Mikey 36th at Chicago by Kellyanne Lynch
12 July 2008
Michael Waltrip's #55 Napa Auto Parts Camry came in 36th and two laps down in the Lifelock 400, tonight's Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. One of his drivers, David Reutimann, crossed the stripe in 14th in the #44 UPS Toyota. The other - rookie Michael McDowell in the #00 Champion Morgage machine - finished eight laps down in 43rd after getting pushed into the wall on the fourth lap of the race.
"Leffler just crashed us," McDowell explained at the end of the race. "It was just that simple. You never know until you see it but I know he hit me. I don’t know if he got loose or what he did but it’s awfully convenient we’re racing the 66 for the top-35 and the 70 takes us out. It’s all right. We’ll just bounce back. If they want to play that way for the top-35 then we can do the same. We’ve got three cars to their two. We can take care of it if we need to."
Rain washed out qualifying, and high winds took over the track earlier today. However, the race went on as scheduled.
"You got me, Ty?" crew chief Bobby Kennedy addressed spotter Ty Norris over the radio at 8:05pm ET. After a minute with no response, he added, "Ty?
Brendan Fraser gave the call to start engines at 8:08pm.
"All right, everybody copy?" Ty asked.
"I got you," Mikey replied.
"10-4. Thank you."
"Bobby, say something."
"1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4," Bobby replied, followed by a radio frequency closing noise.
"You have one of those radios that squelches when you let off the radio, like a regular crew guy," Mikey pointed out. "Like 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4." Mikey then made the sound effect for what the radio was doing.
Bobby said he'd go have it changed.
"You hear that, Ty?" Mikey asked the spotter.
"Yeah," Ty replied.
"That would drive me absolutely... by lap 30," Mikey said. "I don't know know the deal is with those radios, but when somebody who doesn't talk reguarly talks, it happens."
Bobby said he'd had his radio worked on by someone at Racing Electronics today.
"Well go find them and tell them they did a nice job of messing up your radio."
"I'm on the way with one now, Bobby," a crew member replied.
"All right, is that any better right there?"
"Okay. Glen, swap that one with Billy right there. We're okay."
"Thanks, Bobby," Ty said. A minute later, he asked about pit road speed. "You got an estimate for Michael, Bobby?"
"That would be 4150, 4150."
"That sounds good. We can go with that."
"All right, 10-4. We're going to be the fourth pit in, fourth pit in. Ty, you get him to the line, I'll get him to
"So the speed starts at that poi... at that poi... haha! At that cone?" Mikey asked.
Bobby confirmed this.
"Yeah, looked like people were speeding past that point last night, but I knew it was that cone, so I'll make sure I'm right by then."
"Yeah, I saw the same thing, and I couldn't believe some of them weren't busted for that," Ty commented.
"We've got a mandatory caution on lap 35, lap 35. No fuel until that point, Art," Bobby informed the team.
"I'm a little bit nervous, Bobby, about this set-up," Mikey admitted. "I know we checked it out yesterday, but I felt what felt like some splitter hitting just on the parade lap just a little bit, so be thinking about that. Maybe it's nothing. I'm just a little bit nervous."
"Yeah, if it is hitting, we can start putting a little bit of wedge back into it and adjust that corner." Bobby said he may also be feeling where they adjusted the splitter before.
Bobby told his driver to tighten his belts and to get ready for the green. "Have a great evening. Heads up in here, everybody. Put it on this evening.
"And keep in mind, your air is a little bit higher than it was in practice, so that splitter may come up when you get running."
"Okay, y'all too. I mean, we might have really, I think we really worked well in practice, got it close. So we'll adjust it and get some points here," Mikey said. "I know they're about ready to throw the green, and I'm supposed to be paying attention."
Ty announced the green at 8:18pm. The field was set according to points, so Kyle Busch led the field. Mikey was 28th, David was 29th, and Michael McDowell was 34th. JJ Yeley's #96 was immediately penalised with a pass-through penalty for a weights change.
"Clear half back. Clear half back to the 44. Inside. Still inside, still there. Still there, inside. Got a couple more with him. Inside."
Lap 5 saw Michael McDowell go to pit road after Jason Leffler's #70 swept him up into the wall after getting loose in the corner.
"Still there inside - the 7. Inside. Clear now, clear."
"Nah, now it's hitting where it wasn't hitting yesterday - up high," Mikey commented.
"Okay," Bobby replied.
"Inside, the 7. Inside."
"It's almost like something broke."
"Still there. Inside. Clear half back. Still there inside. On your corner. Inside, the 77."
"Bobby, I think something's messed up. It's never done this," Mikey said on lap 8. He was 34th. David was 28th, and McDowell was 43rd and still off track.
"10-4, 10-4. Keep me posted. Try to ride it out," Bobby replied. "32.70, 32.70."
"Still there," Ty warned. "Still there, inside. Clear, all clear."
"Inside. Clear now, clear."
"I don't guess anything's broke. I just think it's all over this splitter."
Bobby acknowledged and told Mikey he'd run a 32.80. The #55 was 33rd on lap 14.
"The 01 trying to come inside, inside. Still there, inside. Small hole if you need it. Clear. Clear that one."
"We've really messed up. I can't drive it. It's real bouncy," Mikey reported on lap 16. McDowell was back on track, five laps down.
Bobby noted that the competition yellow was coming. "I'll put some wedge in it, shorten that travel a bit, bud. 85, 32.85."
"It drives okay, if it wasn't so bouncy."
Ty kept noting when someone got inside the #55.
"I don't need to know every time he does that," Mikey said, referring to Sam Hornish Jr's #77. Mikey was momentarily 32nd when he crossed the line ahead of Hornish one lap.
"Inside. He's there to your corner. Inside. Still there. Ten to go before the competition caution. Clear behind him if you need it. Clear two back. All clear. Clear one back. The 01's got a big run. Inside. Clear down if you need it. Still outside, both of them. The 5 barely outside. Clear, clear."
Lap 28 saw Mikey in 32nd, having passed Casey Mears' #5.
"Still clear one back, one back."
"Is it still hitting about the same, bud?" Bobby asked on lap 30.
"Oh, yeah. And it's pushing the right front."
Bobby said he'd make an air pressure adjustment on the right front.
"If we've got to do all that, we might as well led that lap."
Bobby said they would.
"How come nobody's told me where the leader is?"
"Leader's at the line now. Four before the competition caution."
"33 flat right there, 33 flat. Leader 75."
By lap 32, Mikey was 33rd. David was 26th, and McDowell was six laps down and last.
"Inside," Ty warned. "The 6 is going to be peaking inside, inside. Back to clear. Three more."
"This is my fault that we screwed this car up," Mikey stated.
"It's okay. We'll fix it up."
Ty warned Mikey that the #70 was coming but said so was the competition yellow. "We'll be in good shape. Clear behind that 70 if you need it. Clear all clear. Caution's out, caution's out."
The competition yellow was on lap 36
"Just really pushing that right front tire," Mikey reported. "It's clobbering the road. I've really got a bad deal here. I should have left that other set-up in it. I just screwed up. I'm really sorry. It's going to be really hard to overcome this. It's pushing so bad, that even if it wasn't hitting the road, I'd be in trouble."
Bobby called for rounds in the right front and an air pressure adjustment. "All right, it will be two rounds on that right front corner, Chris. Two rounds."
Ty warned Mikey that cars were checking up.
"Quicky yellow. Okay. Quicky yellow," Bobby informed the team.
"You're going to pit this time then?" Ty asked.
"Does that mean one to go next time by?"
"They won't give us three laps, which is what we'd need," Ty replied. "4150. On pit road."
"Around the 00. Right here, right here."
"Fuck," someone said while the #55 was in the pit box.
"Pace car's just now in 2," Ty warned.
"Okay, guys, nice and smooth. We're okay," Bobby said. The #55 went to pit road, along with all cars save the #00. "Okay, 4150, 4150."
"4150, buddy. It'll be one to go when you come around."
Bobby told Mikey all the adjustments he made. They worked on air pressure, track bar, and travels.
"Needs about five out of the right front, it feels like," Mikey replied.
"Okay, 10-4, 10-4."
"Should have left it alone, man, because I'm just telling you, you know, it's just so hard to change a car back, even if you've got the measurements, and we should have left it alone, because these cars, you can't just switch them around," Mikey said. "Getting up to speed here, leaving the pits, it felt like it was going to hit some more."
"10-4. Just keep me posted. We've got a long evening here," Bobby reminded his driver.
"All right, bud, be ready. You'll be coming around to the green this time," Ty said.
Kyle Busch led hte restart on lap 39. Mikey was 39th, David was 29th, and McDowell was 43rd and six laps down. Mikey hopped up to 37th one lap into the run.
"Still outside. Still there," Ty warned. "Still outside. Still on your corner. Still out there, still there. 66 going to be looking, outside. Still outside. Clear now clear. Clear. Great corner."
Lap 43 saw Carl Edwards take the lead. By the next lap, David was up to 26th. Mikey was 37th, and McDowell was last. Denny Hamlin slowed dramatically and rode the apron and the #11 kept cutting off.
"Really slow on the bottom, slow on the bottom. On the apron," Ty warned. "Looks like he's rolling again. It's the 11. Clear the 70. Clear. Slow on the bottom, slow on the bottom. Still outside on your corner. Still there, still there. Still outside. Clear the 5. All clear."
Mikey was 33rd on lap 47. David was 25th, and McDowell was last.
"Still there. Clear, clear. They're going to throw the caution. Caution's out."
The second caution was on lap 48 when Hamlin stalled in Turns 3 and 4. Bobby asked about the car. No one received the free pass as it would have gone to Hamlin, but he was involved in the incident that drew the yellow.
"It's off the road. It's horribly tight off, but it was better."
Bobby said he would put more air in the right front.
"Pit road's going to be closed first time around," Ty noted.
Bobby called for an air pressure adjustment and a couple more rounds of track bar. "Two up, two up. A pound out of that right front, open that right front, and we'll get four tires here."
"All right, pit road's going to be open this time. 4150. Fourth one in."
Bobby said they'd take four tires but asked Ty to pay attention to what other drivers were doing.
"Hey, if that 8 car comes and takes two, make sure he doesn't pop out in front of us," Ty warned.
"Watch that 6 also," the driver requested. "See if you can see what he's doing."
"10-4. I'll watch him. Okay, hold up hold up hold up. Right here," Bobby guided the #55 to the box. "Go go go. 4150, 4150."
"Golly!" Mikey said.
"Ty, on that right there, you're going to have to watch the 6," Bobby told the spotter. "I can't see. Michael, you can probably see him better than I can. I can't help you with that cat."
"Got it," Mikey replied. "Don't worry about it."
Jeff Gordon picked up the lead under yellow. Hamlin was sent to the rear of the field for being too fast exitting on pit road. Jeff Burton was also penalised.
"All right, bud, coming to the green this time, coming to the green this time. They're going to make the 11 come to the rear, so he'll be stopped off Turn 3. Pace car's off. Ready? Green green green."
Gordon led the lap 53 restart. Mikey was 32nd, David was 28th, and McDowell was 43rd and six laps down.
"Clear one back, clear one back. Clear three back. No pressure."
"31.90," Bobby read off lap times. "95, 95."
"It's doing it again. I'm trying to keep it out of the infield," Mikey commented on lap 57. "We just made it crazy on entry and plowing off."
"All right, I'll get that track bar back down."
Greg Biffle took the lead on lap 55.
"Got one back. Looking low, the 96. Inside. Clear down there. Clear one back to the 19."
Lap 59 saw Mikey lose a spot to JJ Yeley. He was now 33rd. David was 26th, and McDowell was last.
"Clear half back. 19's going to have a big run up top. He's going to be coming outside, outside, outside. Clear two back behind him to the 01."
Mikey lost another position one lap later to Elliott Sadler.
"Clear all... one back," Ty spotted.
By lap 65, Mikey was 35th.
"We still need to work on the right front," Mikey commented.
"Okay, 10-4," Bobby replied.
"Unless you see something different on the build-ups."
Bobby said the right side did have a lot of build-up.
"Now it's just backing in, plowing on exit."
"All right, 10-4."
"All right, bud, just keep digging," Ty encouraged. "Leader's at the line now."
"33.15, 15," Bobby noted.
By lap 78, Mikey was 35th, David was 22nd, and McDowell was last and now seven laps down.
"Still on your corner. Still outside. Clear up there. Clear three back to the 78. A look inside. Back to clear, clear. All by himself, all by himself. All clear. 11's inside. He's come back from the back. A couple laps down. There you go, bud. still down there. All clear, one back."
Mikey picked up 34th from Hornish Jr on lap 84.
"15, 33.15. Leader a 65," Bobby reported.
"All right, bud. Leader's a straightaway back," Ty warned.
"90, 90. Pretty good lap right there. Looking at the rest of the field, that's pretty good."
"Too tight," Mikey complained on lap 91.
"10-4. We're about twelve away from pitting, about twelve. I'll get you freed back up here. 33.10."
Lap 92 saw Brian Vickers take the lead.
"The leader's just pitted. The leader's just pitted," Ty noted as Biffle went to pit road.
Vickers pit the next time around the track, giving the lead to Tony Stewart. Mikey was 31st.
"Still clear two back to the 31," Ty observed.
Mikey was 30th on lap 94. He was 28th the next time around the track with David in 18th and McDowell last.
"31 inside you now. There you go. Still there. Clear clear. The leader's the 20, at the line now. 01's down there. Inside. Still right on your corner."
Cars continued to pit. Mikey was 26th by lap 100. David was 18th, and McDowell was 43rd and seven laps down. David gained a spot the next time around the track.
"Pit this time. Pit this time right there. This time by. Four tires. This time by," Bobby instructed.
"4150 at the cone. Through three, we'll cut it down on four," Ty guided.
"5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Right there, right here. Wheels straight, put on the brakes. Four tires, four tires."
The #55 was on pit road on lap 102.
"Go go go go go. All the way out, all the way out. 4150, 4150," Bobby directed.
"4150. We'll dig at the cone. All right, bud, let's roll. Let's stay below the yellow line though 'til we get to turn 2. It will be clear when you get there, clear when you get there. The 16 and the 83, obviously they pit before us. They'll have the fresher tires. When it cycles around, he'll be the leader, the 16."
Many other cars came to pit road. Martin Truex Jr led lap 105. Kurt Busch was issued a pass-through penalty under green for being too fast entering pit road.
Stops cycled by lap 106 when Truex Jr pit. Travis Kvapil ran over the cone, and he was issued a pass-through penalty. Biffle led, Mikey was 32nd and lapped, David was 21st, and McDowell was seven laps down in 43rd.
"Clear two back to the 20, two back to the 20. Inside. Clear behind him," Ty noted.
"It's just all over the place," Mikey reported.
"10-4," Bobby responded.
"It's bouncing in, tight off."
"All right, 10-4, 10-4."
Lap 109 saw Mikey gain 30th. He was still lapped. David was 19th.
"Do what you can do, brother, do what you can do. That 43 in front of you is the lucky dog," Ty encouraged.
"70, 70. 45 on that 43."
"Inside, inside. 31's going to try to look with him."
"All right," Bobby said.
"Hey, I think my splitter dug in," Mikey commented.
"Okay, looks clear on TV here."
The third caution was out on lap 111.
Mikey explained the incident. "Okay. Um, the boy in the 10 wiped out, and the boy in the 31 about run me over."
The #10 of Patrick Carpentier had slid quite a bit, and Burton got into the back of the #55 when Mikey slowed for him and spun the Napa Toyota.
Bobby commented that the boy in the 31 - Jeff Burton - just about wiped out too.
"Oh yeah, it's jsut terrible. Really bad. You just, it's just screwed up, I mean, I feel like it's my fault. I really thought I should leave it like it was, so shit. I don't know what to do with it. It's really got issues. It bounces it, and it plows off, and you know, I can live with the bouncing in, if it bounces off and it turns, but it won't."
"It's really really tight on exit and really really messed up on entry, so whatever you can do for me there, that's what I need."
"Earlier today, when we pit for tires, it would at least run really good for two laps and then go all to pieces," Mikey said. However, he reported the car plowed right off now.
"Biffle said everything looks good clearance-wise."
"Looks like we've got a chunk of grass hanging out the back, is all I see," Bobby observed.
"Like a bulldozer, it plows," Mikey added.
The #55 pit under yellow.
"Did you put the track bar up some?" Mikey asked.
"Hang on a sec. Okay. Hang on, hang on." Bobby then addressed the crew.
"How about rubbers in the right rear. Are we doing anything about that? Are we thinking about that shit?" Mikey asked.
Bobby talked with the crew more. A crew member reported that four of the five safety wires have broke. He sent his driver back on track.
"What do you want me to do?" Mikey asked.
"Bobby, you want him to stay out?"
Bobby said Mikey should stay out
"I might could come and get one," Mikey suggested. He said that wouldn't hurt anything.
Bobby called in the #55 to get the one on the left side.
"I just want to be a second. You know what I mean. Just give me a second, and then I'll go."
They talked about the problems with the car with the wires. Mikey said it wasn't good the last time he felt the car vibrating like this. Bobby said they should be good with what they had now.
Matt Kenseth led the lap 117 restart. Mikey was one lap down in 39th. David was 14th, and McDowell was last. Kenseth and Busch ran side-by-side.
"It's shaking so bad, I can't see," Mikey reported.
"10-4," Bobby replied.
"Outside, outside. He's got help. He's got people up there with him. The 15 outside, a couple others stuck on top with him. Outside. Inside and out, inside and out. Clear now behind the 24. Outside, outside."
On lap 121, Kyle Busch took the lead. Mikey was 38th.
"Still out there. Clear up if you need it. Three-wide behind you. Outside. Outside, outside. Still outside, outside. 1 car coming outside, outside. Clear behind him if you need it. Clear three back behind him if you need it. Got a run coming. 96. He's one back, one back. Clear outside now, outside."
One lap later, Mikey was 37th.
"Inside. Clear one back to the 45. Inside, the 45. Outside. Okay, 43. Clear behind the 43."
Matt Kenseth went to pit road on lap 123 with a flat tire.
"Clear up if you need it."
"I've got real issues with this, with this thing in the front," Mikey commented.
"10-4, 10-4, bud. We're getting geared up, geared up here."
"Did you get an eyeball on it?"
"10-4. Yes, we will."
"Gonna have a run inside, inside. 21."
"Y'all need to do more stuff for me," Mikey stated.
"Got a run inside. Two of them. Inside, inside. Got another one with him. The 70, inside. All right, clear three back to the 7. Clear three back. Inside, inside. Looking low. Inside, inside, inside."
"Inside, one more. Clear behind him, two back. Got the 17 coming pretty fast. He'll be coming on the bottom."
On lap 130, Kenseth's #17 passed. Mikey was 38th.
"Inside - 00."
"I mean, we just need to be more ready," Mikey said. "The splitter's about to shake off this thing."
"10-4. 10-4, bud," Bobby replied.
"You're clear two back to the 10. Bobby, you're going to have to replace the whole thing. You're missing about half of it."
"Yeah, 10-4, that's what we're doing."
"Yeah, 10-4. I didn't know if you'd seen it. It just now happened."
"I just tell you. This sucks," Mikey commented. "It's missing half of it, and nobody bothers to tell me."
"Michael, you weren't missing it when you started the run. I believe it just come off," Ty told his driver.
Mikey was 39th on lap 136. David was 13th, and McDowell was last.
"33.50, 33.50," Bobby read off times.
"Leader's the 18. There's the 2, and there's the 18," Ty noted. "Keep digging, as hard as you can. They're about ten back. They're talking about some debris. Okay, caution's out, caution's out."
The fourth caution was on lap 141 for debris. Jeff Burton received the free pass.
"I try to overachieve on this deal. Give me some help here. We're in trouble," Mikey told his crew.
Bobby said they'd work on it. "Art, you stay back. Ron, you go over on that deal."
A crew member came on the radio and said the jackman was staying back. He told who to go on what side of the car.
"Even if we lose a lap here, it would be worth it, because it's undriveable," Mikey said.
Bobby told his driver to pit this time. The #55 went to pit road, and the team worked extensively on the car.
"No one understand sign language, Art," Mikey said while the crew worked. "Come back. We can come back."
"Take off, take off, take off. 4150."
Ron said the car was pretty good, just needed a piece of sheet metal and braces. They would come back in, leaving back the gasman and catchcan man, and would work on the centre piece.
The #55 returned to pit road, and Ty told the team where the car was.
"If we've got time, let's go ahead and go back in. Let's finalise this deal," Ron replied.
"We're on one to go. Ron, do we come back in?" Ty asked.
"They're saying it's all good right there," Bobby said. "Tail end of the longest line."
"Mike, we can get about ten seconds to work, if you want to try," Ron said.
"I doubt it. What do you want me to do?" Mikey asked.
Bobby asked Ron if it were good, then said to stay out.
Kyle Busch led the restart on lap 146. Mikey was one lap down in 39th, David was 13th, and McDowell was 43rd and seven laps down. The #00 restarted at the tail end of the longest line for being too fast exitting pit road.
"Everybody's straight. Clear one back," Ty spotted.
"31.90. You're running your fastest lap of the race," Bobby noted.
"Clear two back. Still outside. Got two of them. Outside. Three-wide, back to two-wide. 38 outside. Clear the 38, got the 7 outside, the 7 outside. Still on your corner. Still there. Slow all the way to the top, slow all the way to the top. Three-wide off the corner. Two-wide, just the 7. Clear, clear, clear."
Passing Reagan Smith on lap 152 put Mikey in 38th. David was 15th.
"There, still there. Clear, all clear."
"Too loose off," Mikey reported.
"10-4," was Bobby's reply.
"Good job, y'all. Good job. Y'all got her fixed for me."
The #55 was 37th on lap 155.
"Clear half back to the 21, clear half back," Ty noted.
"33 flat, 33 flat."
"Clear five back, no pressure. Clear one back to the 7, one back to the 7. Looking low, inside. Still there, still there. All clear there. Two back to the 38. Still out there. Still out there, clear one back. Going to have a run - 38."
On lap 163, Mikey moved into 36th.
"Now it's just gone back to plowing the right front," the driver said.
"All right, 10-4, 10-4," Bobby replied. "33.15."
"We need that rear steer out, but I'm just real back on the right front."
"Yeah, 10-4. I'll help you with that right front on the next stop."
"Run on the bottom. Going to have a run on the bottom," Ty noted. "Back to clear."
On lap 166, Mikey was 37th. David was 14th.
"Just... I guess we've messed up aerodynamics," he said.
"33.10, 33.10. Leader 65."
"Still clear half back to the 21."
On lap 168, Bill Elliott passed. Mikey was now 38th. He got back around Elliott's #21 the next time around the track.
On lap 172, Mikey was 38th.
"Still outside on your corner. Still there. The 00 coming inside. Clear behind him."
"That was close!" Bobby commented.
"Leader's at the line now."
Lap 176 saw the fifth caution for debris.
"I've just got such a tight car, the front end's all screwed up," Mikey commented. "I'm just having to drive so hard, right up against the fence to turn."
"Caution's coming out for debris. Caution's out."
Mikey said his car was all screwed up. "Makes me wonder what's going on. It's real bad."
"10-4. All right, Art. Two rounds, Art," Bobby said. "Two rounds. Ron, you adjust the air? All right."
"What about fucking... how come nobody's talking back?"
Ty told Mikey he saw sparks coming out the car.
"Ya'll need to help me a little bit more, communicate with me, stay in touch with me. I feel like y'all don't tell me nothing. I really need to help."
"Yeah, man, I just told you the first frickin' time I saw it, man. I'm trying to help."
"I didn't see it in 1 and 2. I saw it in 3 and 4 the back time."
"Well, it doesn't surprise me you didn't see it, but it was doing it for a lap. Whatever it is must have fallen off," Mikey replied.
"What do you got, Ron?" Bobby asked.
"The splitter's gone," Ron replied.
Bobby directed the crew and told where to put on the braces.
"Well fix it as long as you can. There's another round of pit stops, another group to come in."
Bobby said they needed to get it screwed in.
"See, that's what I need to hear, my splitter's falling off."
Bobby told his driver he hadn't seen it until Mikey pit. He said he'd have to pit again so they could add more braces.
"You're going to have to hussle a little bit. It's going to be pretty close... okay, you're going to make it. You're going to have a truck on the apron, truck on the apron. You're going to have to come back up."
Ron called for six braces and a bunch of screws.
"Get on! Get on with it!" Bobby yelled at the crew. "Just screw them in. Get all the braces in here. Come on."
"In 3. Middle of 3 and 4."
"You've got six on it? This is our last chance. You got six on it? All right, Ron, come here." Bobby told them not to worry about what NASCAR said, just to make sure the splitter would stay on. NASCAR was clearing them, but Bobby said the splitter wouldn't stay on.
"They're not going to go. They have to send the truck back out there," Ty said.
"They're not going?" Mikey asked.
This allowed the #55 to come back to pit road, which he did. After the stop, Ty said they were on one to go again.
"All right, come on to me," Bobby said.
"Come to ya?" Mikey asked.
"A few seconds here. 4150."
"Just now in two," Ty noted.
"Make it quick. We'll have to go to the middle of the back." Bobby led his driver to pit road.
Racing resumed on lap 182. Kyle Busch led, Mikey was one lap down in 39th, David was 13th, and McDowell was last and seven laps down.
"Just dig. He's coming out," Ty guided.
"31.59. Fastest lap of the race for you there," Bobby informed his driver. "31.70, 31.70.
"Michael, right side of your splitter may have come loose again," Ty said on lap 189.
"All right, 10-4, Ty. I've got ya," Bobby replied.
"I believe I'd send somebody to the corner with some binoculars and see what's happening," Mikey suggested.
"Michael, the NASCAR spottters are saying you're dragging the right side of the splitter, but they're not going to stop us," Ty said on lap 193.
"Well, we're catching about twenty cars, so I couldn't see when we're starting."
"We're not ignoring you. We're talking about what we're going to do," Bobby explained.
"Yeah, I figured that. My fault."
Mikey was 38th on lap 194. David was 12th.
"32.95 the last time. 33 flat the last time I was over here looking," Bobby said when Ty asked about lap times.
David was 13th on lap 199. Mikey was still 38th.
"33 flat," Bobby said. "33 flat.
"33.10, 10. Leader 32.75."
Carl Edwards took the lead on lap 203.
"33.20. You're better than the next four or five that you're racing on our lap. You've just got to get to them," Bobby said. "3-10."
"Looks like the splitter's staying the same, staying the same. The leader's the 99, about half a straightaway back," Ty told his driver.
Bobby relayed what they were working with regarding the splitter. "33.20, 20. Still faster than those guys. Just haven't got up to them yet."
"Four back to the 99. All right, all by himself. Ten back to the 18."
Mikey went a second lap down on lap 208.
"Plowing," he reported.
"Five back to the 18. Five back," Ty spotted.
"Plowing. 10-4, Mike," Mikey added.
"18's two back, on the bottom."
"33.09, 09," Bobby said.
"Still clear. 18's still down there. Still down. 18's the leader now. The 99's off the track."
Edwards had a suspected flat tire, sending him to pit road on lap 213. Busch was back in the lead.
"Inside, inside. Clear five back to the 29."
"33 flat, 33 flat," Bobby said.
"Inside, the 29. Inside. All clear behind him. Ten back."
Something was found to be coming off the #99; his crew said his tire was not flat after all.
"It's plowing," Mikey said.
"10-4. 10-4 on the plow," Bobby replied.
"I've got it tore all to hell, so it should be plowing. It's nobody's fault. It's just a bad break."
"Fifteen, we're fifteen away from pitting."
"48's two back on the bottom," Ty reported. "He's there inside, all by himself. Clear there fifteen back."
The brace on the #99's splitter broke, causing it to drag.
"Nice job. Nice corner right there," Ty praised. "You're still clear fifteen back to anybody coming."
"33 flat. That's quicker than most of them, all the way up to 15th."
On lap 221, Mikey was 37th, and David was 12th. McDowell was still 43rd and seven laps down.
"Clear five back to the 20, five back to the 20. Still two back to the 20. He's been rolling the bottom."
"33.20 these last couple laps. That's pretty dang good."
"Clear about five back to the 28."
The sixth caution was on lap 226. Jason Leffler received the free pass.
"Caution's out for debris. Caution's out for debris."
"Well, I'm not sure coming back down was the right thing to do, considering it cost us anyway, cost us a lap. Too tight."
"I figure, if I had been back up there with him, I could have saved that lap, but that's hindsight. I just pushed. THat's all I can tell you. Strictly pushed."
"10-4, I'll make an air pressure adjustment and squeeze a little bit of wedge out."
Mikey suggested the back, and Bobby said two rounds.
"You need me to come this time so you can evaluate this splitter?" Mikey asked.
"You need to come this time so I can see what we've got," Bobby replied. He told Chris to get ready for the splitter.
Ty led the #55 to pit road.
"Okay, we're going to need some screws here. Need some screws. All right, go ahead Ron. Back Art, back Art. Right side, Ron. Right side. Pace car, Ty?"
"He's just now in 2, just now in 2."
Bobby pointed out they only had forty laps left. "Put that back in, and you should be okay. We can't speed any more on pit road, or they'll hold us a lap."
"I know it's hard," Mikey said. "I know how hard that thing tore up, so y'all are doing a good job keeping us in the game. It's just frustrating out here when we have all these issues."
Bobby said he'd learned the safety wire didn't hold up and took blame for using that initially.
"No, I could have told you that. It was bolted on at Homestead, and it was still vibrating like that."
Bobby noted they'd broken the splitter earlier this year, and the safety wire had held up.
"We could have done better in the pits, but I could have done better on the track. So I guess we'll go down together. It sucks, because it ain't that bad. We're going to finish shitty."
Bobby called Mikey back to pit road again for left side tires.
"What's this all about?"
"Looks like you run over a screw when you was leaving. Just precautionary. 4150, 4150."
"The official said we run over a screw when we were leaving. They didn't want to take a chance."
"Okay, go ahead and hustle up, hustle up. They're just now in 3 and 4. Keep on rolling it. It will be green when you get around here," Ty guided.
Kyle Busch led the lap 230 restart. Mikey was 38th and two laps down. David was 13th, and McDowell was eight laps down and last.
"47 to go, 47 to go. My bad. 37 to go, 37 to go," Ty said.
"31.80, 31.80," Bobby read off lap times. "32 flat, 32 flat. Same speed there for 6th to 10th place, 6th to 10th."
Lap 237 saw the seventh caution. Paul Menard had ripped off Jason Leffler's rear sheetmetal, drawing the yellow for debris. Ty told Mikey about it.
"It was pretty free right there," Mikey reported, "but I'm sure it will go to tight. It was pretty free right there."
"We'll just put four on your. It will be twenty-something laps to go. I know it ain't real good, but even tore up, you're faster than a bunch of them."
"Yeah, we just didn't have a smooth night tonight. Too many mistakes. Damn it."
"Quicky yellow, so you can go ahead and come this time, Mike," Ty told his driver.
"It will be four tires, guys. Four tires," Bobby said to the crew. "Four tires, Chris. All good, all good. Just give me a little air pressure in the front. How about the other left front?"
"Middle of the back straightaway."
"All right, you're all good."
"Who am I racing?" Mikey asked.
"Get back to him, Jimmy," Bobby instructed.
Bobby added the 45, 77, and 78, then said it was just the 38 and the others were one lap behind them.
Kyle Busch led the restart on lap 240. Mikey was 38th and two laps down. David was 13th, and McDowell was eight laps down in 43rd.
"All right, buddy, pace car's off. Green green green," Ty guided the #55 back to the line. "Outside. Three-wide, outside. Clear to the middle, you've got one all the way to the top. Still outside, still there. Still outside, sitll on your corner. Clear up if you need it, clear up if you need it. Half back to the 31. Outside now, outside. Still outside. Still outside."
By lap 243, David was 14th. Mikey was still 38th and McDowell last.
"Three-wide, three-wide. Four-wide. Back to three-wide, two-wide. Clear behind the 88 if you need it. Half back to the 07. Lapped car going to be coming outside. Clear, you're still clear. Half back. You've got the 31 right there on the bottom. Clear, still clear. Spin behind you. No caution yet. Keep going. No caution yet. Caution's out, caution's out. Caution's out. Caution's out behind you."
The eighth caution was on lap 245 after Bobby Labonte spun off Yeley's front fender and wound up in the grass. Jamie McMurray raceived the free pass.
"Billy, how many laps is that on tires?" Bobby asked a crew member.
"I believe we ought to pit, maybe I might be able to overcome my problems with these tires and get this 38," Mikey suggested.
Bobby said they'd come, and Ty told him to come in the first time as it was a quicky yellow. Bobby called for four tires.
"5, 4, 3, 2. Right... Braces are all good," Bobby said as the #55 entered the box. "Go go go. All the way out. 4150."
"One to go, one to go. Pull up when you get here," Ty said. "20 to go right now. It will be 19 to go when you get restarted."
Kyle Busch led the restart on lap 248. Mikey was two laps down in 38th, David was 14th, and McDowell was eight laps down and last.
"Okay, buddy, be ready. Pace car's off. Ready? Green green green. Come on through the middle. Got one outside. Come on through the middle. Got one outside. Both sides. Clear low. Outside, still outside. Clear low. Still got one outside. Got one coming outside. Clear up if you want it, clear up if you want it. Coming outside now, the 24. Still outside, still there, still there. Clear. Inside, still there. 5 car still outside."
On lap 251, Jimmie Johnson took the lead.
"Clear up if you need it. Clear. Clear up. Coming inside, inside. A couple of them inside. 44's the one in your rear, clear low if you need it, clear low if you need it. 44's lead lap. He's going to be coming inside. Inside, inside. Inside, inside. Clear low, clear low, clear low. Got one on your corner. Clear all clear."
Mikey was 37th on lap 254, having passed Travis Kvapil.
"The 28's going to look low. Inside, inside. Clear there two back, clear two back. Thirteen to go. Outside. Clear. Outside, outside. 9's coming with him, outside. Half back to the 5. Clear three back to the 8."
"Ten to go, ten to go. Just bring her home for me, bud," Bobby told his driver.
"8 low, inside. Got a run inside. 8 and the 31, lead lap cars. Inside. Inside, inside. Ten to go. Clear there, clear there. 2 is closing real fast. He's going to be looking low. Coming inside. Behind the 42 if you need it. Clear three back."
The ninth caution was on lap 262 when David Gilliland's engine blew.
"Got one blowing up on the bottom, blowing up on the bottom. Stay up. Caution's out, caution's out," Ty warned.
"38," someone said.
"We'll stay out. We're racing no one now," Bobby told his driver.
"Wow, the leader almost got taken out by the clean-up truck," Ty said. "All right, bud, one to go. All right, we're not racing anyone. No one on our lap. This is not a green/white/checkered, by the way. You're going to come around to the green. It will be two to go."
Johnson led the lap 265 restart. He and Kyle Busch ran side-by-side. Mikey was 36th and two laps down, David was 14th, and McDowell was last.
"Outside, outside," Ty warned. "Clear behind him, clear three behind him. Coming to the white flag this time, coming to the white flag. That's going to be it. That's it."
"All right. Sorry about that, dude. That way way too much work for that."
"Well, we should be better than we were tongiht. I made some mistakes in practice yesterday that hurt, and we could have better job than we did on pit road. That was just about as bad as it could have gotten."
"10-4. I agree."
"You can't just go away and do what you do and not have somebody talking to me, man. I'm trying lines, running different lines, trying different corners, and nobody's saying a word. If you've got other things you've got to be doing, we need to have a system and place. I need a shout out every now and then. This is just as bad as it gets."
Kyle Busch won. He did burnouts and got himself stuck in the grass. Mikey came in 36th, two laps down. David finished 14th, and McDowell was 43rd and eight laps down.
Tune in two weeks from now when the Sprint Cup series goes to Indianapolis. Coverage of the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard begins Sunday, July 27th, at 1:00pm ET on ESPN.
Next weekend's Nationwide Series race, the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway, starts next Saturday at 9:00pm on ESPN2.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 00 CHAMPION MORTGAGE TOYOTA:
WHAT HAPPENED EARLY IN THE RACE?
“Leffler just crashed us. It was just that simple. You never know until you see it but I know he hit me. I don’t know if he got loose or what he did but it’s awfully convenient we’re racing the 66 for the top-35 and the 70 takes us out. It’s all right. We’ll just bounce back. If they want to play that way for the top-35 then we can do the same. We’ve got three cars to their two. We can take care of it if we need to.”
THAT MUST BE CHALLENGING TO FALL BEHIND EARLY YET YOU HAVE TO STAY FOCUS AND TRY TO LEARN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
“I tried to learn as much as I could just myself but the car was pretty tore up. The toe was messed up quite a bit, the rear end housing was skewed pretty good. It was pretty screwed up but I just tried to run some of the high line and just try to make some things work. It’s just unfortunate.”