UAW-Daimler 400 practice by Kellyanne Lynch
9 March 2007
Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, and David Reutimann completed a practice session today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in preparation for this weekend's UAW-Daimler Chrystler 400.
Nextel Cup practice began at 11:34am local time. JJ Yeley's #18 hit the wall moments later, and the team unloaded the back-up car. In the garage area, the #00 team was looking for their driver. Someone said that they were hurrying him up. David emerged from his transporter a couple seconds later.
The #00 Domino's Camry was in qualifying mode, and the team planned to run stickers and scuff tires. Crew chief Frankie Kerr said they would give these two laps a whirl and take it easy the first lap and see what the car does. David came on track at 11:41am.
Meanwhile, the #55 had yet to clear tech. Mikey's car had gone through inspection but needed to return for a sticker.
Cars came on track at 11:43am, and the #00 was with them. Two minutes later, Dale's #44 came on track too. Dale returned quicly, reporting an issue with the clutch. He said the car was good on entry, a little tight off, and needed to improve a little in the centre. All three MWR cars were in the garage.
Frankie asked David if he felt anything dragging in the #00, and David said he didn't. Meanwhile, Mikey was walking around the garage area.
The #00 went out briefly but said the car still needed help. He reported that the first lap felt decent but that he still needed grip in the front - even in Turns 3 and 4. He was pretty tight from the centre off. David said he was running approximately 5 RPM.
"Feel loose at all, bud?" Frankie asked.
"No, not at all."
The #44 came back on track at 11:54am, and the #00 returned four minutes after that. David reported that he was loose everywhere and came back in.
The #55 finally cleared tech and came on track at 12:33pm, with thirty minutes left in practice. Mikey ran a 31.16-second lap. He said he wanted to go down one sixteenth on the right front. "And let's put those Kentucky rears in it," he added.
Mikey went back to the garage, where his team asked around for the Kentucky shocks. The driver said the car was driving like it had during Kentucky testing all over the place. He wanted to put the right rear track bar back down. "That just made it pushy loose," he said.
Crew chief Scott Eggleston wanted to work on the valance, shocks, and the track bar. Mikey asked his crew if they had made sure the left front didn't touch and is "as clean as a whistle." He was told it is.
Mikey asked about scuffing. They only had twenty minutes left in practice, and he asked if scuffs were better. Scott said they might only need half a lap to get going. David did scuffs, and it worked. Mikey just wanted to go out this lap and see how it worked.
His spotter said they had twenty-four minutes left in practice.
"What are we waiting on?" Mikey asked. A team member said they were waiting on the rear shocks. Mikey said he wondered if they should adjust the A-frame before qualifying.
The team was asking about getting fuel.
"Roll me back," Mikey said. "Let's go, y'all! Let's be thinking." He said they might try the Kentucky right rear springs on another run.
The #55 returned to the track at 12:44pm. Mikey said he wanted to just blend. "I can't wait for whoever is on track all day," he told his team. After running a 31.03, he said he didn't think the left rear spring was right. The car was better,, but it was pushing. He said they needed to change the left front arm but can't during this practice. They did, however, need to free it up some in the centre.
"Up on the left rear spring?" Scott asked.
"Yeah, that will free it up."
Scott wanted to know if he should add cambre too, and Mikey said he should by an eighth of an inch. He said the left front shock helped a little but then said it did nothing but make the ride smoother; the car was still characteristically the same. He needed the car to get in the same, but said it wouldn't turn when it lands. He thought the front shocks weren't good. He didn't notice a different between scuff or sticker tires.
Meanwhile, the #00 ran a 30.63. Mikey asked about David when the Domino's Camry returned to the garage next door.
"Did we change the left rear spring already?" he asked. Scott said they did but that he didn't think it was the right one.
"I don't know why our fucking springs are coded," Mikey commented.
He returned to the track at 12:56pm. He ran a 30.84, 30.77, and 30.88. The team discussed putting on scuffs. He came back in at 12:59. He said he didn't care if the car got a little hot for a couple laps; they needed to put tape on it. He told his team to forget the travel and the right rear spring. With three minutes to go, he said, "Let's go y'all. Come on! Help me out."
The spotter said NASCAR hadn't closed the gate yet, so they could get back out. Mikey came out at 1:02pm. He told his spotter he would take whatever hole he could find for him, and his spotter said they had time.
"I got a plug check if you want it," Mikey said at the end of practice. Scott said, if Mikey had it, go get it. Mikey told his crew chief to hurry and meet him there, but Scott said he could drive it. Mikey said he couldn't drive in the garage area, so Scott told him to just drive in the car.
David's #00 was the fastest MWR car in practice. He completed his fastest lap on his seventh of seventeen. His 30.515-second lap at 176.962 MPH was 0.675 seconds behind session leader Kasey Kahne. Mikey's #55 ranked 35th. He ran his best lap eighth of ten with a 30.771-second lap at 175.490 MPH and was 0.931 seconds behind Kahne. Dale was 50th. His seventh of eight laps was his best. His 30.992-second circuit was at 174.239 MPH and trailed Kahne by 1.152 seconds.
Coverage of the Nextel Cup's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 starts next Sunday at 4:00pm ET on FOX.