Engine troubles for #44 in Coke 600 by Kellyanne Lynch
27 May 2007
Dale Jarrett's Michael Waltrip Racing entry suffered a failed engine in the Coca-Cola 600, tonight's Nextel Cup event at Lowes Motor Speedway. After spending twelve laps in the top ten, his #44 UPS Camry went to the garage on lap 84 and did not return. Dale finished 40th. Car owner Michael Waltrip and teammate David Reutimann did not make the field for tonight's race.
"Spotter radio check," spotter Jason Jarrett came on the radio at 5:37pm ET.
"Yeah, I got you, Jas," crew chief Jason Burdett replied. "You got me?"
"Check." He said he could call in the car from ten away on pit road.
"Yeah, 10-4. That'd be perfect."
"1, 2, 3, 4," Dale spoke over the frequency moments later. No one responded. "1, 2, 3, 4," he repeated. "You got a copy on me?"
"10-4, buddy," Burdett answered. "Loud and clear. You got me?"
The call to start engines came at 5:41pm.
"All right, fire it up," Burdett directed. The crew attached the window net on the #44. A moment later, he asked, "You got a copy on me with the engine running?"
"Yeah, got you loud and clear, Jason," Dale replied.
A few minutes later, Jason told his father, "Okay, they're rolling. It will be third time by, third time by." Once Dale got rolling, Jason said, "Pace car pit road speed."
"4,000," Dale assessed.
"10-4. 4,000," Burdett replied. He encouraged his driver to keep his nose clean and to be there at the end.
"Just keep your eye on the water temp at the start, and if we can add some tape toward the end, we will."
Dale said he was already at 220.
"One to go when you get here," Jason noted. "One to go.
"Coming to the green," Jason said during the next pace lap. "Pace car is off. Ready? Ready? Ready? Green green green."
The green flag waved at 5:51pm. Ryan Newman led the field while Dale started 23rd. He ran outside two-wide throughout much of the first lap. He fought to hold off Jeff Burton. Within the next two laps, Burton, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers, and Martin Truex Jr all passed. Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin got around the #44 during the next lap, dropping Dale to 30th. Jason warned him that Robby Gordon was looking outside. Gordon and Greg Biffle both passed. Lap 9 saw Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick get around the UPS Camry. He held off AJ Almendinger and was cleared by three car-lengths; however, Jeff Green got a run along the high side and moved him back to 35th.
At the front of the field, Kurt Busch took the lead on lap 12.
"32.10," Burdett read off the lap time on lap 15. The next time around the track, he said, "32.13."
Dale picked up 34th from Scott Riggs on lap 17. "Clear the 10. Clear," Jason had led his father around Riggs' #10 Dodge. Burdett continued to read off lap times.
"Still on your quarter, still on your quarter," Jason noted as Dale passed Kasey Kahne for 33rd on lap 20. "Clear."
"32.15. Leader run a 31.90," said Burdett.
On lap 23, Dale got around Robby Gordon for position.
"Got a nose out there," Jason observed. "Clear, clear. All clear, all clear." Six laps later, he cleared the #44 past Bobby Labonte.
"Doing a great job, man," Burdett praised. "Let me know how your car is when you get a chance."
"I'm a little bit loose on the exit - just a little," Dale reported.
"All your temps and everything look good?"
"32.25," Burdett read off the next lap time.
"Still outside, outside," Jason said on lap 32. "Still in your quarter. Going to be clear off the corner. Clear." Dale was now up to 30th on lap 32, after passing Joe Nemechek.
"You're about fifteen away from a stop right here. I'm thinking about a little air in the left rear," Burdett said four laps later.
"I picked up a little bit of a push on exit here," Dale reported.
"But the thing's still going to drive in here."
"The 45's about three back by himself," Jason noted. "One back."
"About ten away."
Kyle Petty passed on lap 44; the #44 was now 31st. Jason warned him that Kahne was looking to pass next.
"It's got really tight here," Dale complained.
"Spin up here in front of you, spin up here in front of you. Still green, still green, still green."
"There's stuff all over the race track."
"Yellow's out. Yellow's out."
The first caution came on lap 47 when Greg Biffle hit the wall. Bobby Labonte received the free pass. Joe Nemechek went to the garage with brake issues.
Burdett asked his driver about the car. "Just got tighter and tighter as you went there?"
Dale said he was okay if he stayed on the white line. When Burdett asked about the entry, Dale added, "The entry was okay. I wasn't overly tight." He was told he would have to go around Jeremy Mayfield's #36 when he comes onto pit road.
"Stop him forward just a little bit, Jamie... please," Burdett requested of a crew member.
"Yeah, I'll just pull straight in. I won't angle out."
"Yeah, 10-4. The 29 should be gone. 4000."
The #44 pit, and Burdett praised his crew for a good stop. "Dale, as I'm sure you already know, the tires look brand new here."
"Was it pretty loose at the initial start?" Burdett asked.
"Yeah, 10-4," Dale replied. "It was having a hard time getting to the throttle."
The crew chief asked if the loose condition was just affecting the entry.
"Be one to go when you get here," Jason noted. "One to go.
"Five or six pulling up.
"Coming to the green. Ready? Green green."
Lap 52 saw the restart with Kurt Busch leading. AJ Almendinger ran into Jimmie Johnson at the start. Johnson suffered a tire issue. His tire came apart, and he waved to the other drivers. Some saw, and some did not. Many cars piled up behind him in Turn 1. The second caution was on lap 54 for a multi-car accident. Cars involved included Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer, Sterling Marlin, Elliott Sadler, David Gilliland, Jeff Green, Johnny Sauter, and Robby Gordon.
Jason warned Dale about the wreck. "Back it down, back it down. I can't see, I can't see, I can't see. Back it down."
"Clear high there, if you didn't get hit," Burdett said.
Dale said he was run into. "I was stopped, and the 07 ran into me." He added, "I think my steering wheel's okay. I just got right side damage."
Burdett wanted to stay out if the tires were okay. "Jason Jarrett, what can you see up topside?"
Jason said the damage was right in the middle, where the four is. He said it looked knocked in.
"Did you slide the tires?" Burdett asked.
Dale said they should probably should change them.
"Jason, keep them informed about where the pace car is," Burdett requested.
Jason noted they may have knocked the wheel in the rear. After stops, Burdett announced they had a small split on the right rear of the bumper cover.
"Everything looks good right there," Jason observed. "You just have a little dent in the door."
"Staying out here/" Dale asked.
"Yeah, 10-4, stay out. We're all good," Burdett replied. He informed his driver they were in the 20th position, so they were actually in good shape. "We'll keep chugging away."
"What started that whole mess? I saw a tire come off somebody," Dale asked.
"From the TV, it looks like Allmendinger started it all," Burdett replied. "He ran into the 48, which started it all."
"You'll be coming to the green," Jason said. "Pace car's off. Ready? Ready? Ready? Green green green."
Busch's #2 led the lap 61 restart with Dale in 20th. The yellow flag immediately followed. The third was for Tony Raines running into Jeff Gordon. Allmendinger ran into Gordon's #24 and lifted him off the ground.
"Got a spin up here on the front stretch! Got a spin up here on the front stretch!" Jason guided the #44. "Back it down, go to the inside. Okay, the 24 is on the bottom. All right, you're clear right there."
"Good job right there, dude," Burdett praised. His son led him down pit road. "Everything drive all right on that first lap?" asked the crew chief.
"Yeah, 10-4," Dale replied.
Some cars made stops when pit road opened. Dale stayed out with Busch, the race leader.
"All right, buddy, you're p8 here. Be careful of these lapped cars on the restart. They've caused these last two," Burdett warned.
"Be one to go when you get here. One to go," Jason said. "Got one pulling up on the inside.
"Coming to the green. Got the 7 pulling up on the inside. Pace car's off. Ready? Ready? Ready? Green flag."
Racing resumed on lap 70 with Kurt Busch leading and Dale running 8th.
"Looking outside, outside," Jason said. "Got the 18 up there with him about half back. Outside."
Lap 72 saw Dale back in 10th. Jason guided him through lapped traffic. David Ragan, Brian Vickers, and Casey Mears all passed, moving Dale to 13th.
"Got a spin over here in three. Got a spin over here in three. Caution's out. All the way on the apron."
The fourth caution was on lap 78 when something broke on Jeff Burton's #31, and it spun.
"Everything feel all right, bud?" Burdett asked his driver.
"Yeah," Dale replied. "I was just free down there inside, trying to make that pass."
"10-4. Tires feel all right?"
"10-4. We'll probably just get gas then, okay?"
"I don't know if everyone else behind us will pit. They just stopped."
"You'll be able to lead a lap if everybody else pits?" "That's ten green and five yellow, so we gotta come."
Dale said he didn't think people behind him would pit. "Hey, if they all pit, we can just get fuel."
Burdett said they would get tires. They made a stop, and Burdett and Dale argued over whether or not they would get tires. "Fuel only."
"No, get tires, Jason. Get tires," Dale disagreed.
Burdett went with it. "That was my fault," he apologised to the team. "All right, buddy. We're in good shape here." He said they were on the same tires as the other guys they'd pit with. "P16 right there. We're all right. We have a long way to go."
"One to go when you get back," Jason commented.
"Next time we pit, I'll need to get the windshield," Dale requested. Burdett said they'd do that.
Lap 83 saw the restart. Dale slowed on the track and dropped onto pit road.
"It blew up," he reported.
"He said he blew up, Jason," the spotter addressed the crew chief.
"He blew up, he said?" Burdett asked.
"Yeah, I blew up," Dale sighed.
A crew member came over the frequency. "Going to fourth, Dale?"
"Came back to second," Dale stated.
"You can take it to the garage, buddy," Burdett told his driver.
"The whole time. I hope we soon change these things," Dale added. "How many times?"
"DJ, just pull it into the garage if you can - stall 18."
On lap 100, the team confirmed over the #44 frequency that they were finished.
Next week, NASCAR goes to Dover International Speedway. Coverage of the Nextel Cup's Autism Speaks 400 begins Sunday at 1:00pm ET on FOX. The Busch Series' Dover 200 will air the day before at 2:30pm on ESPN2.