Qualifying, live from Pocono by Kellyanne Lynch
6 June 2008
Michael Waltrip was much happier with his #55 Napa Auto Parts Camry in Sprint Cup qualifying at Pocono than he had been in practice earlier this afternoon. He ranked 19th with a 53.655 second lap at 167.738 MPH that was 0.782 seconds behind pole winner Kasey Kahne.
"That was the best we've run," Mikey said after his run. "Practice earlier, I ran about a tenth slower than that. More importantly, that's the best it felt. The track's probably a little bit hotter than it was earlier and I ran a faster time, but what matters to me is I could really feel my tires up underneath me -- the front ones at least. And, those are the ones that generally cause me trouble. "
Michael Waltrip Racing drivers David Reutimann and Michael McDowell ranked 36th and 40th respectively. David ran a 54.025 second lap at 166.590 MPH (1.152 seconds behind Kahne), while McDowell's 54.127-second lap at 166.276 MPH was 1.254 seconds behind the pole winner.
Spotter Ty Norris was the first person on the #55 radio in qualifying. "Got a copy on me, M-Dub? Got the radio on down there, Paul?" he asked.
"Gotcha," Mikey replied.
Bobby said that Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart, who had already taken times, had reported that the track was slick.
Mikey was the sixth driver to take time and was on track at 3:51pm ET. After the #55 turned a lap, crew chief Bobby Kennedy read off the lap time. "65, 65." The #55 ranked last at the time.
"Well, we helped our car," Mikey reported. "I was just too loose, but the front end worked better. We helped her."
Bobby told his driver he'd run a 65 while Brian Vickers had run a 60. He also asked Mikey if he could feel the left front better.
"That was a pretty good lap," Mikey stated. He said he was being conservative, so he couldn't hammer it. "Y'all did a good job with it in turn 3," he praised his crew. He said he was pretty happy with what he did. He pointed out that he hadn't beat anybody, but at least the car was better.
Bobby said they'd look at the car tomorrow and that Mikey had given them direction. He considered pulling back the housing and getting more tow.
"What's this 9 car about ready to run? He looks like the fucking 12 car did in Charlotte," Mikey commented. He then added that his car was loose but more predictable.
"Good job," Bobby praised. He pointed out that Kevin Harvick had just run an 80. "Wish I could have taken air out of the right rear."
A crew member said at least they know air out of the right tire will make the car really loose.
Bobby praised the crew and said they'd get ready for the next day.
Several minutes later, somebody on the #44 commented that the track was a lot hotter. More minutes passed before somebody on the #00 radio talked about going with a half or a whole pound into the car somewhere. They decided to go with a whole pound, and somebody commented that the track temperature was at 111 degrees.
"Is Michael at the car yet?" somebody on the #00 frequency asked.
"No," came the reply.
Again, somebody repeated on the #00 frequency that the track temperature was 111 degrees. McDowell came on the radio not too long later and asked about speeds. His crew chief gave them to him.
Meanwhile, on the #44 radio, somebody said to tell David that Mikey had been a little looser in qualifying.
The #00 took to the track at 4:26pm. McDowell was the 22nd driver on track.
After turning his first lap, the driver said, "I might need to run a second. I messed up Turn 1."
"That was a 54.12," his crew chief said of the first lap. He asked for temps.
"230, 240. What was it?" McDowell asked.
"54.14. First was your best at 54.12." He asked McDowell to repeat tempearatures. "How's the car?"
"Just loose, turn 1. Loose in the middle of 3. Just loose," the driver replied.
The #44 went out 28th at 4:43pm.
"54.02," crew chief Ryan Pemberton said after David turned his lap.
"30. Fuck! I was, I had a 75 on the backstretch. Just tight, damn tight. Tight in the exit, tight in the tunnel. Damn it." He said they needed to get better with qualifying and pointed out that they used to be. "Every week, we dig ourselves a bigger hole."
Check back tomorrow for Saturday's practice report!
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 19th
Are you pleased with your qualifying run?
"That was the best we've run. Practice earlier I ran about a tenth slower than that. More importantly, that's the best it felt. The track's probably a little bit hotter than it was earlier and I ran a faster time, but what matters to me is I could really feel my tires up underneath me -- the front ones at least. And, those are the ones that generally cause me trouble. "
Was the test here beneficial?
"Well, it gave us a lot of confidence when we left after the test because we felt like we had a pretty solid set-up and a solid test. When we got back here, we didn't feel the same feeling. So, testing is crazy. Sometimes you wonder about it all, but you learn. Basically, what we need is more track time with these cars."