Friday Cup Practice, Live From Loudon by Kellyanne Lynch
27 June 2008
Michael Waltrip ranked 44th of 45 in practice today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in preparation for the Sprint Cup's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 on Sunday. He turned his fastest lap in 30.568 seconds at 124.601 MPH in his fourteenth of eighteen laps. His speed was 0.973 seconds behind session leader Kevin Harvick's. David Reutimann ranked 14th, (29.863 seconds / 127.542 MPH, thirtieth lap of 39, 0.268 seconds behind Harvick), and Michael McDowell was last (30.728 seconds / 123.952 MPH, first of 41, 1.133 seconds behind Harvick).
"I can't get it to start for some reason," Mikey said at the beginning of practice.
"What was that, bud?" crew chief Bobby Kennedy asked.
"Oh, I couldn't get it to start, but I finally did."
Bobby said they were on race pressures, a pound and a half up. Mikey and spotter Ty Norris performed a radio check. Cars lined up on pit road at 11:56am ET. Ty informed the team that tire temperatures were to be done behind pit wall near the Nationwide Series garages.
Cars were on track at 11:59. Mikey, David, and McDowell were held in line as only a certain number of cars were allowed on the track at a time. The #00 was on track at 12:00pm, and Mikey entered one minute later.
"Two more to go outside of you. 01," Ty said. "Nice and easy a couple of laps."
"I don't think this is going to cut it," Mikey commented during the run.
"31.30," Bobby read off the lap time.
"It just hits the ground and goes straight, major."
"I know everybody's sliding around, but this is effed up." Mikey said he was having problems more than where Bobby was seeing in Turns 3 and 4. "I don't know where to start.
"Feels like it's mainly left front that hits the splitter," he continued. He said it hit at two different times, and both were "effed up."
Bobby said the left front looked like it hit real hard. Mikey spent some time in the garage.
"Coming to you, spotter," Bobby said at 12:06pm.
"10-4," Ty replied.
"Motor feels late and like crap too," Mikey said after he was cleared onto the track.
"30.70, 30.70," Bobby read lap times. "70."
"Just feels terrible. The left front isn't hitting as bad. Just no grip," Mikey commented.
"All right, 10-4," Bobby replied.
"I feel like we should try rear spring or right rear spring," Mikey said. He asked if Bobby had done anything with rear bar.
"Well, just see what you see in the front. Hell, I don't care."
"Let's make sure we paint the splitter real good this time, guys," a crew member said.
"Feels like right front spring, not splitter," Mikey said. He told his team, if the splitter was hitting the right front, the left front wasn't hitting.
A crew member agreed.
Mikey was back in the garage at 12:09pm. He said he thought the problem was mainly in the back, because the front end turned decently. He wondered what a little spring or right rear would do but thought both were time consuming.
Bobby said they could put down the track bar, but Mikey wanted to work on the spring.
"Fifty out of the left rear and 11 right rear," Bobby said. He called for a right front adjustment and a tire sheet. "41. 4-1."
"Is matching that right front spring hard?" Mikey asked.
"I can't... the difference I'm seeing from Richmond... I don't know about that," Mikey replied.
Bobby asked if the bumps made it worse.
"Nothing makes it worse," Mikey replied. He said the right front spring pops, and the car felt like it was about to come around on him. "What sway bar is it?"
"Two to three eighths," Bobby replied. He asked if the right front was coming on and off or if it just laid down. Mikey said it was on and off. Bobby said they may have to hit it harder and go with a softer spring or that they could add rebound. Mikey said maybe rebound without tying it to the left front would help what he was feeling.
Bobby called for thirty on the round and asked, "Is the motor deal still lazy?"
"It just doesn't feel like it has any oomf at all," Mikey replied. "It feels like the world's slowest manifold or the world's goofiest carberator on it. It's weird, and it doesn't feel right.
"It feels like it's got about seven degrees too much timing too," he added.
Bobby told him to roll back and to have Kevin take a look at it. The #55 was out of the garage at 12:30pm.
"It might be running fine," Mikey said. It just seems it sounds funny, and as soon as I start going straight, I feel like I'm in a bind."
Bobby said they were getting a back up carberator ready inc ase he needed it. Ty cleared the #55 on track.
"75," Bobby read off lap times.
"What am I supposed to be running?" Mikey asked.
"50 would be good," Bobby replied. He said a lot of cars were running around where he was.
"A little bit more rear grip, a little bit less front grip maybe," Mikey said. He said he may as well guess like everyone else. He wanted to try a track bar adjustment and to see how that felt.
"Right on," Bobby replied.
"I think those rear springs are good," Mikey said. He thought the left front travel or springs were still an issue. He said they could either fix that or change bumps.
Bobby wanted to just try track bar.
Mikey said they needed to do something with the left front now, because it hit all the way down in the corner and it was getting to him.
"Left front spring," Bobby said.
"One thing it does good under throttle is turn," Mikey commented. "That's unusual here."
"42 and a half," Bobby said.
"10-4," someone replied.
Bobby said they would take four-tenths out of somewhere tomorrow. Mikey asked if a two and three quarter bar were lighter.
"Yes, light weight all the way through," Bobby replied.
"Is there any reason why we think we can put a little wedge in it with another right front, or are we happy?" Mikey asked.
Bobby said that would send him out into the field. They talked about working with wedge next.
Mikey was back on track at 12:32pm.
"I got a whole lot of pedal travel when I get on the brakes, but it doesn't bother me if you want to check it out," Mikey said.
Ty cleared Mikey behind Robby Gordon's #7 car and commented that people were running the bottom now.
Bobby read off lap times. "60.
"That was... that was better. I like that. Better," Mikey said. He asked for a softer right front so he can get in mind what he's feeling.
Bobby called for an eight inch right front. A crew member unhooked the front shock.
"This is definitely going to be softer," Mikey said.
"Yes, you're going to hit sooner." Bobby asked if that's what Mikey were looking for.
"I don't know. I'm just looking for different," Mikey replied. "How much room do I have left on track bar?" He wanted to go up another inch.
Bobby said they would go with that.
Mikey wanted all the right front cambre he could have. Bobby told him they could get a little bit more.
"And am I towed in or out?" Mieky asked.
"Just a little towed out. 16th," Bobby replied.
"what's the story on truck arms?"
"3 inch split. Maximum tow in rear."
Mikey said going up half right now would take too long. He wanted to add cambre and to make a small spring adjustment.
Bobby told his driver the right front cambre was maxxed out according to tires.
Mikey said he wanted to do reverse engineering on what the track bar does. "Be nice if we can get ideas, and someone chases it out of us."
Bobby said he didn't know.
"Come here, Bobby," Mikey requested. He said it would be also nice to speed into the corner at either Richmond, Phoenix, or Loudon to see what travels they should have, because they had come here "way off."
Mikey said he was looking at the sheets and that they usually weren't up so high. He said their philosophy was right but that they had to tweak it a little bit. He also told his crew, if they didn't see anything on the motor to leave it, because he didn't necessarily know.
Bobby said he was wondering about the carberator and would have it checked.
Mikey commented that it felt like everything was little and that it felt like 7000. He said it went in and flickered when at pit road speed in the corners.
The #55 was back out at 12:48pm. Ty cleared Mikey on track.
"70, 70. That will be good. Come on to me. Get 'er ready for qualifying," Bobby said.
"Motor feels like it blew," Mikey told his crew chief. "It calmed everything down, but it made it too tight. I killed it, except it didn't work."
Bobby asked if the changes worked.
"We gotta change motors. I bet it blew up."
The #55 team talked about changing motors at 12:54pm, and they did before practice ended at 1:30pm.