Cup Practice, Live From Loudon by Kellyanne Lynch
29 June 2007
Three Michael Waltrip Racing entries completed the first Nextel Cup practice session of the weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. Rookie David Reutimann ranked 9th, having turned a 29.684-second lap in 128.312 MPH in his fifth of nineteen circuits. He was 0.246 seconds behind session leader Dave Blaney. Team owner Michael Waltrip and veteran driver Dale Jarrett ranked 34th and 35th respectively. Mikey's best lap was his nineth of twenty-three, which he completed in 30.012 seconds at 126.908 MPH. He was 0.574 seconds slower than Blaney. Dale trailed Blaney by 0.613 seconds with his 30.051-second circuit at 126.745 MPH on his eighteenth of nineteen laps.
Because Busch Series rookie practice directly preceded the session, David had to run from the Busch garage to get to his #00 Burger King Toyota. His spotter and cousin Shawn Reutimann told the #00 team that their driver would be out of breath when he arrived.
"Sounds like he needs to get in shape there," crew chief Frankie Kerr commented. "He looks really white, like he's going to pass out." He said he wondered what David looked like after a full night of sleep.
Shawn laughed. "Yeah, right!"
Cars took to the track at noon. Four minutes later, a #55 crew member said they were buckling in Mikey and were about ready to go.
Back on the #00 frequency, someone asked if they had a penalty last week. Frankie said no. Dale's #44 UPS Camry was sitting on pit road, where an official held him for fifteen minutes for being three minutes late to tech inspection. The #00 team talked about it only being the #44 that was getting penalised.
When David came on the radio at 12:06pm, Frankie said they were on "stickers, qualifying commode." He reminded David to put on his fans and that the tires were cooled off.
The #55 was on track at 12:07pm, cleared after Juan Pablo Montoya's #42. The #00 joined him one minute later.
Bobby Kennedy read off lap times for the #55. "30.45.
"I don't know what it did," Mikey commented as he returned to the garage. He told his crew to look at everything, because the car was doing everything "of course, like it always does."
Meanwhile, David turned a 29.82. He said he needed to be a little tighter through the centre of the turn. When he put wheel to it, the car "juked around" on him. He said he needed to make more time and to be a little freer on exit. "It really jumps around through the centre."
Both the #55 and the #00 were back in the garage at 12:10pm. Mikey said the tires felt bad on the second lap and needed more air and heat. He said he felt it needed a tad more forward bite. It was tight in the centre, and the back end snapped around on him in Turn 4. The #55 team decided to top off the fuel tank.
"I didn't feel any splitter action," Mikey commented.
Bobby said he was fifth quick with his 30.24 and had picked up a decent amount the second time out. Dave Blaney and Jeremy Mayfield had been out. Paul Menard had just been out and had beat Mikey, and Bill Elliott had already run four laps.
The #55 was back on track at 12:18pm. Spotter Ty Norris cleared him back to Turn 3. The Napa Camry ran a 30.40, 30.35, and a 30.20.
"Well those changes sucked," he commented.
"What did that do for you as far as sucking?" Bobby asked.
Mikey said the car turned worse. It had lost front grip and was "more of a handful."
Meanwhile, the #00 team talked about ending practice early due to their early qualifying draw. David took to the track and turned a 29.84 and a 24.68. David reported that the car was better, "just right on the edge." He said the adjustments had helped the car through the centre, but he needed help all the way through, especially in the exit. Frankie said they were two-tenths of a second better and wanted to try scuffs. The #00 was back in the garage with fifty minutes left in practice.
Back in the #55 garage, Mikey was telling his team that the car had lost front and rear grip badly on both ends during that last run. "If someone heard me, they need to tell me."
A crew member said he had.
Mikey asked how the #44 was doing. Bobby told the car owner about Dale's fifteen minute penalty. The #44 had then run a 30.68. He said Dale's car was not bad, just a tick tight. He ranked second and was a little free in the centre of the turns.
Bobby asked if wedge would help the car. Mikey reiterated where the car lost grip and said he didn't know.
The #00 was back on track at 12:32pm but was stopped on pit road for a debris caution. The #55 came out of the garage, and Mikey was told to line up behind David. When asked, he said it looked like the #00 was on scuffs.
The track was cleared at 12:34pm, and the #00 and #55 took to the track. David ran a 29.87, and Mikey ran a 30.25 on that first lap. David ran a 29.89 next. He said he had screwed up the second lap, that he needed more rear brake, and that the car felt tighter. Frankie said they would put tires on the #00, top off the fuel tank, and "make sure we're not screwing ourselves."
Meanwhile, Mikey was two tenths slower on his run. Bobby called for a front shock change, four tires, and fuel. He asked for temps, which Mikey said were at 210 and 215. At 12:37, both the #55 and the #00 were in the garage.
Mikey said the car needed to turn better. He was fine off the turn but didn't get through the middle right. Bobby called for an air pressure adjustment.
"That put me in line with the stars," Mikey commented. Bobby said they were 4th and 11th of the cars that needed to qualify on time.
Mikey wanted to go up five or six pounds on the right sides and see what it does. Bobby said they were already up high when they went out.
"Hey, Ty, is Dale on the track?" Mikey asked.
Ty said no. The UPS Camry was still too tight and didn't run a second lap due to the debris caution.
On the #00 frequency, Frankie told his crew, "Someone get the driver out of the hauler." He asked about Dave Blaney's run on the track. Shawnn said the #22 had run one lap.
The #55 was back on track at 12:47pm and ran a 30.15 and a 30.05.
"Well shit!" Mikey exclaimed. "That was pretty good, just too tight." He said he liked the handling in the centre of the turn but was just a little tight. He suggested an adjustment and was back in the garage at 12:50pm.
David came on track as Mikey left. As the #00 ran a warm-up lap, the #55 team talked about putting on qualifiers.
Mikey said he wanted one more set of sticker tires to see what the car would do and told the team to think about an air pressure adjustment. "All those changes were fine. I just pushed too much," he added. He told them to do what they were going to do.
Once up to speed, the #00 ran a 29.90.
"Can't get it through the centre right," David told his team. He said his temperature was 220 at the line and that the nose wouldn't settle in the corner. He felt tighter in the centre with the right rear shock adjustment.
Frankie asked if the car were free anywhere. David said it was on late exit.
"If we're stopping early, we only have twenty five minutes," Shawn warned.
The #00 was back in the garage at 12:53pm. David said he felt tighter, even coming to the warm-up lap.
Meanwhile, the #55 team made air pressure changes and took the right front shock rebound out. They put compression in the right rear tire and put on stickers.
"Coming back to you, Ty," Bobby told the spotter.
Mikey returned to the track at 12:56pm. When asked if the #22 looked like they were on stickers or scuffs, Mikey said scuffs. David joined him two minutes later.
The #55 got up to speed first and ran a 30.19.
"I don't know why you had me do all you did," Mikey complained. He said the car pushed worse, it was a waste of a run, and he was plowing. When someone began to respond, he said, "Don't place blame! Just fix it!"
Meanwhile, David ran a 29.90, and Bobby said he wanted to change the left front shock.
"Too tight, guys. Too tight," David reported. He said they probably just needed to put it back the way it was, because it was plowing the nose.
Frankie said they had run an 82 and an 85. "All right, kid, the track got hotter for one."
On the #55 frequency, Mikey said he was pushing really badly in the corner coming to the green and then was fine after that. He suggested a tire adjustment.
David was telling the #00 team to put things back where they were and that he would deal with it. He said the car rotates through the centre but the car goes way up the track and loses time.
Back on the #55 frequency, Mikey asked if the #44 had gained any time. Ty told him Dale had run a 30.13 and was 9th of the cars that needed to race onto the qualifying grid. "You guys are all laying on each other. A hankerchief could cover you all."
"He sounds like a girl, don't he," Mikey replied.
His crew told him that the #00 team was changing shocks that didn't help much so they were going back out. The #44 looked like they were scuffing, but someone would need to ask.
Mikey said he was planning on going up to speed in Turn 3 and then just quitting.
"Okay," Frankie replied.
Both the #55 and the #00 were on track at 1:08pm. Mikey ran a partial lap and then quit.
"Hey, don't let me tell y'all what pressure to put in these tires," he said. "I'm just telling you what I felt."
Meanwhile, David said he was too loose and couldn't believe it went from one extreme to the other."
Frankie told him he had run faster.
"Dang it!" David exclaimed. He said even with scuffs, they woudl still be there.
"Scuff tires. Get cold ones," Frankie directed the crew.
He was told to scuff half a corner and that they were putting back wedge.
On the #55 frequency, Mikey asked for more tape, and Bobby agreed to it. Mikey was back on track at 1:14pm, cleared on new tires behind AJ Almendinger. The #55 ran a 30.43.
"It's fucking plowing," Mikey complained. "Do something to free it up. How much time we got?"
He was told fifteen minutes.
"As soon as I pick up the gas, it wants to go to the right."
The #55 team talked about the #00 wedge change that affected the centre. Mikey told his team to go ask Frankie what the #00 did and see if they can use it.
Ten minutes remained in practice. The #00 prepared to make a last run. Frankie said he wouldn't change a lot. David talked about being able to spin something with his foot that he didn't think he was supposed to be able to do. He was told he was right.
At 1:22pm, the #00 came back on the track. Meanwhile, Mikey asked if anyone had run fast lately.
"Just basically a classic push," Mikey described his car. He said he got in fine and turned okay but was going straight when he wanted to turn.
The #55 was on track at 1:24pm.
Meanwhile, the #00 wrapped up the session.
"Good job today, guys. Thanks!" David praised his crew.
Mikey turned a 30.48 on the track. He said he was "Real real loose, as loose as it was pushing."
Two minutes remained in practice.
Mikey said the car just looked real, real loose. "Darn it. I wish we had started like that. Everything else was bullshit changes." He said good job to his crew. "We're going to make this race. Don't worry about it."