MWR in the Auto Club 500 by Kellyanne Lynch
25 February 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing finished 32nd and 33rd in the Auto Club 500, today's Nextel Cup race at California Speedway. An ill-timed caution trapped both drivers one lap down early in the race. MWR rookie David Reutimann was two laps down and running in the 20's when Greg Biffle threw his #00 Domino's Camry into the wall with eight laps remaining in the race. David was scored in 33rd at the end, while Dale Jarrett's #44 UPS Toyota crossed the stripe 32nd and three laps down. Mikey's #55 Napa Camry did not make the field for this race.
The race began under overcast, fifty-degree skies. David and Dale had qualified 33rd and 43rd respectively. Kevin Costner gave the command to start engines at 3:34pm ET.
"You guys got me okay?" David came on the radio a minute later.
"All right, guys. Have a good day," said crew chief Frank Kerr. "The 8 car is behind us in the pits, and the 42 car is in front of us. We're just past the start/finish line. I'd like to welcome the Domino's people who are here. Let's have a good day."
David addressed his spotter.
"I don't know what's wrong with the radios," replied David's spotter and cousin Sean. "We've got two of them up there. They ain't working."
"I thought you were getting a pizza or something," David joked.
"Nah, I wasn't doing that. Hey, Frankie, ask one of those guys down there what channel the regular radio is on."
"It's channel 3, Sean," Frank replied. "Channel 3."
Sean said he wasn't getting the radio. Every time he hit the screen, he was getting a buzzing sound. A team member thought it might be a new radio, and Frank asked if he should send up a new radio. Sean said no and that he had plenty of batteries.
Cars rolled off pit road at 3:39pm.
"It'll be third time by, Dave," Sean told him.
"Sean, what's going on with your radio?" a crew member asked.
"When you push the button, it makes a loud beeping noise," Sean explained. "I can hear everyone else, I just can't talk,"
Frank asked David about the pit sign.
"I think that's a lot better," was David's reply.
"The one with the face on it, that's all I know, Doug."
"Yeah, 10-4," Doug replied.
"I'll bring him about ten away, which is just on the other side of the Cheerio's pit box. I'll count him in there,"
"Should be pit road speed here," Sean stated. "You're supposed to be in front of or behind that 70. Where you in front of the 26 or behind the 26?"
"Be in front of the 26," Frank responded.
"Pit road speed there, right there."
"I'm getting 4800 and second," David noted. "Is that what you guys are getting?"
"Yeah, it's pretty close, Dave," Sean said. "Got some 4600's, bunch of 4600's down here."
"4800," David confirmed. "I'm still seeing 4800 and second." After a minute, he asked, "What fans do you want to run here, Frankie?"
Frank said to run the rear end fans and go with no front end fans until further into the race. "If you're a little free, turn the left front one on a little while."
"One to go at the line," Sean noted. "Make sure to get some heat in those tires, buddy. Have a good day."
Moments later, Frank added, "All right, D-Reut. 250 laps. Be there at the end. Have a safe day, baby."
"Keep me from overdriving this thing, all right?" David requested.
Frank said to let someone by him if they're faster in the early laps.
"Pace car's off. Be ready," Sean said. "Green green."
The race began at 3:47pm with Jeff Gordon on the pole. Kasey Kahne immediately took the lead, and Gordon fell to third.
"Outside, still there," Sean observed. "Outside, still there. 26 looking inside. Clear. Clear all around."
David gained a spot on the first lap.
"Outside, three-wide," Sean continued. "You're on the bottom. Back to two-wide. Back to three-wide, you're on the bottom. Back to two-wide. Outside, still there. Still there, three-wide. Three-wide. Three-wide, still three-wide back to two-wide. Clear all around. Clear, clear all around. Good job. Clear by two, back to the 18."
On lap 4, David was up to 28th.
"Two-wide," Sean told his driver. "He's up against the wall there. Two-wide. Clear all around. Outside, still there. The 26 is still there."
Lap 5 saw David take 27th from JJ Yeley.
"Outside, 18. Right rear corner. Clear all around," Sean observed. "Outside 18 car. Outside, still there. Two-wide, outside. Outside, still there. Still there, 18 car outside. Outside, still there - 10 car. Checking up on the inside lane.
"Three-wide, you're on the bottom," Sean added on the next lap. "88, right rear quarter.
"Outside, 88 outside. Good job, all clear, good job. Crash behind you. Back it down."
Lap 8 saw the first caution when Scott Riggs' #10 spun directly in front of David. Jamie McMurray and Reed Sorenson also sustained damage.
"You didn't get into him, did you there?" Frank asked.
"No, never hit him," David replied.
"All right, stay right there - 88."
Frank asked his driver about the car.
"A little bit free everywhere," David said of his car, "but not bad. Good on entry, rolls the centre really good right now. All in all, it ain't bad, dude. I feel it's probably going to be too tight a little in the centre at some point, but right now, it stays good."
Frank called for four tires with fuel. "Those leaders won't come, but I bet everyone behind you will."
Leaders pit under yellow.
"All right, come on, David. 4800 and second. 4800 and second. Come on. 4800 and second, all the way down. About ten away. There you go, bud," Frank directed. "Wheel's straight, come on."
After the stop, David apologised to his team. "Sorry about stopping short there, guys."
"That's all right, bud. Sorry for the bad stop," Frank responded.
"All right, Frankie," David addressed his crew chief. "That was both brake blowers on, and I put the right rear blower on, because it was a little bit free. Both fronts were off."
"All right, buddy. Doing a great job," Frank replied.
"They showed the replay on that. He just lost it all by himself. You did a good job missing him."
David said Riggs didn't look loose, but Frank said that's probably what happened.
"One to go when you get back to the line," Sean told his driver. A moment later, he said, "Pace car's off. Be ready. Green green green."
Lap 13 saw the restart with Kahne in the lead. David was 32nd.
"Outside, still there. Still there. Clear high. Got one blowing up on the straightaway. Back it down, wave them clear."
The yellow flag waved a second time on lap 15 when Martin Truex Jr's #1 blew its engine. David was 30th under caution, and Dale was 37th.
"All right, bud. We'll be staying out," Frank said.
"This thing has kind of picked up a vibration just on the cold side," David noted. "Not up to speed. Just in fourth gear, when I let off the cold side. It doesn't do it in third gear."
Frank asked about the water and oil temperatures.
"Aw, that's good. 220, 240," David replied.
"Could somebody get me a water or something? Please?" someone asked.
"Clean your tires off real good," Frank advised. "It's going to be a couple more laps.
"All right, buddy, get those tires cleaned off. You're doing a great job," he added a minute later. Sean told his driver they were coming to the green.
Racing resumed on lap 18 with Kahne leading. David was 26th, and Dale was 35th. Dale Earnhardt Jr dropped off the pace immediately.
"The 8 car high, off of 2. Move down to the bottom," Sean directed. "Three-wide. Three-wide. Still there. Three-wide. Two-wide. 7 car one groove up. Outside, still there. Still there, outside. Caution's out. Back it down. Wave them off. Caution's out."
The yellow flag waved for the third time on lap 21 when David Ragan spun. David wanted to know if he were in front of the 7 car.
"#00 in front of the 7," Sean communited. "They just told us to go in front of the 40, I think. We're in front of the 7. Go in front of the 7."
Frank said they needed to come in for two tires and fuel. Sean said half were staying out and to stay out. He was told to go in front of the 40.
"We need to be a little quicker than that. I'm not used to these guys pitting every time," David said.
Frank told Sean they needed to know if guys were coming. He said they would be okay.
"Well, they all get down on the apron, and then they jerk right back up," Sean protested.
Frank noted that track position is key.
Sean said they were okay and one of the only cars that can run around on the bottom. "That's a good thing - running around on the bottom. I've seen a lot of races won that way."
"Car still feel pretty good to you?" Frank asked.
"It does," David replied. "It drives in pretty good there."
"All right, next time by."
Lap 24 saw the restart. Kyle Busch led, David was 15th, and Dale was 37th.
"Outside, still there. 66 outside. 38 coming hard inside. Inside, still there," Sean directed. "Inside - still there. Clear all around."
David was 14th one lap into the run.
"Clear by five. Make sure you don't overdrive it in the corner," Sean warned. "Clear by two, back to the 48. He's got fresh tires.
"Coming to the outside - 48. You'll be clear behind the 48 when he goes by. All clear."
David moved back to 15th on lap 27 when Jimmie Johnson's #48 passed.
"Pressure from behind," Sean observed. "Clear by eight.
"Clear by five. Clear by five, back to the 31."
On lap 29, David moved into 14th after passing Juan Pablo Montoya. Sean directed the #00 around the #42.
"31 about one back," Sean said. "Got a good run off the corner. Outside, right rear corner. Outside, still there. Outside, still there. 31 outside. Going to be clear after the 31."
David was back to 17th on lap 31; all three Richard Childress Racing drivers passed him. Meanwhile Matt Kenseth took the lead on the same lap. Montoya passed the #00 one lap later, dropping David to 18th.
Sean noted the #9 of Kasey Kahne was gaining on lap 33. One lap later, Kahne passed. David was now 19th.
"You got the brake fans on, bud?" Frank asked. He asked about the car.
"Slides the nose a little bit getting into the centre, then it gets a little bit free," David reported.
"That was a good corner, Davie," Frank observed. He told his driver to follow the #9 car and see how he gets into the turns.
The #22 and #12 gained on the #00. Dave Blaney and Ryan Newman passed, and they took Tony Stewart with them on lap 36. David was now 22nd.
"Clear by four, back to the 24," Sean noted. "Clear by three. Clear by one. 24 right there with you. Coming outside, outside. Still there. Clear behind the 24."
Frank noted that the #24 was getting into the corners about one car-length higher.
"Really tight," David reported. He said the nose scooted up when he was in the throttle. He was 23rd on lap 39. Dale was 38th.
"Clear by four. Long way to go. Just knock off some laps here," Sean encouraged his driver. "Clear by three. Use all the race track you need."
"All right, David, you're doing a good job," Frank said on lap 43. "We'll be pitting in ten laps."
"Clear by four," Sean noted. "Clear by one, back to the 40. Clear by two."
David Stremme looked inside and passed the #00. David was 24th on lap 45. Brian Vickers passed him next, dropping him another spot one circuit later. Sean told him he had a ten car-length gap back to the #21 in the 26th spot.
"No pressure. You're all by yourself," Sean noted.
"All right, five laps 'til we stop, Dave," Frank said. "Five laps. Travis, Travis. Go one round up on that track bar. One round up."
David reported he was loose late in the corners.
Frank decided against the track bar adjustment but rather to take a round out of the left rear.
Carl Edwards pit on lap 50, moving David up to 24th and starting green flag stops. Frank told his driver to pit the next time around the track.
"This time?" David asked.
"Come on in, buddy," Frank said. "It'll be 4800 and second when you hit pit road. Back it down."
David pit on lap 42. Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson took the lead when Kenseth pit.
"All right, go ahead, buddy," Frank said after the stop. "4800 and second. Keep going around the apron until you get to the straightaway."
"Start to work your way up," Sean directed. He cleared David by the #19 of Elliott Sadler. "All by yourself right there. No pressure."
Sterling Marlin spun after his pit stop, drawing the fourth caution on lap 55. Kyle Busch received the free pass. David and Dale were trapped one lap down; they were 35th and 38th.
"Caution's out," Sean sighed. "Got one spun around in turn 3."
"Aw, man! You've got to be kidding me!" David complained.
"All right, Dave. From 23rd on back is a lap down," Frank said. David was told he would get to double up on the restart. Many cars were lined up at the tail end of the lead lap. David was behind the #66 and diagonally behind leader Matt Kenseth.
"All right, buddy, be all you can here. If the yellow comes out, we'll be in front of the leader, hopefully," Frank said.
"Nice clean restart," Sean said. "All right, pace car's off. Be ready. Green green green."
David trailed the #66 and rode beside the #43. The trio went three-wide with David on the bottom. He picked up 34th on lap 61 - one lap into the run. He went back to two-wide and was cleared.
"31 outside, outside. still there," Sean told his driver. "Outside. Clear behind the 31. Outside, still there.
"48 coming inside, left rear corner. Still there. Still there. Clear behind the 48. 38 looking inside, 24 right there with you. Outside, still there. Still there. Got the 9 coming outside. Outside, still there. Clear behind the 9."
David was still 34th by lap 64 and was cleared by two car-lengths.
"22 coming to the outside, right rear corner," Sean warned. He said Ryan Newman and Robby Gordon were right there too, and David was cleared behind Gordon's #7. He was still 34th. "83 coming outside, outside. Still there. Three-wide. Still there. Clear all around. 83 coming on the outside. Outside, three-wide. Back to two-wide. Two-wide. Hold your line. Outside, 29 outside. 83 outside. Clear high."
At the front of the field, Tony Stewart took the lead from Matt Kenseth on lap 67.
"Clear by three, back to the 5," Sean stated. "The 5 car right there with you."
"How's your race car, buddy?" asked Frank on lap 69.
"Pretty loose in the centre right now," David reported. After a minute, he added, "Still loose around the top."
David passed Jeff Green and Montoya on lap 70 for 32nd but ran three-wide. "Good job," Sean praised him. Two laps later saw Kasey Kahne drop through the ranks with an engine problem, advancing David to 31st. Montoya was on his outside.
"Clear by two, back to the 42," Sean noted. Montoya and Newman both looked to pass, and Montoya moved David back to 32nd. He told the driver where other cars were getting a run on him.
David said he couldn't put it along the top, "because it freakin' tries to spin out."
Frank said that was okay, that they would fix it, and that he was doing a good job.
Lap 76 saw Jeff Burton take the lead from Tony Stewart. David passed Montoya one lap later, and Frank said the #25 of Casey Mears was the free pass car. David was 31st, and Dale was 36th.
On lap 79, Montoya got back around the #00.
"Bad loose in the centre," David reported.
"Clear by ten, back to the 15. No pressure," Sean said.
"It slides the nose in the centre and then jumps loose," David told his team on lap 82. "It'll spin out in the centre of the corner. You've got to tighten it up on the entry to the centre."
Frank said they'd work on it. "Long way to go. Just hang onto what you've got."
David passed Casey Mears, gaining 31st on lap 84.
"Clear by three and pulling away," Sean observed. "Clear by five. No pressure. Clear by ten. Pulling away.
"Outside. Clear, clear all around. Good job."
Passing Montoya advanced David to 40th on lap 88.
"Last lap was a 41.7. That's the same speed as the leader," Frank informed his driver. "All right, you've got six laps until the stop. You still free, bud?"
David described the car as "still twitchy."
Frank called for an air pressure adjustment and said he would put the wedge back in it. "Five laps 'til we stop." Carl Edwards was already on pit road.
At the front of the field, Tony Stewart passed Jeff Burton for the lead on lap 90.
"42 flat. Leader's a 41.85," Frank noted. David was 29th following Edwards' stop. Other cars were coming to the pits.
"Clear by ten, pulling away from the 42," Sean observed.
"42 flat," Frank added.
Debris on the backstretch led to the fifth caution on lap 92, trapping some cars one lap down. Kurt Busch received the free pass. Sean announced the yellow.
"All righty," was Frank's response. "Save a little gas there, bud." He said they would put the wedge back in and make an air pressure adjustment to help the centre.
"It was just finally getting to the point where I could arc it heavy and get it down to the bottom," David noted. Frank said the adjustment should help.
Frank wanted a tire sheet, and the team discussed coming in the second time around the track. "Save fuel. Things are tight, second time by." Frank noted that the 8 car would not be in the box so he should drive through that box and stop short.
"If we run out, that 44 can push us in, Sean," Frank said. "Get close to the spotter."
David and Dale pit under yellow.
"First car one lap down?" Frank asked after the stop.
"Yeah, we may be. May be. Looks that way."
"No, we've got the 40 in front of us and the 16."
"Still got a long way to go, David. Still got 155 laps left," Sean noted.
Frank said the #13 was the first car one lap down.
Sean asked about the #44.
"Aw, he's two laps down," Frank replied. "He needs to get the hell out of there."
Matt Kenseth led the lap 97 restart. David was 28th, fourth in line for the free pass. He was told to stay to the bottom and that there were no caution. He moved up to 26th, second in line for the free pass.
"Clear by one," Sean said. "29 looking outside. Outside, right rear corner. 99 outside. Two-wide. Still there. Clear behind the 29.
"That 16's who we're racing for the lucky dog," Frank noted.
Sean cleared the #00 by five car lengths.
"There's a bunch of smoke in this thing," David reported on lap 101.
"All of a sudden?" Frank asked.
Sean cleared David and told him to make sure it wasn't tire rub.
"Something in the gear."
Frank told him to keep digging and told Doug to have a spare gear ready.
"13 right there with you. Clear by one," Sean noted. David lost a spot to Joe Nemechek on lap 104. "Clear by five, back to the 38."
"It's gone from one extreme to the other. Now it just slides the nose period," David reported.
"It's sliding the nose everywhere?" asked Frank.
"Yeah, 10-4," David replied. "Everywhere."
"No pressure. All by yourself. Right there," Sean observed.
"41.30," Frank read off the lap time. "That's about 9th place quick."
"Clear by five," Sean noted.
"You got your fans on?" Frank asked.
"10-4," was David's response.
"Turn your right rear fan off," Frank advised. "How about your smoke?"
"Aw, it's gone."
"41.60. You're running faster than that 16 up there," Frank noted.
David read off his temperatures - 210 and 250. He was told the #40 car of David Stremme was about ten car-lengths back for position. Dale was 36th, the last driver position-wise who was still on the track.
"Clear by ten," Sean noted. "Clear by ten. No pressure."
Lap 113 saw Dave Blaney pit with an oil pressure issue. His #22 went to the garage. Blaney's departure advanced David to 26th.
"Caution's out for debris. Wave them off," Sean called the sixth yellow flag on lap 115. Greg Biffle received the free pass.
"It's rotating a bit better in the centre, but don't go jacking with the trackbar," David said. He told his crew chief he needed something in the front.
Frank wanted to work on air pressure. He reminded his driver not to pit until the second time by. "You all right?"
"Yeah, I'm good," David replied.
Frank asked him about the smoke.
David said it smokes in the corners. "It doesn't smell like smoke - doesn't smell like tire smoke."
"Sure hope that 8 car doesn't get in our way. Are they coming in this time? Find out. All right, he's not coming in." David was told to cut in through three stalls to cut in straight.
Frank called for four tires and fuel and said he would work on air pressure. "Good clean stop, guys."
"It'll be one to go when you get here, and we'll double up at the line," Sean noted. "Follow the 40 and the 13 to the front there."
"All right, bud, no matter how hard you try, you cannot wear those tires out," Frank advised. "So go ahead and abuse."
"I'm trying," David replied. "I was trying to wear them out. That's not an issue."
Frank commented on getting Michael's money's worth. "He wants to know how his window is."
"We expected nothing else, right, bud?"
"Get a little heat in your tires, buddy. You're racing that 13 and 40 for the lucky dog."
"All right, pace car's off," Sean observed. "Be ready. Green green green."
Kenseth led the lap 120 restart. David was 27th, and Dale was 35th.
"Outside, still there. 20 car outside. Caution's out. Wave them off. Caution's out. Wave them off."
Dale Earnhardt Jr spun, drawing the seventh yellow flag on lap 121.
"Eight car blew a motor on the back straightaway," Sean reported.
"All right, bud. What fans do you have on right now?" Frank asked.
"Right now, I have them all on, except for the right rear," David replied.
"Did you feel anything on that start?"
"Not nothing I didn't feel before, no." David said the car was good on the start. "It's been about the same the first three or four laps, and then the car goes one side or the other."
Frank noted they would race the 40 car. "Maybe we'll get the lucky dog and drive on up through there. I think we can." He said they would stay out. "We need to get by that 40 car, get a caution, get back in this thing."
"If we ever get back on that lead lap, we're fast enough to be in fifteen place or better," Frank stated. "How much more clean-up do we got, guys?"
Sean estimated a few more laps. After a minute, he said, "One to go when you get to the line."
"Clean your tires off," Frank directed his driver.
"How'd the track look to you when you came by?" Sean asked.
"What?" David asked.
"24, 29 said they're not ready to go."
"Yeah, it was awful dirty when we came by there."
"All right, coming to the green." Sean said the pace car driver said it was clean.
"Yeah, he's frickin' dreaming."
"He's driving the pace car, not racing anymore."
Lap 126 saw the restart with Kenseth leading and Dale 35th. David was 27th and immediately went three-wide.
"Outside. 40 car still there. Outside. Right rear corner. Outside. 29 outside," Sean directed. "Outside, still there. 31 outside, still there. You'll be clear behind the 31."
On lap 130, Mark Martin's #01 got a run on him. David was told to let him go. "Clear by three. Clear by three."
"How's your race car, bud?" asked the crew chief on lap 133.
"Still sliding the nose, Frank," David replied. He was running with the top ten, one lap down.
David complained about Jimmie Johnson's #48. "I tried to let him go three times on the top, so don't be pissed off."
By now, the #42 was three car-lengths back for position.
"Whatever you did, put it back," David told his crew chief. "This thing sucks right now. No front grip at all."
Lap 140 saw Montoya pass. David was now 28th. Tony Stewart led the field.
"How about your entry? How's that?" Frank asked.
David tapped the outside wall. "You're clean," Sean observed. "You didn't hit the wall."
"Fix the centre, please," David said to his crew chief.
"13 coming inside, inside," Sean directed. "Be clear behind that 13."
David said the car was "way loose" on exit too. On lap 144, he added, "It will not turn at all."
"All right, bud. We've got about twelve more laps 'til we stop," Frank replied.
"How's your entry? Is it loose at all?"
"18's got a run. He's on the inside. Let him go; he's on the lead lap," Sean said. He cleared David behind the #18 of JJ Yeley.
"Ten laps 'til we stop," Frank said.
"What the heck was that?" David asked.
"Ten laps 'til we stop."
Frank told his driver lap times. "Don't overdrive it, Dave. Hold onto what you've got until we can get a stop."
"No pressure, just hang onto what you've got," Frank added a minute later.
"Whatever we've done, it doesn't like it at all, okay?" David told his crew. "So make sure we don't do it again."
Frank said they were going to take some of the air out of it.
David stated the car was loose in the centre and on exit.
"Two more laps, Dave. Two more," Frank said on lap 155. "All right, Dave. Next time by, buddy, come on in. 4800."
Sean told him to get all he could getting to the line on pit road. "We need to clean the grill here, okay?"
David pit on lap 157, as did a few other drivers. The crew wiped paper from the grill of the #00. Stewart pit the next time around the track, giving Clint Bowyer the lead. Stewart was penalysed for getting onto pit road too fast.
Bowyer pit when Stewart returned to serve his penalty. Kevin Harvick picked up the top spot. When Harvick pit, Greg Biffle moved into the lead. Ricky Rudd and Jamie McMurray were also penalysed for speeding into the pits.
"Did we help you any, bud?" Frank asked on lap 162.
"Yeah, 10-4," David replied.
"Clear by ten and pulling away," Sean observed.
Jeff Gordon picked up the lead with Biffle's stop. Kenseth regained the lead on lap 164 when Gordon's #24 went to its pit box. Stops had cycled, and David was 30th.
"40.80. Good lap, buddy.
By lap 169, David was up to 28th.
"Clear by one, back to the 38. We're racing him for position," Sean said on lap 171. "Inside. Still there. Inside. Clear behind the 38."
"It's loose on entry. Loose getting in. Slides the nose in the middle. Loose off," David reported after David Gilliland's #38 passed him on lap 171 and moved him back to 29th.
"It's back to just sliding the nose," David said on lap 178, "loose off."
"All right, bud. Is the entry okay though?" Frank asked.
"99 inside. He's two laps down. Let him go. There's a gap behind him, almost a straightaway," Sean reported.
"It's just frickin' bad, dude," David explained what the car was doing. "It just goes straight, you know."
"All right, buddy, we'll keep working on it."
"If I arc it, it's going to get away from me, you know? As deep as I need it to be in the centre."
"No pressure. Search around if you need to. Use all the race track you want to," Sean told David.
David said he tried to run in on the top but got sideways. "I've just got to keep pounding on the bottom."
"All right. Sorry. We'll keep working on it."
Sean cleared him by half a straightaway. David was 29th, and Dale was 34th.
"Clear by half a straightaway," said Sean. "Keep digging, bud. Keep knocing off laps."
Frank told David he was catching the cars in front of him.
On lap 185, John Andretti slowed his #37 on the apron with a dropped cylander. David moved up to 28th with Andretti's drop.
"All right, we've got ten more laps - nine laps until we stop," Frank told his driver.
"Keep digging, bud. Clear by half a straightaway," Sean said. He told David the leader was half a straightaway behind and that they wanted to stay one lap down only if they could.
"That was a good corner," Frank observed. "41.90. Good lap.
"Dave, is it loose with the brake on or tight with the brake on?"
"I'm not using any brake in the centre, and it's still sliding it," David replied.
"42 flat. Four more laps 'til we stop," Frank said.
"I've picked up a vibration here, Frank."
The crew chief told his driver it was just the wheel weight and to keep digging.
"Clear by half a straightaway," said Sean. He told David he had no pressure.
Lap 193 saw the start of green flag pit stops.
"All right, bud, come on in next time by," Frank instructed.
"All right, pit this time," Sean said. "Get all you can get. 4800 and second when you get to the yellow line. Nice and smooth. 4800 and second all the way down."
Frank led him the rest of the way into his box and led him back out too.
"When you exit pit road there, stay on the apron. Let's get all we can get. All clear. Stay on the bottom there," Sean said. "The 48 is about five back, coming to the outside. Outside. All right, all clear."
Kenseth pit on lap 197, giving the lead to Jeff Burton. David was cleared by three car-lengths, back to the 24.
"When it all cycles out, that 48 is going to be the leader," Sean said.
David Gilliland was given a penalty for getting onto pit road too fast. With Burton's pit, Kevin Harvick took the lead. Harvick made his stop on lap 199, giving the lead to Greg Biffle. Biffle pit the next time around the track; Jimmie Johnson was in the top spot. David was 27th and two laps down; Dale was three laps down in 33rd.
"Clear by ten, no pressure," Sean informed his driver.
"41.20. Good laps you're running right there, buddy," said Frank. "41.30."
"Just a lot better on entry, Frank," David told his crew chief. He said the car was about the same on exit. He was 26th on lap 210; Dale was 33rd.
Frank said they had forty laps to go. "Just keep digging, baby. The 48 is putting more laps down, and they're coming back to you."
"Clear by five. Keep digging, bud. Twenty-eight laps to go," Sean said.
"Good entry, good on entry. It's just, the nose takes off all at once," David reported.
Frank said they had eight more laps before they needed to stop and that he thought a spring was going bad.
"Slow car on the bottom, right in front of you there," Sean warned on lap 226.
The yellow flag waved for the eighth time on lap 226 for debris from the #15's failing car.
"How's that right front fender look? Do we have to get that out? Because we hit the wall," Frank said to the team. "All right, thanks for hanging in there all day, buddy. It's a long day." He listed all the cars they will race on the restart.
"How you doing in there, D-Reut?"
"How's your temperatures?"
"All right, this time by. 4800 and second."
"They're talking about some rain in turn four. I don't know if you have it on your windshield or not."
"Negative," was David's response.
"4800 and second."
Lap 231 saw the restart. Kenseth led, and David was 28th. He was running three and two wide. Dale was 32nd. Four laps into the run, David picked up 27th.
"Keep digging, brother." Sean told David to pursue Elliott Sadler's #19 for position.
"The last lap was two-tenths faster than him," Frank noted. "Three-tenths faster."
"Looking inside," Sean said. Greg Biffle's #16 turned David into the wall between Turns 3 and 4. "Big crash!"
FOX showed David leaning over his wheel.
"Are you all right, David? Talk to me," Sean called over the radio to his cousin. "Talk to me, David! It's on fire, buddy! You gotta get out! You gotta get out! It's on fire, David!"
"You all right, buddy?" Frank asked. "I see him moving."
"No reason for that. The 16 just turned him into the fence."
NASCAR red-flagged the race at about 7:15pm ET to avoid a green-white-checkered finish and to clean the track.
"David okay?" Dale asked over the #44 radio.
"Yeah, he was able to walk to the ambulance," crew chief Matt Borland replied.
"All right, they're going to fire you back up here," said Dale's spotter. "No, no, they're not."
"All right, they're going to start rolling you off here," the spotter said at 7:30pm. "It will be a quicky yellow."
Matt called for four tires, no adjustments, no fuel. He counted Dale to his box and cleared Dale behind the #6 and the #45. "Nice stop, guys. Good stops all day."
"Be one to go when you get back," said the spotter.
"25's the car that I'm racing, right?" Dale asked.
"That's right - 25," Matt replied. "25 only."
Kevin Harvick sustained a left front flat and had to pit. Meanwhile, Dale saw debris against the wall on the backstretch. Matt said he would inform NASCAR.
"Yeah, they're saying it's tape," Matt replied.
The race resumed with four laps to go and Kenseth leading. Dale was 31st, and David was still in the infield care centre.
"Two laps to go," Matt said. "41.27."
"Looking inside, he's looking. He's there. Inside," said Dale's spotter. "Still there, still there. Clear, clear."
During the last lap, Casey Mears passed Dale for position. Matt Kenseth went on to win the race, after he had won yesterday's Busch Series race. Dale crossed the stripe in 32nd; David was marked in 33rd.
"Checkered flag, checkered flag," said the #44 spotter.
Matt asked, "Do you feel like those air pressures didn't work?"
"Yeah, it was just totally up on top of the race track," Dale reported.
David will compete in next weekend's Busch Series race - the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Coverage starts March 4th at 1:30pm ET on ESPN2. The Nextel Cup Series returns in two weeks and will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coverage of the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 begins at 4:00pm ET on FOX.