MWR in the Kobalt Tools 500 by Kellyanne Lynch
18 March 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing drivers David Reutimann and Dale Jarrett finished 40th and 36th respectively in the Kobalt Tools 500, today's Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A midrace mishap with Greg Biffle caused David's #00 Domino's Toyota to fall thirty laps off the pace while two penalties contributed to Dale's #44 UPS Camry finishing five laps down.
David started today's race from 24th while Dale rolled off last with a championship provisional. Team owner Michael Waltrip did not make the race.
"Frankie, you on here yet?" somebody asked on the #00 radio at 1:34pm ET. No one responded.
"Hey, buddy, do you copy?" David came on the radio forty minutes later.
"Yeah, I got a copy on you, Reut," someone replied.
"Any last minute grill changes? We good?" Joe, a crew member, asked.
"Joe, how come you always wanting to walk on that grill tape?" someone asked. "If you know him, he just wants to close her off."
"I'm here for you, buddy," Joe replied. He said he was wanting to help out. When he was told not to pull the tape, he added, "I was just making sure you didn't want to put more on."
"Mr. Kerr fixed all that," a crew member told him, "so we ought to leave it right where it's at."
"10-4," was Joe's response.
"Chris, you got your radio on?"
"Copy that," crew member Chris responded. "How hot do you want your motor, Joe?"
"Tell me, buddy."
"Is Chris at the car."
"Ask David if he has a Nextel sticker on his helmet anywhere."
"He gave me a thumbs up and said that he thought so."
"How 'bout ya, bud?" crew chief Frankie Kerr addressed his driver.
"Awful staticy, awful staticy somewhere," David replied.
"Chris, look at that radio," Frankie instructed. "Check it out. Make sure."
Somebody asked if David was on the radio.
"David was talking. I haven't heard him yet."
"How about now?" David asked.
A couple crew members said they could hear him much better. Frankie told his driver that Carl Edward's #99 would be behind them on pit road and Reed Sorenson's #41 would be in front. He thanked the Domino's people for coming to the track. "Let's have a good day, guys. Hang in there all day and work on it."
"All right, Shawn, keep us out of trouble up there," Frankie addressed the spotter, David's cousin Shawn. "Are you going to call the green?"
"10-4," Shawn replied.
"Get that sign up there, buddy, so David can see us," Frankie told his crew.
"Hey, Eagle, there's an airplane flying a banner up there for you."
Somebody laughed. "Buddy!"
"Here we are on the left, buddy. Here we are," Frankie said to his driver.
"It will be the third time by, D-Reut," Shawn added.
"10-4," David replied. He asked about pit road speed.
Frankie told him, "We're looking at 4100, second gear."
"David, get you a good reading right there," Shawn said.
"I'll get 4000 and second," David stated. "4000 and second."
"All right," Frankie acknowledged, "4000 and second gear."
When David asked about the fans, the crew chief said to leave the rear fans off and to turn on the right front after a couple laps.
"All right, D-Reut, next time by," Shawn directed.
"All right, D-Reut, 325 laps. We need to get the points up." Frankie reminded his driver to check the belts.
The race began at 2:26pm. Pole-sitter Ryan Newman had to start at the rear with an engine change, allowing Jimmie Johnson to start from the first spot. David was up to 22nd after the first lap while Johnson held the top spot. Dale started last but was up to 40th a few laps into the run.
"Go ahead and get your brake fan there, bud," Frankie instructed.
Lap 7 saw Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin pass. David was now 24th.
"Bad loose in the centre, bad tight on exit," David reported the next time around the track.
Shawn told him he looked better on the high side.
"Does the track look better on the bottom or not?" Frankie asked a couple laps later.
"Worse," was David's response.
Sterling Marlin's #14 looked inside and passed, dropping David to 25th on lap 12. Jamie McMurray's #26 looked inside and passed next.
"It's the worst centre off," David reported. "Bad tight."
Frankie asked if it were worse from the centre off.
"Hey, can you please stay off, please?" David requested.
"Clear by three. You're doing a good job, bud. Just hold onto what you've got," Shawn encouraged his driver. By lap 18, the #00 was 27th.
Kyle Busch had a tire problem, causing him to pit on lap 20. This allowed David to move into the 26th spot.
"How's your temperatures, bud?" Frankie asked.
"180, 240," David replied.
Frankie told him his last lap was a 31.70. Brian Vickers passed on lap 23, dropping David back to 27th.
"It's bad tight on exit, bud. Bad tight on exit," David said two laps later.
"How's the centre of the corner?" Frankie asked.
David Gilliland passed two laps after that. David was now 28th.
"Clear by one, back to the 7. Outside," Shawn noted. Robby Gordon dropped him another spot. Kevin Harvick moved to the inside next. By lap 29, David was 30th. Meanwhile, Dale was 39th.
"22 inside," Shawn observed. "Clear all around."
Dave Blaney's #22 dropped David another position on lap 31. Ricky Rudd got around him next. By lap 34, David was 33rd, and Dale was 38th. Tony Raines passed the #00 the next time around the track.
"Tight everywhere, bud," David reported.
"All right, buddy, we'll work on it," Frankie promised.
"Caution's out for debris. Wave them off, wave them off," Shawn said.
Frankie asked if the car was still loose.
David told him that problem was gone. The car started out really loose and then went to the tight side.
Frankie made the call to pull rubber out of left rear.
"10-4," David replied. "That's a start."
Frankie said they would take one rubber out left rear or half out, make an air pressure adjustment, and put on four tires "All right, nice and easy. We got to do the rubbers, which will take a little bit, but let's hustle. Dave, I'm afraid to touch the track bar. Are you?"
David said he was too.
"All right, buddy. Let's see what that does for us." "Stay with us. Does it seem worse on the bottom or up top?"
"Well, it pushes so bad on the bottom on exit, I have to lift." David said the car plows from the centre off in turns 3 and 4.
Frankie told him that Jimmie Johnson's #48, the leader through the last run, was driving in the middle.
"One to go at the line," Shawn said.
"On both ends?" David asked.
"In three and four, I can see him real good," Frankie replied. "One and two, it looks like the same way. They start on that bottom, you know, and go to the middle after a few laps." He said to keep the fans off for a few laps.
Lap 42 saw the restart with Jeff Gordon leading. David was 33rd, and Dale was 36th. One lap into the run, Tony Stewart took the lead.
"Go ahead and get that fan, bud," Frankie told his driver on lap 44.
"Clear by four, pulling away," Shawn noted on lap 46.
"31.10," Frankie read off lap times on lap 48. "31.40."
Lap 50 saw Johnny Sauter pass. David was now 34th. Meanwhile, Dale had fallen to 38th. Paul Menard approached, but before Menard reached the #00, David passed Jeff Green's #66 for 33rd.
"Gotta give me more front grip," David reported. "Gotta be freer on exit, bud."
"31.60," Frankie read off the lap time on lap 59. "You're gaining on those guys in front of you."
"No pressure," Shawn added. "All by yourself."
"Yeah, I got a little loose on exit there," David said on lap 62.
Frankie told him to move down half a car length if he could.
"Kind of need the room, bud," David replied.
Brian Vickers passed on lap 64, moving David back to 34th. Dale was now 40th.
"31.80," Frankie read off lap times. "31.90."
On lap 71, Dale went a lap down while he was still running 40th. David passed Ryan Newman for 33rd the next time around the track; however, Newman got back around him one circuit later.
"Fifteen 'til we stop, bud," Frankie told his driver on lap 76. David was 33rd and moved up another spot on lap 78.
"Three wide, you're in the middle. Three wide, you're in the middle. Clear high," Shawn said. "Clear by four."
Lap 79 saw David move back to 33rd after Casey Mears passed.
"Leader at the line now," Shawn said one lap later.
"It's tough to turn in the centre, Frank," David reported. "It's tough to turn in the centre."
Frank asked about the temperatures.
"It's tough to turn, because it's tight," David replied.
"Keep digging, baby. You've got the leaders about five cars behind you," Shawn said. A minute later, he said of Casey Mears, "He said he got loose. He didn't mean to hold you up."
Jimmie moved into the lead on lap 83. Green flag pit stops were beginning, which bounced David up to 29th on lap 85. He was warned to watch Mears' #25, which would pit this time.
"All right, Dave, next time by," Frankie said. "Four tires and fuel."
"Make sure you wave the 15 off. He's right there with you," Shawn warned.
David pit on lap 87.
Frankie led him to his box. "Right here, buddy. Right here."
"Get me another fucking pit sign next week," David told his team. "Get me another pit sign for the next stop. I can't even see that thing at all, dude."
"All right, we'll work on it," Frankie assured him.
Kevin Harvick took the lead on lap 89 when Johnson pit. He came in the next time around the track, giving Brian Vickers the lead.
"Clear by ten," Shawn said on lap 92. "No pressure. Pulling away."
Vickers pit at the end of the lap, and Kurt Busch moved into the top spot. Stops had cycled. David and Dale were both lapped in 36th and 41st respectively.
"Leader start / finish line now," Mikey said on the radio. "30.80 is as good as anyone right now. Good job, David. That's as good as anybody."
"31 flat," noted Frankie. "How's your race car, buddy? Better in clean air?"
"A lot better," David replied. "Still a little bit too tight when I pick the throttle back up, you know?"
"All right, we'll work on it," Frankie assured him. After reading off lap times, he said, "You're racing the 25, 5, and 83 for the lucky dog."
Busch let Matt Kenseth lead for one lap before taking back the top spot.
"Right now, it's a little bit free on the centre, but it's still too tight on the exit."
Lap 108 saw Jimmie Johnson take the lead.
"31.70," Frankie said on lap 112. "Leader's running 31.60.
"31.60. Great lap."
"Doing a good job, just keep digging," Shawn encouraged his driver.
Bobby Labonte pit on lap 115, allowing David to move up to 35th. Dale was 38th. On lap 125, the #00 moved up to 34th when Robby Gordon made a stop.
"Just plowing in the centre, bud. Plowing in the centre. Still tight off," David reported.
Ryan Newman dropped through the ranks next, allowing David to move into 33rd on lap 128. More cars were pitting. As David moved into 31st, Frankie said they would pit the next lap just after the #99. "All right, Dave, next time by, buddy. Let's get a half a round out of the left rear. Half a round."
Shawn added, "Get all you can get, brother, all you can get coming to pit road. 4000 and second."
David pit on lap 131.
"We definitely need to work on these carberators," David commented after his stop.
"There's the leader right there in front of you - the 48. Let's get him," Shawn said.
On lap 133, Johnson made his stop. Reed Sorenson took the lead. Sorenson pit two laps later, and Dave Blaney took over the top spot.
"Watch the cars coming off pit road in front of you guys," Shawn advised.
With Blaney's stop, Vickers moved into the lead.
"Three-wide, two-wide," Shawn warned. He cleared David behind Biffle's #16 and Sadler's #19. "You've got one car working the right rear."
Stops cycled by lap 138, and Johnson was back in the lead. David was one lap down in 34th while Dale was 37th and two laps down.
"Still haven't done anything to help at all," David complained.
"All right, bud," Frankie replied.
"You're going to have to do a lot more than you've been doing to make it better in the centre, Frank," David added a few laps later. Frankie talked about doing something with the rubbers. "It's the worst it's been. I don't know if it's a tire or what, but..."
"All right," Frank replied.
"All right, caution's out for debris," Shawn noted. "All right, stay caught up with the 70 here."
Debris led to the second caution on lap 144.
Frank called for four tires and another half out of the right rear rubber. "Let's go up on that track bar. Are you loose at all getting in?"
David said to pull the rubber. "That was a pretty significant change."
Frank asked if he wanted one or two rubber out.
"Just pull one out. I'm trying to learn here."
"All right, buddy," Frank said. "Go back up on the rear and put half back in the front."
Cars pit under yellow.
"All right, buddy, we've got quite a few cars on our lap that we'll be racing. What are your temperatures?"
"Everything's good. 190, 240."
Frank said they would go half a round on the rubber and the track bar. He told Frank to go through the #99's pit.
"Wave that freaking thing up and down so I can see it," David said of the pit sign.
Frank told him to get closer to the wall if he wanted when going through the #99 pit. After the stop, he said, "All right, we're racing all the way up there for the 24th position."
"Working lap 146 right now. All right, coming to the green now," Shawn led.
Johnson led the lap 148 restart with David running 34th and one lap down. Dale was 38th and twice lapped.
Four laps into the run, Paul Menard looked inside the #00. Lap 156 saw Matt Kenseth take the top spot.
"Good job, bud," Frankie praised his driver. "Looks like the bottom in 1 and 2 and the top in 3 and 4."
"Pull another spring rubber out when we stop again," David requested.
"Is he on the lead lap?" David asked of Bobby Labonte. Frankie said he was, and David let Labonte's #43 pass. Scott Riggs' lead lap car got around him next.
Around lap 169, Jeff Gordon took the lead. A few laps later, Frankie told David that the #83 was the next for position.
"Too freakin' tight, dude," David reported on lap 173.
"Lap 175. Long way to go. Keep digging," Shawn said.
Robby Gordon pit three laps after that, allowing David to pick up 33rd.
"Plowing, dude," David complained on lap 183. With someone else pitting, he picked up 32nd.
"How's your entry?" Frankie asked on lap 190.
"It's good. It's tight everywhere else. No grip in the centre, still too tight on exit," David reported. He was up to 31st with another driver making a stop. More and more drivers were hitting pit road.
"Last lap a 31.80. This lap a 32 flat," Frankie reported.
By lap 193, David was up to 26th as cars continued to make stops. Jeff Gordon pit, allowing Tony Stewart to take the lead on lap 194. Stewart stopped next, and Jimmie Johnson took the top spot.
"All right, bud, five, four, three, two, one. Wheels straight, brakes on," Frankie directed. "Go. Go go go."
"4000 second, all the way out," Shawn directed. "4000 second, all the way to the cone. 4000 second, all right, dig hard. Dave, got a car on the outside. All clear to move up."
David was two laps down in 35th after his stop. Dale was 41st and three laps down. The #44 was given a penalty for being too fast on pit road, dropping Dale a fourth lap down. He served his penalty and came back on the track beside David. He was penalised again for speeding while serving his penalty. Dale pit and went five laps down.
"Clear by five, back to the 44," Shawn said on lap 205. During the next lap, David picked up 34th by passing Paul Menard; however, Menard passed him back.
"Clear by one, back to the 44," Shawn added on lap 210. "He's a bunch of laps down." Dale was last.
"How's your race car, buddy?" Frankie asked on lap 219.
"Still plowing, but it's better," David replied.
On lap 223, Robby Gordon dropped through the ranks to make a stop. The third caution came at the same time when Scott Riggs' engine blew.
"Caution's out. Caution's out. Got one blowing up in one and two."
"Tell me about this car," Frank requested.
"Entry's still good, bud," David replied. "Entry's still good. Still al ittle bit tight in the centre and still tight off."
"All right. We have no more rubbers to pull. Let's go up again on that track bar. Go half up on that and go down the right rear."
"We're two laps down, Frank?"
"We're two laps down. Lost a lot of ground on those green flag stops." Frank counted eleven cars on their lap.
Drivers pit under caution.
Lap 228 saw the restart with Johnson leading. David was 33rd and two laps down while Dale was 41st, five laps off the pace. One lap into the run, David gained a spot.
The fourth yellow was on lap 231. Bri
"Yeah, we're in the wreck."
"How bad is it, bud?"
"I'm sure I killed another one."
"The 9 car run in the back of him," Shawn observed. "What I see is flat tires."
"Get ready, guys,"
"Where we pitting at?"
Frankie told David to back up. He told his guys to hammer out the dents and asked how bad it was. "Get the spoiler peeled back."
"What happened there, bud?"
"I don't know, man," David replied. "I was on the outside of Biffle there. I don't know. I let off the throttle, but I got into him anyway."
"He moved up on you from the replay."
"You would have missed, but Kasey ran into the back of you."
"How's that water pressure, buddy? Still got some?"
Frankie told the team to use tape and not baribond on the right front. "The temps, bud, we haven't lost water, have we?"
"Still got water pressure."
"Hey, why don't you get back here!" Frankie yelled at a crew member. "What the hell's wrong with you. Catch can man, let Dwayne work."
The crew talked about getting all the tape off the nose.
"Hammer!" someone yelled.
"Right here," Frankie replied.
Shawn added, "One to go at the line."
"All right, fire it up, bud," Frank said. "See what you got." He told the crew to clear the wheels of fender. "All right, look all right, guys. Shawn, look for smoke, buddy."
"10-4," Shawn said.
"Go ahead, bud."
"4000 and second," Shawn reminded David.
David was seven laps down when he returned to the track. He reported that the steering wasn't straight; it was off by a quarter.
"All I'm trying to do is run out there and finish. I don't know what the screw happened."
Shawn said it looked like Biffle moved up into him.
"I didn't do that on purpose," David said.
"10-4. That's what I told him."
David said he wasn't looking to wreck anyone. "Gosh dang, I've been trying to race him clean. Shawn, watch for smoke."
Lap 238 saw the restart with Johnson leading. David was 41st and seven laps down; Dale was 37th.
David said the nose was plowing. "I'm going to have to come back to you, Frank."
Tony Stewart took the lead one lap into the run. Meanwhile, David headed for pit road. Frankie told the team to work on the nose first.
"The steering's way off, bud. Get the sign out so I can see it," David told his team.
Frankie led him into his pit box and told the crew to work on the nose. A crew member said there was no brace in the nose, and Frankie told him to put something in there to try to hold it.
On lap 256, David rejoined the race. He was twenty-three laps down.
"There's something damn bad, because it's dragging the nose in the corner. It might be the A-frame, bud," David reported. He went back to pit road, where the crew jacked up the car and looked for what was making the car drag.
"The left corner control bar is bent," somebody said. He talked about making a sway bar adjustment to fix it.
David was back on track on lap 263, running 40th. He was twenty-eight laps down and told to blend with the cars on track. Dale was 36th.
The fifth yellow flag waved on lap 270.
"Caution's out for debris," Shawn reported.
"All right, bud, is it driveable?" Frankie asked.
"Yeah, if there's any way we can tighten it up, we can probably finish it," David replied. "It feels like it could spin out every lap."
Frankie discussed adjustments with the team. He talked about borrowing something. "The 44's got a shitload. Go borrow from them."
"Really loose in the centre and real bad loose off, so anything you can do to help out."
Frankie talked about bottoming the track bar and putting on four tires and fuel.
Lap 275 saw the restart with Stewart leading. David was 40th, and Dale was 36th.
"How's it driving, bud?" Frankie asked on lap 283. "You okay?"
"Yeah, pretty bad," David replied. "On top of that, it's dropping a cyllander now."
"Perfect! You only have 38 to go, and then we can go home."
David suspected a plug wire issue.
On lap 287, he went a 29th lap down.
"Where's the freaking spotter at?" David asked about his cousin when the leader passed him.
Frankie spotted for him. "Where you at, Shawn?"
When they got no response, Frankie spotted for his driver.
"Do you got me now?" Shawn asked on lap 288.
"I got you now, Shawn," David replied.
Frankie told David he needed to "pick up the pace" or they'd get black flagged. "If you got two tenths, we could really use them, buddy."
"I'm down a cyllander, bud," David replied.
"I can't hear you again, buddy," David said on lap 300, and Frankie spotted for him again. One lap later, he fell another lap down.
"Pick that up. They're going to stop us," Frankie said on lap 308.
Lap 310 saw the sixth caution for debris in Turn 3.
"All right, we better put tires on this thing. Make sure we don't get a flat and brake anything else. Just got to hang in a few more laps, bud."
"There's fifteen to go, but to beat the 16 car, we need to run a few more laps," Frankie said. "The 16 may have blown up. I don't know."
Shawn came back on the radio. "I just switched radios."
"I don't know if you were listening, but I did a hell of a job from the pits," Frankie said about spotting. Shawn told the crew chief he had changed six wires and three radios and didn't know what the problem was.
"Tighten it up a bunch, Frankie," David requested.
Frankie said to run two more laps to stay ahead of the #16. "Shawn, you still alive up there?"
Frankie told him to take the radio for repairs. "We don't have to fight our way out of here. I'm ready. We've had a rough day." He changed his mind and said to just ride around. "We don't need another DNF." He said leaving five or ten laps early wouldn't help them beat traffic. "We're going to finish this thing, and no more DNF on our list."
Shawn tried to respond.
"Your radio sounds real bad, bud, like it doesn't even have an antennae," Frankie commented. "Is that a TV antennae or something, goofy?" He talked adjustments with the team, and David pit.
David said again that he thought he had a plug wire problem.
"Can you hear me now?" Shawn asked.
David said he could.
Racing resumed with eleven laps to go. Frankie said they would run around back and stay out of other people's problems. David was 40th and 30 laps down while Dale was five laps down in 36th.
Shawn's spotting came through as static.
"Your radio's bad again, Shawn," Frankie commented. "I still got you, buddy. You're doing good."
"10-4," Shawn replied. A few laps later, he said, "All by yourself. Can you hear me now?"
David said he could.
At the front of the field, Johnson dropped under Stewart with five laps to go. Stewart's #20 held the top spot. With three laps to go, Johnson moved ahead of Stewart. In his attempt to rally back along the top line, the #20 scuffed the wall and slid back.
"Leader's at the start / finish line now, racing for the win," Shawn noted.
Jimmie Johnson won the race while David finished 40th and 30 laps down. Dale crossed the stripe five laps down in 36th.
"Way to finish out the lap, buddy," Shawn commented.
"Crashed right up here in Turn 3 after the race." When asked about what happened, he said he wasn't sure who was involved but that he saw the #19.
"Did I screw up?" David asked. "Somebody tell me, straight up!"
Frank said, from what he saw on the playback, he saw Biffle come up into him. Shawn agreed, saying it was like what Kasey did to him last year.
"Gonna need a couple guys down here. Gotta push it in," someone said.
Frankie asked if David was driving in the car.
"No, I'm sitting here stopped," David replied.
Frankie told him to get ready.
David finished 40th and 30 laps down while Dale was 36th and 5 laps down.
Racing continues next week at Bristol. Coverage of the Nextel Cup's Food City 500 begins Sunday at 1:30pm ET on FOX. The Busch Series' Sharpie Mini 300 airs the day before on ABC at 2:30pm.