MWR 29th and 32nd at Phoenix by Kellyanne Lynch
21 April 2007
David Reutimann's #00 Domino's Camry struggled with handling and brakes throughout the Subway Fresh Fit 400, today's Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. His Michael Waltrip Racing entry finished three laps down in 32nd. Dale Jarrett's #44 UPS Toyota also finished three laps down, in 29th. Team owner Michael Waltrip's #55 Napa Auto Parts Camry did not make the field.
Someone came on the radio shortly after the national anthem, asking for crew chief Frankie Kerr.
"Got ya, Reut. How's the weather?" Frankie asked.
"It's a little cool up here."
"You're such a pansy."
A crew member mentioned somebody being in the air conditioned suites.
"Just worry about tuning that motor," Frankie replied.
"Yes sir," the crew member replied. "I'm sorry."
Somebody said of David, "Stay on your boy about driving it in so damn deep."
"He's listening," laughed a crew member.
Frankie says David was "starting to get the hang of it." He then addressed the team's spotter. "All right, how about you, Sean. Are you up there?"
"Yeah," the driver's cousin and spotter, Shawn Reutimann, replied.
"Want me to call the green, or are you going to call it?" Frankie asked.
"Um. I'll let you call, seeing as you're right there by it."
"All right. I don't have the greatest view with all the lights."
Sean says he'll get it.
"All right. Sounds good."
"You guys got me okay?" David asked at 8:37pm ET.
"Sound good, Dave," Frankie replied. "Renee, call me if that thing's working."
The call to start engines came moments later.
"Got you, D-Reut," Shawn said.
"All right, Dave, our pit stall is just a couple back from wher eyou are now," Frankie told his driver. "The 6 car is in back of us, and the 21 car is in front. Not a bad spot."
"How far down can you see, Frank?" Shawn asked.
"I can see ten spots down, so that's good." He said he can see from Waste Management car. He and Shawn coordinated who would follow David then before he added, "Be sure to show him the sign so he knows where to look for us."
"All right, guys, llet's have a good day. Every thing's good. Thank all the Domino's people for being here, and let's have a safe day" frank
"It's going to be a few seconds here. They're having a problem with the 24," Shawn informed the team.
"Check, check. 1, 2, 3," somebody said.
"How 'bout you there, Markie?" Frankie asked a minute later.
"Y'all gotta go down the 24 down there at the end," Shawn directed. The #00 rolled off pit road.
"Let me know when that sun's bothering you," Frankie told his driver. Once the car came around the track, he told the crew, "Guys, get that sign up."
"All right, pit road speed right there," Shawn said.
"All right, Dave, look to the left. Right there, buddy," Frankie pointed out the #00's box on pit road. "What do you got Dave, right there, on speed."
David said he was seeing 5100 and second gear.
"All right, bud, have a good day," Frankie gave his final words before the green flag. "Get those pressures warmed up, get those brakes warmed up. Let's see what we've got here."
"All right, one to go at the line," Shawn added. "All right, David, 312 laps - long way to go. All right, coming to the green brother. Pull those belts tight. Let's be there at the end.
"Green green green."
The race began at 8:47pm ET. Jeff Gordon started from the pole with David in 25th and Dale last. Bobby Labonte and Carl Edwards passed, moving David to 27th. Reed Sorenson got around him next; the #00 was 28th on lap 5. Jeff Burton passed the next time around the track; however, David gained back a spot one circuit later by passing Sorenson's #41.
"Clear by four. Pulling away. Good job," Shawn encouraged.
Lap 9 saw David go inside Greg Biffle's #16. He passed, picking up 27th.
"If you can, move up your line a little bit getting into one, bud," Shawn adviced on lap 12. "Clear by two. Good job. Much better." He asked about the car.
"A little bit free on entry," David reported. "It ain't real bad."
"Good job, bud," Frankie praised on lap 15. "I don't want to talk too much with all the traffic."
"Clear by one, back to the 16. Looks like he gains on you a little in the middle of 3 and 4 there," Shawn noted. "Don't overdrive the corner."
"Just so you know, you're catching those four guys in front of you," Frankie observed. Jeff Burton, Joe Nemechek, Carl Edwards, and JJ Yeley were those four drivers. "Good job."
Shawn noted that David was gaining on the other drivers in the centre of the turns the past couple laps.
Again, Frankie told his driver he was doing a good job.
"Clear by two, back to the 41," Shawn guided. "The 41 one back. Move your line when you're getting into 3."
"Too loose. Too loose or I would, bud," David replied. "I need to be tighter on entry if you can give it to me, bud."
"In the middle or on the exit?"
"Free on exit too."
"41 looking inside. All clear. Inside, getting into the corner. Inside," Shawn cleared David behind the #41 on lap 23. David was now 28th. Greg Biffle passed one lap later. Johnny Sauter looked to pass next. He and Sterling Marlin dropped the #00 to 31st on lap 25.
"Clear by one, back to the 7," Shawn said.
Frankie asked if the car were getting freer.
"Freer on entry, getting freer on exit, losing grip in the centre," David replied.
"Clear by four. Keep digging," Shawn encouraged his cousin.
At the front of the field, Denny Hamlin took the lead along the bottom groove on lap 29.
"It was a good lap right there, bud. 29.5," Frankie said to David.
"Clear all around. Got the 42 right there with you," Shawn said. "Good corner. That was a good corner right there."
At the back of the field, Dale had picked up 42nd from David Stremme; however, he was now one lap down.
"29.5. Good lap."
"There you go. You get through 1 and 2 great, bud," Shawn praised. "Caution's out. Wave him off. Caution's out."
Lap 38 saw the first caution for debris. A large plastic trash bag was in Turn 4.
"Bud, loose on entry, tight in the centre, loose exit," David reported.
"All right, the dreaded three combos there." He asked if the car got worse the longer run went.
David said he was loose from the centre off since the green flag.
Frankie suggested a track bar adjustment. "I don't know what to do about the centre here. Let's take a half out of both fronts, both fronts."
"Yeah, let's go ahead," David replied. "I'm thinking, if we can help the entry here, we can help the centre, Frank. Just one of those combos."
Frankie called for two rounds down trackbar, half out of both fronts, four tires, and fuel. "Let's get a good stop. How's your windshield?"
"Gotta come this time, Frank. Gotta come!" Shawn said. "5100 and second."
Frankie asked about water temperatures.
"190, 210," David replied. "The sun's killing me off of 4 over here. I'm sure it's killing everybody."
Frankie said the sun would go down in about a half hour. He asked about the brakes.
"It's all good," David replied. "Everything's goodl"
"Hey, David, it's Michael. I think you put some front in it yesterday," the team owner said over the radio. "I don't know where you're at. You didn't have no problems, so that's cool."
Shawn warned David of three lapped cars along the inside. One was teammate Dale.
Lap 43 saw the restart with Hamlin leading. Robby Gordon dropped David to 33rd one lap into the run, just before the yellow flag waved.
David Ragan brought out the second caution on lap 44. His lapped car was sliding back through the ranks when he got up into Tony Stewart. Scott Riggs, Casey Mears and David Stremme were also involved. Dale received the free pass; he was 40th.
"One wrecking down here. Back it down. Stay low, stay low, stay low," Shawn warned. "Watch the 25."
Frankie asked if his driver had hurt the tires. David said they were good.
"Right here 'til right... here. I can't even think about seeing if anybody's on the outside of me. Just overdo it if you need to."
"The only time Biffle seems to catch you is right in the middle," Shawn noted.
"10-4," was David's response.
Racing resumed on lap 48 with Hamlin leading. David was 30th, and Dale was 40th. Ricky Rudd got around the #00 one lap into the run. Lap 51 saw Dale get around Mears' wounded #25 for 39th.
On lap 53, David picked up 30th to Elliott Sadler.
"You're catching that 88. Go get 'im," Shawn encouraged.
Jamie McMurray pit on lap 57 with an overheating #26; he had trash on the grill of his car. David gained 29th as a result.
"The trackbar has definitely helped the entrance and the exit, Frank, but it's hurting our centre," David reported.
"Working lap 60. Long way to go, bud. Just logging some laps," Shawn said.
"29.20. The guys in front of you are 29.30," Frankie informed his driver. "29.30."
"Clear by five."
Meanwhile, Dale was 37th by lap 65.
"29.30. Car in front of you, 29.40."
"Clear by five. Just for your information, some of those guys are starting to move up," Shawn stated.
"29.40," Frankie continued to read off lap times.
"Clear by one, back to the 45," Shawn said on lap 70. "Looking inside. Left rear corner. 45 inside. Go ahead, let him go. Fall in behind him."
"Working lap 70. Keep digging, bud. The leader's just now exiting 2," the spotter continued.
Joe Nemechek passed him next; David was 31st on lap 73.
"Hey, it's got no ____ at all," David reported. "It slides the nose really really bad. It's okay on entry, a little bit free on exit."
"All right, bud, we'll work on it."
"Leader coming off 2 now," warned Shawn. "Looking inside - 4 car. All clear."
On lap 78, Ward Burton's #4 looked inside, but David stayed ahead. Shawn noted that the leader was closing in.
Frankie asked about the water temperature.
"It's only about 160," David replied.
"Clear by three, back to the 21," Shawn observed.
"I put rear brake in it and got it too loose," David said on lap 85.
"Keep digging. Clear by four," Shawn said.
"29.6," Frankie reported the lap time.
"Clear by four," Shawn said. "Leader two cars back.
"Clear by one, back to the 21," Shawn continued. "Clear by one. Schrader's running hard, trying to stay ahead of the leader."
Ken Schrader dropped the #00 to 32nd. On lap 88, Denny Hamlin put David one lap down. Shawn encouraged his driver to stay with the leader.
Shawn told David with Kevin Harvick's second-place #29 was coming. "Let him go when he gets there," he adviced, pointing out time that would be lost fighting the lead lap car.
On lap 97, Paul Menard passed the #00. David was now 33rd.
The third caution came on lap 99 for debris in Turn 1. Ken Schrader two spots ahead of David got the free pass. Dale was 38th.
"Frank, you helped it some on entry, you helped it some on exit, but it just won't turn in the centre. The longer it goes, it just gives up front grip front grip front grip, the longer it goes."
"All right, how about shoving a rubber in the right rear?" Frankie suggested.
David said he didn't want to hurt the exit, and Frankie told crew member Dwayne to put rubber in the right rear. David asked for a tear-off.
After the stop, Frankie told David to keep the tires warm and to work for the free pass back onto the lead lap. The #00 came out 34th, with the #44 just in front. Hamlin sped on pit road going to his box and therefore lost the lead; he restarted at the tail end of the longest line.
Kevin Harvick led the lap 104 restart. Jimmie Johnson challenged him immediately.
"Clear by two, back to the 48. Let's go get that 44," Shawn encouraged on lap 109. "Clear by four.
"Okay, what'd that do to the race car, Dave?" Frankie asked.
"Good on entry, tight in the centre," David reported.
The crew chief encouraged his driver to move up his line if he could.
"Does it seem worse, Dave?" Frankie asked on lap 121 as Kenny Wallace's #78 went outside and passed.
"For your information, Dave, everyone's about half a groove up," Shawn said.
"I got that! I got that, okay?" David snapped.
"10-4. Just like that. Looks good.
"Did that rubber help the centre?" Frankie asked.
"The centre's still bad, Frank, either way," David reported. "I don't think it's helped it any."
"It definitely hasn't helped it any, Frank," the driver added on lap 130.
Frankie said it was looking worse.
"By our lap times, it looks worse."
"Yeah, I think it's definitely worse," David assessed on lap 130. "All it's done is screwed it up on entry a little bit, you know?" He added that the track bar was the only thing that helped anything.
"How's the water temperature, Dave?" Frankie asked three laps later.
"26 looking inside on the inside corner. All clear," Shawn noted. "Inside, inside. Still there. Clear behind the 26."
David was 36th on lap 135 after McMurray's #26 passed. Dale was 34th.
"Yeah, I can definitely say it's the worst it's been," David commented two laps later. Later, he said he thinks the adjustments hurt the car everywhere.
"All right. Next stop," Frankie assured his driver.
Kenny Wallace pit on lap 144 with a loose window net, allowing David to pick up 35th.
"Keep digging," Shawn said. "The leader's just now coming off Turn 2."
"29.40. That was the best lap for a long time," Frankie said on lap 147.
"Are the brakes glowing? I'm starting to lose the pedal pretty bad."
"Are your fans on?" Frankie asked. "A little bit. Very little."
"This pedal's fading."
"Clear by four."
The yellow flag came out for the fourth time for debris in Turns 3 and 4.
David said he thought the car felt better at first, but it wasn't. He wanted to take out rubber from the right rear and put it in the left rear. Frankie agreed with the adjustment and told Dwayne to do it when they stopped.
Frankie asked about tape on the grill.
"Put the tape on it, because 180's all it's running," David said.
Frankie said it would be their second piece.
David stopped under yellow and received the adjustments discussed. Sterling Marlin stayed out to lead a lap but pit with David and the rest of the lapped drivers.
Frankied asked his driver about the brakes now.
"I got them pumped back up now," David replied.
"None of your switches switched off on your fans, did they, Dave?"
"Nah, they're all on."
"So far, you put brakes in the rear, correct?"
"I've been putting them to the rear, yes," David replied. "As much as I can stand."
"One of those guys are jumping up to the outside there. I don't know if you can do that."
Harvick led the lap 155 restart. Dale was 33rd, and David was 35th. Both were lapped.
Tony Stewart took the lead on the first lap back to racing.
"That doesn't help it none either," David commented. "Man, I just wish we could get something I could drive. I'm really trying, but I can't do nothing with it."
"Clear by five. You're pulling away. That's two good corners, bud," Shawn said on lap 176. "Clear by five. Pulling away. No pressure."
By lap 179, Dale had lost a spot to Kasey Kahne. He and David were running 34th and 35th.
"Pulling away. Let's go get that 25 and 44," Shawn encouraged. "Clear by three, back to the 19. The leader's about six cars back."
"That's the leader one car back," Shawn said on lap 186. "Leader looking inside, inside. Clear by one, back to the second place car."
David was now two laps down. Two laps later, Dale went a second lap down too.
"Working lap 188. Keep digging, bud," Shawn said. "Get that black 4 and the 44."
"Yeah, it's starting to lose the front grip the longer we go," David commented on lap 195. "We just haven't done anything to help it."
"Just plows in the centre, bud. Loose off," added the driver nine laps later.
Frankie said they would pit in twenty-five more laps. "Hang in there." He asked David about getting into the corners lower.
"Can't really get to it, bud. Can't get down there. I can get down there on entry; I can't do it on exit," David explained. "I just can't make it down there."
"The brakes are still screwed up - won't stop. I can't get it to stop straight on entry," David added on lap 207. By then, Dale was 33rd, having passed Kasey Kahne.
"No bite neither on exit, bud. No drive off," said the driver four laps later. "I can't frickin' race no damn buddy with this thing. I'm just hanging on."
The fifth yellow flag came on lap 212 for debris.
"Frank, I don't know... What we've got going on, I don't know if you can fix with a spring rubber or anything like that. Try to get me some drive off, try to tighten me up on entry. I don't know. I think that would help us in the centre."
Frankie asked if he thought the tightness in the centre was the root of the problem.
"It's got no forward bite on exit, you know?"
The crew chief called for four tires, a change in air pressure, two rounds of wedge in the left rear, and one up on track bar.
"Still 180, still 180 on water temp," David reported.
"Are we leaving that rubber in the left rear, Frankie?" someone asked.
Frankie told him just to leave it, because he didn't think it helped anything.
"All right, Frank, the 26 was coming out. I couldn't stay with that 19 there," David commented.
"All right, bud. Seems like we give up a fair amount of time when cars pass us," Frankie said.
"Yeah, I know. They go in there, and if I don't try to ride the bottom and I ride the top, gosh dang, it won't turn. I need a lot of room." David added that he was trying as hard as he could but was sliding up and getting into the marble.s
"I know you're trying hard. You always do. I'm sorry about the race car," Frankie apologized.
David said he wanted to roll over and let the leaders pass, but he was getting into the marbles.
"Good job, guys. Best of the year. Picked up a spot or two," Frankie commented.
"Sounds like y'all had a lot of crap going on, lot of adjustments. Good job, fellahs," Mikey praised. "I got confused watching."
"Let's not make any friends here. let's move it on up," Frankie said. "Get all you can on this restart with fresh tires."
The team talked about a move that almost got David some spots on the last restart, but that David Gilliland had run him up the track.
"I don't think he had much choice," David replied.
"All right, you're racing the 44 car in front of you and the 15," Frankie informed his driver. "And the 9 behind you and the 21."
David asked about the #19, and Frankie told him Sadler was three laps down.
Tony Stewart led the lap 219 restart. Dale and David were 32nd and 33rd respectively.
"28.90," Frankie read off the lap time on lap 228. "29 flat.
"29.40. Car in front of you - 80," the crew chief said on lap 239.
"Can't brake," David complained.
"Clear by one. Keep digging, bud," Shawn encouraged.
"29.16 - getting away from that 21," Frankie said on lap 248.
Three laps later, Shawn said, "The 21 and then you have the leader, about ten back."
One lap later, Schrader dropped inside and passed the #00. The #20 was next in line and went around him too. David went a third lap down and was now 34th.
Frankie asked about the car on lap 263. "Dave, how's your car?"
"10-4. It ain't no better. It just goes right back to the same," David replied. "When we pit again, just put the trackbar back down, just to try something different. Everything we're doing to it ain't helping it a bit."
"29.50," Frankie read off the lap time on lap 268. Two laps later, Dale went a third lap down.
Lap 280 saw lead lap cars making scheduled stops.
"Guys, be ready. We're going to pit in two laps," Frankie said on lap 284.
"Wreck in Turn 4. Back it down, back it down," Shawn warned.
The sixth yellow was on lap 285. Dave Blaney was going to pit road, and Kenny Wallace ran into him. Martin Truex Jr and JJ Yeley were also collected, and many cars were trapped a lap down.
"You made it through, right? No damage?"
Frankie said they got a little lucky with the timing of the caution.
"What it does is it goes down the corner, and I can't turn the wheel," David reported. He said his water temperature was still just 190.
Some leaders pit under yellow.
"Guys, good stops like we had last time. We'll be all right. We'll beat a couple of those guys out and stay in front of them," Frankie assured his team.
"5100 and second when you get there," Shawn told David.
Frankie said they would stop a little short to beat out Schrader.
"Are we racing that 38?" Shawn asked.
"No, we are not racing the 38. We are going to be racing the 45, the 9, the 21, the 22, the 44." Frankie added the #14, which was one lap ahead of the #00. Blaney's #22 was two laps behind them.
"Watch the safety truck off Turn 4," Shawn adviced.
"I don't know what's gone wrong with these brakes," David said. "The whole time, the front just shakes."
"Like right now, you pump them up, they're solid?" Frankie asked.
"Yeah, they're not bad. They have a little sponge to them, but they're solid."
Racing resumed with nineteen laps to go. Jeff Gordon led but was behind Martin Truex Jr, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Kurt Busch; those three cars were at the tail end of the lead lap. Dale was 30th, and David was 33rd. Juan Pablo Montoya smacked the wall and dropped back, allowing David to move into 32nd. Dale was still 30th.
On lap 300, Tony Stewart took the lead after going three-wide with Gordon and Truex Jr. Gordon went inside and retook the top spot.
"That's the car to get - that 9 car up there, buddy," Frankie said on lap 303. Within the next three laps, Dale picked up 29th to Kyle Petty.
With three laps to go, Shawn said the #42 car was coming for position. Jeff Gordon won with Dale 29th and David 32nd. Both were three laps down.
"We've got some of the worset brakes I've seen on anything," David said. "I could have probably run a little better at the end; I just couldn't stop."
Frank said they'd write that down and work on it next time. "Sorry we didn't have a better race car."
"Hey Reut, did that track bar down help it at the end?" a crew member asked.
David said it killed it completely in the centre and helped it on entry.
The crew member said they would write that in the notes.
"All right, come on down. Just go to the trailer. We'll change the stuff down there," Frankie directed.
Be sure to watch Michael Waltrip Racing at Talladega next weekend! Coverage of the Nextel Cup's Aaron's 499 begins Sunday at 1:30pm ET on FOX. The Busch Series' Aaron's 312 will air the day before at 2:30pm on ABC.