Engine trouble for MWR at Dega by Kellyanne Lynch
29 April 2007
Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann was running 3rd when his engine expired in today's Nextel Cup race. His #00 Domino's Brooklyn Style Pizza Camry enjoyed sixty-three laps in the top ten - most of which were in the late stages of the races - when his engine blew with five laps to go. Teammate Dale Jarrett fell out of the race on lap 35 while car owner Michael Waltrip did not make the race, despite being 20th in qualifying.
"I'm so bummed out," David said after the race. "I had a chance to run pretty good today, I thought. That stuff happens and I'm just disappointed for the whole team. The way we ran out there today had nothing to do with the driver -- it had everything to do with the car this team built. I hated to oil the track down like that, but I couldn't see to get down to the bottom of the track, all I was doing was looking out at the wall."
The race began shortly after 2:00pm ET this afternoon.
"Yo, Round Reutiman!" crew chief Frankie Kerr came over the radio first.
"Yeah, go ahead," David's cousin and sponsor Shawn replied.
"Got a breeze up there? Is it as hot up there as it is down there?"
"No, we got a breeze here."
"Hey, chubby, how's the weather up there?"
After a minute, Frankie commented, "Our Brooklyn Pizza car is on TV, kids!" He paused before adding, "As hot as it is, maybe Round Reut will be Skinny Reut by the end of the race."
"Nah, you forget," Shawn replied. "I'm from Florida. This ain't nothing."
"Yeah, and I guarantee Round Reut's not going to get any skinnier up there today."
Shawn talked about a concession stand near the spotters' stand where he can get Domino's pizza. He also talked about the fans. "Bunch of rednecks here in the stands though."
Frankie laughed. "No way!"
Shawn talked about a drunk Dale Earnhardt Jr fan who didn't think the planes were flying when they did the fly-over.
"Got ya. You guys copy back?" David came over the radio.
"How about you, Dave?" Frank asked. When David replied, he said that David looks like he's doing better today and has more help. He reminded his driver to make sure the B fans were on when he gets rolling.
"All right, guys, let's have a good day," Frankie added after a moment. "Reut, keep your eyes open. I'd like to thank all the Domino's people for being here this weekend. Let's have a good race.
"All right, guys. All right, Dave. Look to your left here. You'll see it. Here we are."
"It's going to be third time by," Shawn added. "You've got the 16 car back around here.
"All right, pit road speed right there."
David said something about not being able to get the speed.
"What are you showing there, Dave?" Frankie asked.
"3900 and second. Does that sound good?"
"3900?" Shawn repeated.
"That's real close, Dave," Frankie replied. "3900 and second."
"What do you got there, Frankie?" David asked.
"3900 and second - you're right on it," Frankie answered. "We okay back there or open there?"
"Okay, it will be one to go when you get here," Shawn said.
"All right, Dave. Pull those belts one more time. Have a good day," Frankie encouraged.
"All right, D-Reut. 188 laps," Shawn added. "I'll try to keep you out of trouble as much as I can."
"Pull your belts tight," Frankie said again.
"All right, pace car's off," Shawn said at 2:23pm ET. "Green green green."
Jeff Gordon led the field to the green flag with David in 14th. Shawn told him Carl Edwards' #99 was coming to him and pushing from behind. Edwards then looked to the inside. On lap 2, David was marked in 12th with Matt Kenseth looking to the middle. He went three-wide and was warned a bunch of cars were coming. Jeremy Mayfield was starting an outside line.
Sterling Marlin took the lead on lap 3. David was back to 26th. Mayfield pushed him, and he again went three-wide. He was up to 19th on lap 4. Shawn told him the outside line was moving, and Mayfield was still pushing him.
David moved up to 12th on lap 5 with Mayfield still pushing. He was told to stay with Tony Stewart's #20 as he ran three-wide. He was 14th on lap 6.
"Still three-wide. Good job, bud. Just hang in there right where you're at," Shawn encouraged.
Gordon reclaimed the lead on lap 7. David was 14th.
"Still three-wide," Shawn warned. He said Mayfield was getting back to his rear bumper. Lap 8 saw David in 10th. He was still running three-wide. Lap 9 saw him two-wide and up to 6th. Jimmie Johnson was now pushing him, but soon ducked inside. David went four and then three-wide. Johnson dumped him out of line.
"Back on the outside with no help. Hold your line. Hold your line. Got no help from behind. Hold your line. Now you've got the 42 about three back, coming to you," Shawn told him.
David was back to 23rd by lap 11. He reported that Frankie would have to pull tape. "It just won't run on the bottom," he said of his car.
Again, Shawn told him he had no help from behind. On lap 12, he was 24th, going from three to two-wide. "Got the 78 two back, coming to you. Still two-wide. Hold your line."
Just after saying David had no help, Shawn said the #78 car was coming and was just one car length back. He was back to three-wide. Lap 14 saw him in 22nd. Kenny Wallace's #78 gave him a push, moving him into a two-wide situation.
"Still two-wide," Shawn warned. "Gonna be three-wide. 78 right there with you. Three-wide."
On lap 15, David was 21st. Wallace dropped four car lengths back, and David lost his help. He was back to three-wide. By now, Marlin was leading. David was 22nd on lap 16, and Wallace was getting back to him.
"Three-wide. Hold your line," Shawn said as David moved into 19th on lap 17th. "Still three-wide. Got the 01 trying to work inside you. 78 coming back to your bumper. Back to two-wide."
The Domino's Camry was 18th on lap 18. David went three-wide with Denny Hamlin in the middle. Wallace was still pushing him, and he gained a spot on the next circuit.
Jimmie Johnson took the lead on lap 20. David was still 17th, running three-wide. Tony Stewart pushed Marlin back into the lead for lap 21.
When Johnson reclaimed the top spot on lap 22, David dropped to 22nd.
"Still three-wide. Once I can you get you moved up, Dave, I will. Just keep going," Shawn said. Soon, he cleared him all around and told David to take whichever line he needed. He was led around teammate Dale Jarrett's lapped #44. He was 24th on lap 25. Paul Menard went to the garage with an engine problem.
Joe Nemechek's #01 came to push David on lap 26. Meanwhile, Sterling Marlin was back in the lead. David lost his help as Jeff Gordon pushed Jimmie Johnson into the lead.
David reported that he couldn't see and needed that tape pulled. When asked about the car, he said it was "fine".
David was 24th on lap 28 but back three spots the next time around the track. Meanwhile, Carl Edwards went to the garage with an engine issue.
The entire field went three-wide, including the race for the lead. Johnson jumped out ahead. David got help from Elliott Sadler's #19. He was 25th on lap 30. The next time around the track, he slipped to 27th. Shawn told him he could drop back for clean air if the car got too hot.
Sterling Marlin took the lead on lap 32. David was 25th. He said again, "Pull some tape."
David said the car was 225 when he dropped out of the pack. "I've got 242 right now." He was still running three-wide.
"Three-wide. Give 'em a little room," Shawn advised. "Still three-wide."
David was 24th on lap 34. Johnson was back in the lead.
"Three-wide. 13 coming back in the middle," Shawn warned.
Jeff Green took the lead on lap 35, but the race for the lead continued to be three-wide. Robby Gordon also went to the garage.
"Keep running that line. That way, you can keep going and keep air on it," Shawn said. He was 20th on lap 36 and 19th the next time around the track.
On lap 38, David was 21st and still three-wide. Tony Stewart had just taken the lead. He dropped two spots by lap 39, running three-wide and in the middle.
"Seven laps to pit, Dave," Frankie said.
The #99 was 23rd on lap 40, running three-wide with no help. Shawn warned him about cars coming off pit road along the bottom.
Frankie said they'd pit in about three laps but needed to look for a group to go with so they wouldn't be on pit road alone.
"Don't you know who's coming?" David asked.
Frankie said they were figuring that out. Shawn told David to look for hands waving.
"They're not coming this time," Shawn said.
Frankie told him cars were coming next time. He called for two tires and fuel and for tape off the nose. David pit on lap 44.
Stewart led a bunch of cars to the pits at the end of lap 44, giving Gordon the top spot. Bobby Labonte got a flat left front tire. Meanwhile, Dale went to the garage.
Gordon pit on lap 46. NASCAR black-flagged Stewart for speeding onto pit road and issued a drive-through penalty.
"Got nobody pushing me, so this thing's not worth a damn," David commented.
Shawn told him cars were coming.
Jeff Burton had the lead when stops cycled by lap 48. David was 32nd. Shawn encouraged him, saying he'd catch him.
"The 8 and the 16 about ten back, coming to you," Shawn said on lap 49. "About five-back. They're going to be coming to your bumper."
Jeff Gordon took the lead on lap 50.
"Run your line, just like you're doing. You'll catch them," Shawn encouraged.
"About three-tenths of a lap you're catching them, Dave," added Frankie.
"Very good. Just like that, bud. Hold your line," Shawn said. "Biffle says just like you're doing, just like you're doing is good."
"He want me to go up to the top like that or what?" David asked.
"16's coming with you, 8 coming with him," Shawn said. Lap 54 saw David in 28th, and he was 25th the next time around the track and going two-wide. Shawn told him to follow Earnhardt Jr's #8, which had jumped out to the middle.
On lap 57, David was 23rd. He was three-wide and warned that they were coming up on Stewart's lapped #20. He went four-wide off the corner but went back to three. Tony Raines's #96 took to pushing him while Regan Smith looked inside with Kasey Kahne.
David was 26th on lap 59. He was pushing Earnhardt Jr's #8 and Smith's #01. Raines went to the middle, dropping the #00.
"You're in the middle," Shawn said on lap 60. David was 22nd the next time around the track, driving three-wide. Earnhardt Jr was in the middle. Shawn told David to stay with the #96 and told him David Stremme was coming up behind him.
On lap 62, David was 19th.
"Frank, you're going to have to pull more tape, bud," David said.
Frankie acknowledged his driver's request.
Lap 63 saw David back in 22nd but was 18th the next time around the track.
"Gotta stay out here. I'm not going to be able to go anywhere else," David commented.
Frankie said thirty more laps until they stop. "Do you have your brake fan on?"
David was 19th on lap 65 when Denny Hamlin took the lead. The #00 was three-wide.
"I'm going to have to shuffle out of the pack. The damn thing won't work in the groove," David commented. He said he can't race like this.
David was 16th on lap 68.
"42 pushing you from behind. Clear on the top if you need it," Shawn said. "42 right there with you. Two-wide.
"42 outside, outside."
Jeff Gordon led lap 69 with David in 13th. He was warned that Kenny Wallace was coming along the outside. "Three-wide," Shawn warned. The #00 was 12th on lap 71.
"Kenny Wallace still pushing you from behind," Shawn said. "Still three-wide."
"It's keeping cool in the middle," David commented. He said air was getting across the nose somehow.
"Great job, bud!' Frankie praised.
David was up to 9th on lap 73. The yellow flag waved for debris - the first of the day.
"Dave, what do you think about staying out and leading a lap if they come in?"
David said he didn't know. He didn't want to lose the draft "and get screwed in this deal." He also asked for ice.
Frankie said he'd get the ice and told the crew to get the tape off the right side of the nose. "Four tires and fuel. How's your windshield, Dave?"
"Pull it, if you have time," David requested.
"How about water?" Frankie asked.
David said it wasn't bad and gave the temperature.
"I'm talking about you, driver-wise."
David pit under yellow with everyone else. Jimmie Johnson stalled his car on pit road.
"Okay, get yourself something to drink there, D-Reut. Working lap 74," Shawn said. "You're doing a good job, bud. You're doing a really good job."
Frankie said he looked good on the outside. When David said the middle was actually better, the crew chief said he was doing a good job.
David clarified that the middle was better for keeping air on the nose.
"All right, big guy, hang in there. You're going to need the draft with that tape off. Sorry," Frankie replied.
Racing resumed on lap 78 with Jeff Gordon leading. David was 21st. He lost two spots one lap into the run.
"66 coming to your back bumper," Shawn said. "66 pushing you from behind." Soon, David lost his help, and Clint Bowyer hit the wall and lost spots.
Lap 80 saw David in 19th. He had no help again but was cleared behind Scott Riggs. He was back to 27th one lap later.
Clint Bowyer cut a tire and spun, drawing the second caution on lap 82.
"I have no idea where we're supposed to be," David said. Frankie told him to stay behind Riggs' #10. Kurt Busch was marked in the lead. The crew chief said, if people pit, they were getting fuel only.
"What's the temperatue like now, Dave?" Frankie asked.
"I haven't run long enough to find out," David replied.
"I think not having the tape on it has hurt it." He said Kyle Petty looked like the only one pitting.
Cars pit, and David came in for gas only. He talked about carberator issues when exitting his box.
Kurt Busch led the lap 85 restart with David in 22nd. David Ragan's #6 was on his rear fender.
Earnhardt Jr took the lead two laps into the run. Ragan dumped David, who fell to 24th on lap 88. He went four-wide and gained a spot the next time around the track. Meanwhile, Busch was back in the top spot.
On lap 90, Stremme's #40 was pushing him. Jimmie Johnson took the lead the next time around the track. David was 21st at the time. David vaulted to 16th on lap 93 as Kasey Kahne took the lead.
Lap 95 saw Jimmie Johnson take the lead. David was back to 19th. He was back up to 16th the next time around the track as Kahne took the lead again.
"Can you pull any more tape at all, or is it all gone?" David asked on lap 98.
"One more piece."
"Well pull it."
Jeff Green pushed David into 13th as Casey Mears took the lead again on lap 99. The #00 was 10th on lap 100 and 8th the next time around the track. David was three-wide and moved up to 7th on lap 102. Stewart's #20 was pushing him along the outside groove. The #00 was 6th one lap later.
Matt Kenseth shot along the inside line and took the lead on lap 104. David was 14th. He was 10th the next time around the track as Gordon took the lead and encouraged to drive the high lane. Stewart was still pushing and moved him into 7th on lap 106.
Two laps later, David lost his help and fell to 11th. With no help, he dropped to 27th by lap 109. David got back up to 18th one lap later with Mayfield pushing. On the next circuit, he was 12th. Lap 113 saw him gain a spot. Earnhardt Jr dropped out of the pack with an overheating #8, allowing David to pick up 10th.
The #00 was 7th on lap 115. David pushed Joe Neechek along the outside before Nemechek dropped into the middle line. David was 15th on lap 117. He went four-wide as Nemechek dropped through the ranks.
"36, 13 running behind you," Shawn noted.
David Stremme took the lead on lap 120. David was 19th. Hendrick drivers got by Stremme's #40, and Gordon was back in the lead on lap 121. David was 13th.
Frankie said they'd pit in about eight more laps with the second group. Earnhardt Jr pit on lap 125. David was 9th, with Jeff Burton pushing.
The third caution came on lap 126 for Casey Mears. He cut to pit road when riding the middle line and got spun by teammate Johnson.
David was 6th when he pit under caution. The team changed the wrong side of tires and ended up having to change all four. He was warned of the tire rolling across pit road when he was leaving pit road.
"Hey, Frank?" team owner Michael Waltrip came over the radio. "It's Michael. I just wanted to tell you, because of that, we don't have to worry about tires ever again." He said it was a bad break but they could use it.
Mikey then addressed the spotter and driver. "Shawn, you're doing a great job. I've heard a lot of spotters, and you're perfect. And David, you're the man."
"10-4. Thanks boss!" David replied. "Frank, I'm sorry for blowing that deal."
Frank said he'd drive back up there. "You're the man. It's no big deal. You're doing a hell of a job. Get something to drink here, bro. Get a breath."
"Hey, David, just remember, this deal could turn around," Mikey said. "We don't know the answer yet. You're doing a good job getting to the front. We haven't seen a Toyota up there all year. You're doin ga great job."
"10-4, Mike. Thanks. I'm feeling the love."
Frank said they could make it if they top off at 130.
Mikey said topping off at 128 might work with the draft. "They're going to crash again."
Frank reassessed, saying they couldn't make it if they pit again now.
"David, I know you and Shawn know this, but now's the time when everybody's going to crash." He told his driver and spotter to be on their toes.
Kenny Wallace led the lap 130 restart with David in 23rd. The field dumped out Wallace, and Jeff Gordon took the lead. David was up to 21st.
"One wrecking. Back it down, back it down, back it down. Stay straight," Shawn directed. "Good job, bud."
The fourth caution for a multi-car accident on lap 132. Tony Raines went up the track into Jimmie Johnson and into Ricky Rudd. They collected Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, and Joe Nemechek.
"Hey, Shawn, remember. It gets worse from here," Mikey said. When Frankie said two people were talking, he repeated himself. "Great job, y'all. Just stay on it.
"You guys deserve a top ten finish the way you run today, so just know that and know that you have to be on your toes," Mikey continued. "It's so cool to watch you run so well."
"It just proves as a team what all of us can do," Frank replied. He called for the team to stay out.
"Hey, Frank, there's a lot of oil over there, so it might take a while. So that's all right," Mikey told the crew chief.
Frankie said he didn't think they could make it to the end from here anyway.
"Well, if you can't make it, if you can't do it, don't worry about it. It's going to happen again."
"I hear what you're saying."
Frankie said they'd come in and pit and "take a chance" if they said one to go.
Shawn adviced against it, because everyone behind them would do the same thing.
"If the 24 comes, you come with him," Frankie said. They decided to pit and to take fuel only. "Stop quick and then go. Come around the 20, come around the 20, bud."
Tony Stewart stalled on pit road. Elliott Sadler, Jamie McMurray, and David Ragan did not pit; they had pit the lap before.
"All right, Dave, coming to the green. Nice and smooth. Still got Biffle behind you," Shawn said.
Elliott Sadler led the lap 137 restart with David in 11th. Sadler got shuffled out, and Ragan took the lead. David was up to 10th.
On lap 139, Matt Kenseth took the lead. David was 11th with Biffle pushing. Hamlin took the lead on lap 140, and David was up to 7th. He was 10th the next time around the track.
"The 16 and 8 lined up behind you," Shawn said. "16 coming back to your back bumper. Still three-wide."
Lap 142 saw David shoot up to 4th. He was running the top line and got a big push from Biffle. On lap 143, he was 3rd, going two-wide with Stremme. The inside line moved a bit, and David was back to 5th. He was back to 4th on lap 145.
"Still got that 16 right there with you," Shawn noted. "Single-file. Just stay in there where you're at."
The front half of the field ran single-file around the superspeedway.
"Stay single-file. Let's knock off some laps," Shawn said on lap 156. All the cars were running single-file to conserve fuel. "You're doing a great job, bud. Working lap 156."
"All right, Dave, stay single-file," Frankie said. "When the 26 peels off, go with him."
"Make sure he doesn't do it too early, Frank, because I can't go with him," David replied.
"All right, Biffle said he's going to stay with you all the way to the end," Shawn told his driver on lap 161.
After David had his spotter repeat, he said, "10-4."
Shawn told him two cars got into the wall but caution had not come out. "That's going to break up the pack a little, but keep digging."
"Caution's out for debris," Shawn said on lap 162. It was the fifth yellow flag and it was after Montoya had slowed and got moved up the track by Newman.
"Coast as much as you can, and keep your RPM down, buddy," Frankie advised. He told his driver to stay out, coast, and stay off the throttle.
Some cars pit with twenty-four laps to go.
Shawn said Biffle couldn't run the bottom but would run the top regardless. David told Shawn to make sure Jamie McMurray knew that as he was making deals with him.
"The 26 and the 11 are going to stay up top," Shawn said. They were fastest up there.
"So you're saying, if I bonzai to the bottom, nobody's going to go," David said. He asked if he should stay safe or drive for the win. Frankie said to drive safe.
Shawn said he has enough experience to know to do what he has to do and if he has a run. "You'll know if it's right or wrong. You've been doing it all day."
Shawn told his driver they could all ride up top the rest of the race, and McMurray was content running second if he couldn't get a run.
Hamlin led the lap 166 restart with David in 3rd. The first eight remained single-file while cars in the back that got fuel attempted to make a run along the inside line.
"Nice and smooth, brother. Keep running the draft," Shawn said on lap 173.
"Caution's out for debris in the back. Wave them off," Shawn called the sixth caution on lap 176. Bobby Labonte received the free pass.
"All right, Davey. Coast, coast, coast," added the crew chief.
"Piece of metal down the back there, David," Shawn observed. It was from Newman's beat-up #12.
Frankie re-emphasised that David should coast and save fuel.
"All right, McMurray and Biffle want you to keep running the top - no matter what the 8 and 01 do," Shawn relayed the message.
Frankie reiterated that David should run the top and keep working with those two drivers. "All right, Dave, the 11, 26, ourselves, 16..."
"Be one to go when you get back here," Shawn interrupted. He reminded his driver to get a drink of water.
Hamlin led the restart with ten laps to go and with David in 3rd.
"Frankie, I think I see smoke inside the car," David said.
The crew chief said to keep going with nine to go.
An inside line developed with Johnson leading and Ragan inside. They drifted back with six laps to go. McMurray jumped out and ran into the lead. David was told to stay high with Biffle pushing. He was 10th on lap 184.
"Big push from the 16 down the back," Shawn said with 5 to go. David smoked dramatically, and the yellow flag came out as he faded to the back.
"Motor blew up," David reported.
"Motor blew up, bud?"
Shawn guided him down the track.
"I just can't see, Shawn. That's all."
"You all right there?" Shawn asked.
"All right, guys, you did a great job all weekend," Frankie said.
"Are you going to make it, or do you need a push, bro?" Shawn asked.
"I'm going to make it," David replied.
A NASCAR official wanted to see them after the race. Shawn said he needed to go and couldn't stay, and that David had stayed up on the track, because he couldn't see.
"Frankie, that's pretty spectacular day. It really really sucks at this point, but I'm really proud. David was pretty impressive today," Mikey commented.
"Hey, Shawn, just from past experience, I don't think it's negotiable," somebody said a while later.
"Shawn, if you don't want to come back for a couple of weeks, I guess you could skip it," someone else said. "Well, you can be mad all you want, but you have to go see them."
The field returned to green for a green-white-checkered finish. After a crash on the last lap, Jeff Gordon won under the yellow flag. David finished eight laps down in 32nd from the garage.
Next week, NASCAR goes to Richmond. Coverage of the Nextel Cup's Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 starts Saturday at 7:00pm ET on FOX. The Busch Series' Circuit City 250 will air the day before at 7:30pm on ESPN2.
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Domino's Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
Can you talk about what a great run you were having and suddenly your day was over?
"I'm so bummed out. I had a chance to run pretty good today, I thought. That stuff happens and I'm just disappointed for the whole team. The way we ran out there today had nothing to do with the driver -- it had everything to do with the car this team built. I hated to oil the track down like that, but I couldn't see to get down to the bottom of the track, all I was doing was looking out at the wall."
What was your feeling running up in the third position?
"To be honest, I was sitting up there just waiting for something to happen. I didn't know if somebody was going to run over me or if something was going to break. Things were going too good all day long, you hate to look at it that way, but that's Talladega. I'm thankful that today was a pretty safe race, but I'm disappointed that I didn't get to race for the win there at the end."
What does this say about the Toyotas - being able to run this strong here today?
"It's a restrictor plate race and that's a completely different animal. Toyota worked really hard on their plate program from Daytona and they've made it better. I'm proud of everybody at TRD and within Toyota's organization -- I'm not disappointed with that at all. Today was just a situation where stuff breaks no matter how hard you work on it. We'll regroup and we still have a good speedway car for Daytona so we'll go from there."