Kobalt Tools 500 practice and qualifying by Kellyanne Lynch
16 March 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing drivers David Reutimann and Dale Jarrett will start 15th and 43rd in the Kobalt Tools 500, Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Team owner Michael Waltrip did not make the field.
"We fought a loose condition off-throttle all day," stated Derrick Finley, project engineer for MWR. "We started loose in and loose everywhere, but we got the entry and the center better. We were just loose off for most of practice. For qualifying, we basically did what the No. 00 team did because they obviously had a really good car. They all did a really great job. But when we went to qualify, we don't know exactly what happened. The car was just a little bit loose off still in qualifying and there was some type of miss in the engine and right now that's where it stands."
Mikey and Dale ranked in the 40's in first practice while David was 15th on the speed charts. Mikey ran his fastest lap on his 11th of 13 laps, turning a 29.891-second circuit at 185.474 MPH. He was 0.726 seconds behind pace setter Kurt Busch. Dale's 29.932-second lap at 185.220 MPH, run on lap 8 of 14, was 0.767 seconds behind Busch and ranked 45th. David trailed Busch by 0.345 seconds; his last of thirteen laps was his best, (29.510 seconds / 187.869 MPH).
Fifty-one drivers attempted to make the field. Dale went out 7th. Although his best of two qualifying laps ranked 44th (29.701 seconds / 186.660 MPH / 0.994 seconds behind pole-winner Ryan Newman), his championship provisional allows him to make the field. Mikey went out 22nd. His lap ranked 40th (29.560 seconds / 187.551 MPH / 0.853 seconds behind Newman) but was not enough to get him into the race. David, who went out 33rd, was 24th with a 29.225-second lap at 189.701 MPH; he was 0.518 seconds off the pole-sitter's.
Dale and David completed two more practice sessions. David was 21st and 22nd while Dale was 43rd and 26th. Watch them Sunday in the Cobalt Tools 500 at 1:30pm ET on FOX.
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Domino's Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
Starting position: 24th Qualifying lap: 29.225 seconds, 189.701 mph
On the nerves of making the race on your first qualifying lap: "Frank (Kerr, crew chief) said that if my first lap was good enough to make it into the show that he would let me know and call me off on my second lap. I got to the start/finish line on my first lap and I didn't hear anything, then I drove into turn one and I still didn't hear anything. About halfway down the backstretch Frank came over the radio and said that he thought we were going to be okay. I thought, man, Frank, just thinking we're in isn't going to cut it. So I made sure to run hard the rest of the way and thank the good lord that we had a fast enough lap to get in the race. At least now I can maybe eat something and keep it down. I'm going to have me a lot of Domino's pizza tonight, I promise you that."
On making the race this week versus not making last week's race at Las Vegas: "You'll have that I guess. Last week we knew we weren't going to be good enough and after those laps I knew it wasn't close enough. It's a tough deal just trying to get into these deals on time. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. We'll just keep plugging away. The important thing is that we'll be here on Sunday."
On the advantage of taking a qualifying lap with the track under darkness: "I think it might have been a little bit of an advantage. The cold weather made it a little less of an advantage, but definitely I think it helped."
On being behind on race set-up: "We're behind some because all we did was work on qualifying set-ups. It doesn't really matter what your race set-up is if you don't qualify for the race. We just have to make up for lost time and learn a little bit tomorrow in practice and in the Busch race -- things that we can apply over here. If we can do that, we'll be pretty good."