UAW-Daimler 400 qualifying by Kellyanne Lynch
9 March 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing will field one car in the UAW-Daimler 400, Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dale Jarrett's #44 UPS Camry made the field with a championship provisional; however, Michael Waltrip's #55 Napa machine and David Reutimann's #00 Domino's Toyota did not make the show.
David's #00 was the seventh of fifty-three cars to take to the track in time trials. After the first lap, crew chief Frankie Kerr said, "Run another one, Dave." The second lap was one-thousandths of a second slower. Frankie told him he'd run a 30.24 and a 30.25.
"So frickin' loose from the centre off. That ain't going to do it, will it?" David asked the team. "I had to peddle it so bad to keep the back end beneath it. Damn!"
David ultimately ranked 45th of 53 drivers. His 30.240-second lap at 178.571 MPH was 1.028 seconds behind pole-winner Kasey Kahne.
Dale's #44 went out 26th.
"Dale, Ricky wants a John Force burnout here," a crew member said.
"Well, if I can heat my front tires enough," Dale replied. He ran a 30.78-second lap his first time around the track and a 30.53 the second.
"It was bottoming out pretty good," he reported, "which made me extremely looser."
Dale ranked 47th. His 30.531-second lap at 176.869 MPH was 1.319 seconds behind Kahne's pole-winning time.
"Hey, Dale, this is Michael," the team owner came over the #44 radio. "How much gas did you give it coming to the green?"
Dale said he gave it quite a lot and reported that the track had more grip than it had earlier. Mikey told Dale that, watching him on TV, he saw the right rear corner looked like it was all over the place. "Don't worry about it," he assured his driver.
Mikey asked his crew about how other drivers ran before his turn. He said he would run a second lap no matter what but wanted to know if he had to pick up a little bit or a bunch. Crew chief Scott Eggleston said he'd say "gotta go" if the first lap's time was too far off.
The #55 was the 30th car on the track at 4:24pm. It bobbled a great deal on the backstretch during the first lap.
"Gotta go," Scott said after Mikey crossed the stripe.
The #55 wobbled along the backstretch and spun through Turns 3 and 4. His one and only lap was the slowest of anybody's. He had turned a 31.138-second lap at 173.422 MPH, which was 1.926 seconds behind Kahne's.
Coverage of the Nextel Cup's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 starts next Sunday at 4:00pm ET on FOX.
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
On his qualifying lap: "It is not so much my lap, it is my whole company. Our cars are not running right. It's just real dissapointing. I feel for David Reutimann and I feel for Dale Jarrett. I'm really concerned about why we aren't any better than we are, but we are going to work. I think about several people who have been through the same thing. The Petty's a couple of years ago when Kyle couldn't make a race and Richard's No. 43 car wouldn't run. I know how to do this - not just as the driver, but as the owner. I know how to connect with people and get them to understand my goal and my vision. I'm not going to give up. Hopefully people will understand that this is just the start."
On the performance reflecting on Michael Waltrip Racing: "We have to go to work, we have to figure things out. We have to change some things up. We have to rearrange some people. You cannot define the future by what we are doing here today. I love being a car owner and I love having my hands on it - I love driving. I never really realized how much I love driving until this year. When I didn't get to do it at California and I was doing that Pay Per View thing talking about what happened, I thought 'darn, that hurt.' This isn't who we are. This isn't who we are going to be defined as. It is just going to take a little bit of time to get it squared away."
On how he will be defined: "I think we will be defined as a team that started out with a whole lot of hope and optimism. We were smacked in the head with reality and then we dug deep and over came it. That's what I think and that is the only answer I'll accept."
On going to Atlanta: "We'll go to Atlanta with the same upbeat attitude that we came here with. I felt really good about coming here. We dug ourselves a hole this year, but it's not over. You just have to remember that my career has been defined with a lot of trials and tribulations. I have had a lot of highs and a lot of lows and they have all made me a stronger person. A stronger person is what you need to be to when things like this happen.
DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
Qualified using the Championship provisional, will start 43rd
On his qualifying lap: "This technical process is putting us way behind. We are missing it from the start, too, with our setups. Its just things of a new team and we are just not getting enough laps to get us comfortable for qualifying. We made a change before qualifying and we bottomed out and nearly wrecked me. We made it through it. It's just a process and we'll have to take it week by week in between trying to build new cars and trying to get some testing in too. We'll just keep working."
On not having enough laps prior to qualifying: "We have to get laps and we didn't get many of those. It is just the inspection process puts us so far behind. Hopefully we can have a good race on Sunday and the next couple of weeks to get us in the top-35 to make that process a little easier. We'll be a little better prepared after that."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Domino's Pizza Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
DNQ: 178.571 mph, 30.240 sec.
On not qualifying for Sunday's race: "This is heartbreaking, and I'm disappointed for my team and sponsor. I really wanted to give all the employees of Domino's Pizza and my fans something to cheer for on Sunday. The support they give this team means everything to me and I know we will bounce back next weekend at Atlanta."