140.
"Yeah, I've been talking to them for a while, trying to get them to throw one," Scott replied. "There's a lot of stuff out here."
"Just a bunch of trash everywhere, man."
Mark commented about the #07 being on the tail end of the lead lap after having to pit again during green flag stops. "Clear by ten, back to the lead pack."
"We gotta pit in four laps, pit in four laps," Scott told the team.
"Clear by four. About fifteen cars lined up," Mark noted. By lap 143, Mikey was off the lead lap again. "Three-wide. Clear right there. Three-wide again. Two more to go. One more outside. Clear all around, clear all around. Clear by thirty to the next group."
"All right, buddy, we're going to pit. We're going to pit next time by. Four tires, guys," Scott said on lap 146.
"Still clear by thirty behind you," Mark added.
"Next time by, pit four," Mikey said to his team. "I saw the 11 shoot up the hill, thought he was wrecking. I'm sorry. Next time by."
"That's okay. 10-4," Scott assured him.
"4100 when you get here, 41," Mark said on lap 148. "Ten to go. Five, four, three."
"Wheel's straight, hold the brakes," Scott directed. "All the way, all the way out, all the way out."
"Lead pack ten back," Mark noted. "Outside, outside. Got three more. One more. Clear behind him, clear right there. Clear by thirty back to the next group."
Mikey was 41st and two laps down on lap 150 as Tony Stewart challenged for the lead along the outside. Kyle Busch pushed his brother more solidly into the lead. Stewart jumped in front of Kurt Busch's #2 and took the lead on lap 151.
"Got the group of three ten back - got the 12, 8, and 41."
"Clear by four to the 12 and the 8. Clear by ten to the 41."
Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch crashed in Turn 4, drawing the third caution on lap 154. Stewart got loose on the apron, and Busch's #2 slowed but got into the left side bumper.
"Got a spin in front of you. Stay low. Slow up, slow up. Stay straight down the middle. Now come on high, come on high. Good job, good job," Mark directed.
"I don't know what to say, other than the air pressure adjustments you made have helped it," Mikey told his team. "It's freer, but it feels like it's got the nose all up in the air, if you could figure that out, maybe work on it some."
Scott said they'd take a couple rounds from the right front and work on the valence. Mark told the team the #00 put rubbers in the right rear, and that helped the car. The #55 team decided to go with that.
"What happened, Mark?" Mikey asked.
"The 20 was leading, and the 2 got a little run on him and just run into him, just got him sideways," Mark explained.
Scott decided they had plenty of time for four tires. He wanted to run an extra lap, do the adjustments and tires and then work on the valence. Busch and Stewart's departure advanced Mikey to 39th.
"All right, Mike. Pit road will be open this time. We'll wait one more," Scott told his driver.
"Still got a couple clean-up trucks here," Mark added.
Mikey wanted to stay in the back, as he was two laps down to avoid wrecks.
"With all those changes, I'd say that's a good idea," Scott replied.
"Am I the only car two laps down?"
"That's correct, you're the only car."
"Is this 07 the only car one lap down?"
"What about this ten?"
"No, they had to work on the car. They're a lot of laps down," Mark added that the #45 was also many laps down.
Lap 161 saw the restart with Martin Truex Jr leading. Mikey was 39th, Dale was 18th, and David was 28th. Ten laps later, Matt Kenseth took the lead with help from teammate Jamie McMurray.
"49 flat," Scott read off lap times. "49.29." Mikey's drivers were 32nd and 35th.
The fourth caution came on lap 175. Jimmie Johnson got a flat tire and turned across the field. A number of cars were collected, including David's #00. Jeff Green and Tony Raines also sustained significant damage.
"Got a spin off of two here, spin off of two. Wave him off. It's a big one on the bottom now," Mark warned. "Watch for trash."
Mikey said the car was good on the last run but didn't have any way to keep up. "I think it was better, so we'll see."
"Okay. Do you want me to try anything else here?" Scott asked.
"No, don't pit. I don't know what to say. I was just all by himself."
"After the race, listen on the scanner there to NASCAR and see what they say about us tearing down."
"10-4. I understand."
Scott said they'd go the extra lap and then put four tires on it. Mark noted trash on the nose and told Scott to take it off.
"The 48 got loose off of two there, Michael, caused everyone to pile up," Mark explained.
"Okay," was Mikey's response.
"All right, 4100 at the line. 41," Mark directed.
Scott addressed the crew. "All right, four tires, and clean the trash off the grill."
"The grill looks clean," Mark noted. "It's gone. Ten to go. Five, four, three, two."
"Wheels straight, hold the brakes," Scott helped Mikey into the box. "Go go go. All the way, all the way."
"All right, Michael, one to go this time. One to go."
"Is anybody a lap down or two down, Mark?"
"Um, looks like the 42 is one lap down, coming inside. There's several of them a bunch of laps down," Mark noted.
"The 42's not several laps down, just one, Mark, right?"
"That's right. Just one."
"The 42 and the 11 is one lap down," Scott said.
"What he'd say, Mark?"
Mark repeated what Scott said.
"Okay, thank you."
"When we get the green, it's going to be... I can't count. 21 to go."
Racing resumed on lap 180 with Mark Martin leading. Mikey was 34th.
"We've got a bumper cover lying there on the tri-oval. Caution's out. Caution's out," Mark said on lap 187. "Track's clear there."
The fifth yellow flag waved for a piece that came off Reed Sorenson's car. Juan Pablo Montoya received the free pass. Preceding the debris was some bumping and banging.
"What did Blaney do?" Mikey asked.
"They were beating and banging here off of four," Mark explained. "Somebody bounced him off the wall, and he ran down pit road."
"Then he ran off pit road and ran into Schrader."
Mark said they were going to hold Blaney for five laps.
"He hit Schrader and Jarrett too, maybe."
Scott told the team that they would run an extra lap and then put tires on the car.
"I guess I was supposed to pit. Nobody said nothing," Mikey said under the yellow flag.
Mark said he was and apologised for not telling him. Mikey was cleared all the way out. With Blaney and Schrader's drop back, Mikey rose to 32nd.
"One to go this time. One to go."
"Still nobody two down, right?" Mikey asked.
"No. We're the only ones two down," Scott replied.
Lap 191 saw the restart. Mark Martin led, Mikey was 32nd, and Dale rode 22nd.
"Who's winning? Mark?" Mikey asked.
"Mark Martin's still holding his own," Mark replied. "Mark's still leading, but the 5 just got in second, running hard."
"Five to go this time. Five to go. This time. Got a little tire smoke up there if you see it. It's just tire smoke. Got a big wreck in the middle of the back straightaway. Big wreck," Mark told his driver. "Got some on the outside wall. Watch yourself."
The sixth caution was on lap 195. With five laps to go, Jamie McMurray hit the wall and slid back. Ricky Rudd turned McMurray into the wall. Other cars were collected, including Dale Earnhardt Jr, Ricky Rudd, and Martin Truex Jr.
"That was a pretty big wreck," Mikey commented.
"Yeah," Mark acknowledged.
"That was a pretty good one there."
"It looked like the 17, the 17 turned him," Scott stated.
"I think they're going to stop them, Mike, off of two there." "Yeah, they're going to stop right before you get off of two."
"I wonder if those Direct TV people are still around - Hot Pass," Mikey wondered aloud.
"I'm sure they're probably working on victory lane or whatever they're doing," Mark replied.
"Hey, I want to thank everyone again for everything they did this week," Scott said. "Michael, I'm sorry we didn't give you a better car for this thing."
The race was red-flagged, and safety workers ran bottles of water to each of the drivers.
"What are they saying, Mark?" Mikey asked his spotter.
"Just now getting ready to blow it," Mark replied. "Shouldn't be too much longer now."
A few minutes into the red flag, Mikey told his team, "My starter's broken."
"We need a push?"
"All right, Michael, they're going to start them up here," Mark said at 6:58pm. He said NASCAR would send a wrecker to push him once the other cars went by.
"Did we get started up?" Scott asked.
"10-4. We're rolling," Mark replied. "Quicky yellow this time. Are we going to stay out, Scott?"
"Yeah, stay out," Scott replied.
Martin led the green white checkered restart. Kevin Harvick got a run on the last lap and passed along the outside to win the race by inches. Cars wrecked behind him, and Clint Bowyer's #07 flipped upside-down. The wreck started when Kyle Busch got loose under Matt Kenseth. Jeff Gordon, David Stremme, and Sterling Marlin were also involved.
"Got a spin low. They're spinning everywhere. Just stay straight, stay straight, stay straight, stay straight. They're crashing by the flag stand. Got one upside-down. Way to hang in there, Michael! We'll do better next week."
"All right, Mark, let me know what they say about the tear-down here," Scott requested.
"Yup. Haven't heard anything there yet."
Upon further discussion, Mark said NASCAR did not call them.
Mikey finished 30th, with Dale and David finishing 23rd and 40th respectively.
Coverage of the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway begins Sunday at 3:00pm ET on FOX.