MWR 28th and 43rd at Dover by Kellyanne Lynch
4 June 2007
Michael Waltrip finished 28th in the Autism Speaks 400, today's Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway. His #55 Napa Auto Parts Camry was five laps down while his #44 UPS Toyota, driven by Dale Jarrett, lost an engine and came in 43rd. His rookie, David Reutimann, did not make the field this week.
After missing the past eleven races, Mikey qualified for this field. He said on NASCAR Now yesterday that he is so excited to race that he has been wearing his firesuit since qualifying.
Mikey had to wait an extra day to race. Although the race was slated to get underway yesterday, the weather caused NASCAR to postpone it until this morning. Drivers took to their cars just after noon.
The call to start engines came at 12:07pm, and the green flag waved nine minutes later. Pole-sitter Ryan Newman led the field to the stripe while Mikey started 23rd and Dale was 22nd. While Dale's #44 advanced to 24th one lap into the run, Mikey's #55 dropped to 26th. By lap 5, they had both moved back to 27th and 28th. Mikey passed the #44 for 27th one lap later while the UPS Camry dropped through the ranks. Dale was 35th, and Mikey was 29th one lap later. 30th and 38th were their positions one circuit after that. Joe Nemechek dropped Mikey another spot on lap 12.
"Looking inside," #55 spotter Mark Green said on lap 15. "#41 car looking inside. Still there." Reed Sorenson passed. "18 car looking inside. Got a hole if you need it. Still inside. #66 car looking. All clear.
"Got a run on the inside. Inside," Mark continued. "Clear all around. Clear all around."
Mikey was 34th by lap 18 after JJ Yeley and Jeff Green had passed. Mark warned him that David Stremme was coming next.
"Still there," he said. "Clear, clear all around."
"45, 45. Leader 15," Mikey's crew chief said.
"Your water, when you get the chance."
"48. That's just a couple tenths off the lead group," his crew chief added. "60, leader a 30." He continued to read off lap times. "How's your car?"
The first caution was for the competition yellow on lap 26.
"You got a copy on me?" asked the crew chief. Again, Mikey did not respond. "Nod if you can hear me." He talked about adjustments and asked Mark what he thought of the car.
Mark estimated that it was too tight off the corners.
"It's too tight off," Mikey said. He talked about issues with the radio. "Let's go to channel 1 and see what happens."
Drivers pit under caution, and Kasey Kahne picked up the lead.
Racing resumed on lap 31 with Kahne leading, Mikey in 34th, and Dale in 37th.
"25.10, 25.10," his crew chief said six laps later. "25.20, 20."
"Still there, still there. Clear, clear," Mark observed. Mikey had passed Jeremy Mayfield for 33rd on lap 38. "48 inside by himself. 48. Clear behind him."
Lap 40 saw Mikey move back to 34th with Jimmie Johnson's pass.
"Just skating the right front," Mikey reported.
"10-4," his crew chief replied.
Robby Gordon and Kevin Harvick got around the #55 within the next two laps. Jeremy Mayfield passed one lap later. With Bill Elliott's pass on lap 44, Mikey was back to 38th.
His crew chief read off lap times. "Keep digging, and we'll get another caution here."
"Inside, inside. Two cars inside," Mark warned. "Clear, clear. Behind that 70 car. Clear, clear low."
Dale Jarrett and Johnny Sauter passed on lap 52. Dale was 38th, and Mikey was 40th now.
"Way to go, Mike. You got away from the 45. Good corner," Mark praised.
On lap 57, Ryan Newman took the lead.
"Looking inside, inside," Mark noted. "Clear, clear."
"Leader three back, leader three back," warned the crew chief before giving lap times.
Mikey lost the lead lap on lap 59. Kyle Petty dropped him back to 41st one lap later, but Mikey was back on the lead lap.
"Leader about two cars back. You got about five laps to go 'til the competition caution," Mark informed his driver.
Lap 62 saw Mikey lose the lead lap again.
"Looking inside, inside, inside," Mark said. "Keep digging. Four to go 'til that competition caution. Clear all around."
He and Newman were side-by-side on lap 64.
"Got the 8 car inside - the second place car," Mark warned. "You done good. Just keep doing what you're doing."
Mikey held his ground until the yellow flag waved.
"Caution's out, caution's out. Hold your ground there. You should be the lucky dog. Lucky dog. I'll let you know when you can move up."
The second yellow was the second competition caution on lap 67.
Mikey said his problem was the right front tire. "I'm just skating so bad, just really really skating the right front tire out so bad."
His crew chief called for a rubber to be pulled out of the left rear. "How's your windshield?"
"Fine," Mikey replied. "...but the wedge affected that right front, so put it back. That really screwed it up. Put it in and then some, if you want."
Cars pit under caution, and Johnny Sauter stayed out to lead a lap. Sauter was sharing a pit box with AJ Almendinger anyway. As the #55 headed for pit road, the crew chief told the crew to take their time getting everything right, because they were restarting at the tail end of the longest line anyway.
"All right, make sure you've got the B blowers on," adviced the crew chief.
"Yeah, I do," Mikey replied. "Uh... yeah."
"Got a clean-up truck in 3," Mark noted. "All right, one to go this time. One to go. We're going to have to start at the tail."
Both Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were on pit road when the green flag returned on lap 72. Newman led, Dale was 32nd, and Mikey was 38th.
"38 car in front of you, on the top, slow," Mark warned on lap 75. Mikey was now up to 36th, having passed Bill Elliott and Johnny Sauter. "Still there, still there. Clear. That 45 up there on the bottom has been a little bit slow."
Getting around David Stremme on lap 76 gained Mikey a spot. He got around Jeremy Mayfield one lap later. Dale was 30th at the time.
"25.15. 25.15," the crew chief gave times.
"You're doing good, Mike, pulling away from that group behind you," Mark added on lap 82.
"20, 20. That's pretty good lap times right there." A few laps later, the crew chief told Mikey he was faster than the next fifteen in front of him.
On lap 87, Mikey passed David Stremme for 33rd. Dale was up to 29th and then 28th on the next lap.
"55, 55. About fifteenth place back running 50's," said the crew chief. "50, 50. Leader 05."
"Still out there," Mark warned on lap 93. "Still there. Still there, still there. Clear all around, clear all around. 70 coming outside, outside. Clear all around."
Sauter passed, moving Mikey back to 34th on lap 95.
"40 got a run. Clear all around," Mark said.
Passing both Sauter and Ward Burton gained Mikey 32nd on lap 96. Two laps later, Sauter passed him back.
"25.60, 60. Leader a flat," said the crew chief.
"Inside, inside," Mark noted. Mikey lost a spot to David Stremme. He was 34th on lap 101 while Dale was 27th.
"All right, lap 100, lap 100. 25.80, leader a 70," the crew chief said. "Leader at the line now. 65, 65. Good lap."
"Looking inside, inside, inside," Mark warned. "Back inside. Clear all around."
Jeremy Mayfield pit on lap 104 with a flat tire.
"How's the car?" the crew chief asked.
"It's just skating so...," the rest of Mikey's words were in static.
"All right, 10-4," the crew chief replied. "Leader two back, two back.
Carl Edwards took the lead on lap 110. Dale Earnhardt Jr slowed with a flat right rear.
"That's the leader behind you, leader behind you. 65 on that last lap. Good lap," the crew chief said on lap 113. Earnhardt Jr got to his pit box. His departure gained Mikey 33rd. "60, 60.
"60. Leader behind you."
Lap 116 saw Mikey lose the lead lap. He was stuck behind AJ Almendinger. Although he was still lapped, he picked up 32nd on lap 119 when Brian Vickers pit.
"Clear by four, back to the 5 car. He's a few laps down," Mark noted. "Still down there."
Mikey picked up 31st by passing Almendinger on lap 123.
"Still there," Mark warned. "Clear, clear. 5 car got a run on the outside here. He's all by himself. Clear behind the 5 if you need it. Got a run up high. Still clear, still clear. Looking inside. Clear all around, clear all around."
On lap 126, Martin Truex Jr took the lead.
"85, 85," the crew chief read off the lap time. "70, 70. We're about twenty laps away from our fuel window." He said a lot of guys were complaining about their tires and that Mikey was getting good lap times.
"I think I've got a right front tire that's starting to junk."
"10-4. Get ready, guys."
Mark warned Mikey that Earnhardt Jr was coming on new tires and was two laps down. The #55 had just lost a spot when the yellow flag waved.
The third caution was on lap 137 for Kyle Busch, who had hit the wall.
"All we did was get the back end looser. We have not touched the front end. It is no better. I'm just driving it with my foot."
The crew chief called for two pounds down on both front inner liners. Leaders pit under caution. "All right, be next time by. Four tires, four tires."
"All right, Ron. Stop him down real low. Gotta come around the 41. All right, get caught up there. It'll be around the 41, you'll have a straight shot out."
"41 will be sitting there," Mark stated. "We just go right around him. Ten to go."
"All right, 5, 4, 3... Right around the 41. Stop him real low," the crew chief finished. "All right, halfway, all the way. Go all the way out. 3600." After Mikey was back on track, he asked, "How's your temps?"
"They've been the same - 210, 220."
"All right, 10-4."
"How do my tires look?" Mikey asked.
The crew chief said the right rear looked the worst, but that was consistant down pit road.
"It actually pushed left toward the end," Mikey said. "I thought the left rear was leaking."
The crew chief said the field was killing them toward the end of the run.
"I've never driven anything that's been any worse than this."
Martin Truex Jr led the lap 141 restart. Dale was 23rd and on the lead lap while Mikey was 32nd. Two laps into the run, Newman took the lead, and JJ Yeley went to the garage. Mikey moved up to 31st with Yeley's departure; however, he lost it one lap later to David Gilliland. Lap 146 saw the #55 get back around Gilliland's #38.
"Outside, outside," warned Mark on lap 148. "Still there. Clear, clear, clear."
Mikey passed Ricky Rudd, picking up 30th. Dale was 24th and the last one on the lead lap. The #55 was lapped and about 11.5 seconds behind the leader.
"29 looking inside, inside. Clear behind the 29. Clear by two back to the 88. Clear by four," Mark observed.
On lap 154, Mikey lost a spot to Kevin Harvick.
"For a few laps, it turned better, but now it's not," Mikey reported.
The crew chief read off lap times. "40, 40. Leader a ten."
"5 car looking inside, inside. Clear behind him, clear behind him," Mark said.
Truex Jr reclaimed the lead on lap 159.
"60," said the crew chief. "Leader a 30."
"Looking inside, inside. By himself. Clear behind him if you want it. Clear by five, back to the 88." Mark guided Mikey around a car on another lap.
"46 flat, 46 flat," the crew chief gave lap times. "70, 70.
"60, 60. Leader 20."
"Clear, clear. Back inside, back inside," Mark spotted his driver as the #55 got around Stremme for 30th on lap 165. "Clear all around. Good job, man."
The crew chief continued to give times. "60, 60. Leader a 45."
Lap 177 saw Dale lose the lead lap. He was in 23rd while Mikey was still running 30th.
"75, 75," said the #55 crew chief.
Sauter pit, moving Mikey up to 29th on lap 79.
"Got the 18 looking inside. He's got new tires. Clear all around. Outside, outside. 18 car by himself. Clear all around," Mark guided. Yeley's #18 was 27 laps down. "Clear, clear. Clear all around."
On lap 189, Mikey went a second lap down.
"All right, about twenty laps away before a fuel stop," said the crew chief on lap 196. Mikey was about seven seconds behind the leader at this point.
Lap 205 saw Earnhardt Jr pit when he was already two laps down. Seven laps later, Brian Vickers passed Mikey; however, the #55 was back in 29th when Joe Nemechek pit one lap later.
Others were making stops, starting on lap 213. The #55 team went over to the #1 box to ask them when they were going to pit so Mikey wouldn't be in the present leader's way when Truex Jr stopped.
"Next time by, next time by. Four tires. Keep your eyes open, Mark," said the crew chief.
Mikey pit on lap 219. The leaders were pitting too, and Clint Bowyer picked up the top spot. Dale pit one lap later, and Bowyer just after that.
On lap 222, Truex Jr was back in the lead. The #55 crew chief told Mikey his tires looked better.
"It didn't skate," Mikey said.
"What's that? I didn't copy."
"I said the set before this didn't skate."
After stops cycled, Mikey was 32nd and two laps down. Dale was 24th and one lap behind leader Truex Jr.
"33, 33. Leader flat," reported the crew chief. "20, 20. Leader 35. Good lap right there.
"35, 35. Leader a 20."
"Inside, inside. By himself. Clear behind him," Mark said.
On lap 235, Kyle Busch dropped Mikey back to 33rd. Three laps later, Dale went a second lap down. He was 24th.
"You're faster than the leader right there. Damn good lap," the crew chief said on lap 239. He gained 32nd from Gilliland the next time around the track.
"It's pushing but fast," Mikey replied.
"10-4 on the push."
Dale pit on lap 342, gaining the #55 31st. The #44 went six laps down.
Mark warned Mikey that Bill Elliott's #21 was down a cyllander in front of him.
"That's the best you've been all day," said his crew chief after reading off lap times. "Not bad."
"44 on the bottom. He's got motor problems," Mark told the team owner on lap 248. Dale had reported no water pressure before he came in. The UPS team put up the hood on pit road.
"Got the leader about twelve back. Doing good though, Mark said.
Mikey was three laps down on lap 260. Lead lap cars were now passing him.
The fourth caution was on lap 271. Cars involved were Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, and Greg Biffle. Biffle nudged Busch, who got in front of Stewart and was turned. Busch's #2 then stopped next to Stewart's #20 on pit road. Busch was parked for the day as a result.
"Got a wreck on the front straightaway. Caution's out, caution's out," Mark said. "Stay on the track there. Coming down."
"All right, was it any different on this run, or was it shoving its butt off?" the crew chief asked.
Mikey said the car was more consistant and the last adjustment helped the front tires a lot. "Probably need to do something more like that."
The crew chief said he was keeping up with a bunch of the leaders. "The 1 car was killing them. Nobody could catch them." He asked about temps.
"Yeah, 220 each."
"10-4." He said they'd take a tear-off and give him a drink.
"The windshield is fine, but I do need something to drink."
Drivers pit under caution. Eleven cars remained on the lead lap after Kasey Kahne received the free pass. Mark warned Mikey that the #41 was pitting behind them. Although it would be clear in and clear out of the box, he needed to leave room for Sorenson to get out of his box.
"I told him I didn't need a tear-off," Mikey said during the stop.
"Make sure the tires aren't leaking anywhere," the crew chief said. He said the tires looked a lot better, sixteen each.
"Yes it is."
He talked adjustments. "Good to see you racing, brother."
"Yeah, I'm not the slowest car out there," Mikey commented.
The crew chief noted he was faster than some cars and which cars he was racing.
Lap 280 saw the restart with Newman leading and Mikey in 28th and three laps down.
"Good corner there, buddy," Mark said eight laps into the run.
On lap 295, Truex Jr took back the top spot.
"25.80. There you go! Get your rhythm back," the crew chief said after Mikey had turned some significantlly slower laps. He asked if the back end was loose.
On lap 328, Mikey lost a fourth lap.
Ward Burton lost a tire and hit the wall, drawing the fifth caution on lap 329.
"Caution's out, caution's out. Got a car in the wall in Turn 2," Mark said.
"Did that make it any better?" asked the crew chief.
"Made it worse," Mikey replied.
"All right, 10-4."
"Just pushed really bad."
"All right, pit road will be open this time," Mark noted. "We'll wait one more, Mike."
Mikey said the car drives "real, real tight." He and his crew chief discussed a trackbar adjustment. The #55 pit under caution.
"Go go go go go. All the way, all the way. 3600," said the crew chief after the stop.
"Good job, y'all. Good job by y'all," Mikey praised his team.
"Okay, it will be one to go when you get here," said Mark. "One to go."
"All right, it will be 68 to go when you get the green here. 68 to go," the crew chief added. "Racing the 38 and 88, the 38 and 88."
"Okay, pace car's off. I'll just let you go when you go there," Mark observed. "Green green green."
Mikey was the first car to Newman's inside when racing resumed on lap 334. He was four laps down in 28th. He hit the wall twice on lap 338.
"I got a flat right rear," Mikey reported.
"Yeah, 10-4. It's flat. Stay with the pack here. Right rear bumper's loose, but the fender doesn't look that bad there."
"I got a flat right rear or a front one. I can't tell."
"Get caught up here. Come on," said the crew chief. "Get the barebones stuff ready."
"My steering wheel's moved a little, but I'm going to pit this time."
The crew chief told the team to change the tires first.
"The steering wheel shouldn't be a factor," Mikey added.
"Survey the damage as you go. Make it quick."
"Pace car in three," Mark noted.
The sixth caution was for Mikey. He pit under the yellow.
"Let's not lose a lap, Bobby."
"Let's make sure we don't lose a lap."
"Yeah, Mark," Bobby replied. He told Mikey to get caught up to the field and then come in.
"You think it's going to be one to go?"
"No sir, not yet. We need to catch up this time. Got a clean-up truck at the start line to the outside."
"How does it look, Mark? Is it flat?"
"Say it again?"
"The quarter panel. Is it flat?"
Mark said they could stop one more time. "Now they're calling one to go this time. One to go." When Bobby asked, Mark said it wasn't moving.
Mikey told Bobby he could stop quick, and his crew chief went with that. "I'm just gonna stop and go, so make sure you realise that."
"All right, we gotta go, we gotta go," Mark said during the stop.
"Go go go! All right 3600."
"Tail end of the field right there," Mark noted. "You're okay. Let's start there at the tail."
Lap 343 saw the restart. Newman led, and Mikey was 30th and four laps down. Truex Jr was all over the back of Newman's #12. He looked inside on lap 348 and moved back into the lead.
"About to spin out," Mikey said on lap 349.
"10-4. Take it easy. 25.40," Bobby replied.
Johnson wiggled on the track while trying to pass Newman on the low side and lost spots.
"25.90, 25.90. 50 laps to go," Bobby gave lap times. "85, 85.
"Got a spin right here," Mark warned.
"You said you were about to spin out," Bobby cued his driver for input.
"I mean it's like something's broken or bent spinning out," Mikey replied. "I'd bring that track bar down about four inches and hope that helps."
"10-4, that's on the plan already. Jeremy, give me about six on that thing," Bobby directed. "No fuel, no fuel."
The sixth caution was on lap 357 for David Gilliland's spin. Gilliland's #38 got into teammate Ricky Rudd's #88 as he went around.
"I'm talking something major wrong, so make sure you adjust me a lot - like a bunch," Mikey requested.
"10-4, we've got eight rounds on the track bar and an air pressure adjustment to snug you back up."
Mark said they needed to wait one more lap to pit. The leaders were making stops.
"Okay, that 38 car is the only one you're racing. 38 to go, Mike, 38 to go," Bobby said.
Mark warned Mikey that Casey Mears got the free pass and to go around him. "21's got that motor problem still," he added.
Racing resumed on lap 362. Truex Jr led, and Mikey was 28th and four laps down.
"Clear by five on the 38," Mark said on lap 370.
"85, 85. Pulling away from that 38," Bobby noted with 26 laps to go. "95, 95. Same as that 38 you're racing. He's one second behind you.
"80, 80. Pulling away from that 38."
Johnson slowed on lap 281 with a flat tire. He went to pit road.
Truex Jr passed the #55, putting Mikey a 5th lap down on lap 387. The #1 went on to win - Martin Truex Jr's first victory in Nextel Cup.
"Checkered flag, checkered flag," Mark told his driver.
"All right, that's 28th. Sorry I didn't have a better car for you," Bobby added. "You drove your ass off."
"Yeah, I'd be interested to see what's bent, because I've never driven one looser than this," Mikey replied.
Bobby said he could see how much Mikey was working it.
"It will be nicer to see what's bent so we can learn something to free 'er up."
"10-4. We'll check 'er out."
Next week's Nextel Cup race is the Pocono 500. Coverage starts Sunday at 12:30pm ET on TNT. The Busch Series' Federated Auto Parts 300 airs the day before at 6:30pm on ESPN2.