Friday practice, live from Pocono by Kellyanne Lynch
1 August 2008
Michael Waltrip ranked 36th in Sprint Cup practice today at Pocono International Raceway. He ran his quickest lap in his eighth of ten - a 54.935-second circuit at 163.830 MPH that was 0.973 seconds behind session leader Jimmie Johnson. His drivers David Reutimann ranked 19th after completing his best lap eleventh of eleven in 54.558 seconds at 164.962 MPH (0.596 seconds behind Johnson). Rookie Michael McDowell ranked 43rd of 44. He turned a 55.116 second circuit at 163.292 MPH that was 1.154 seconds behind Johnson in his eighth of eight laps.
Mikey's #55 Napa Auto Parts Camry headed out to line on pit road at 11:54am ET.
"Track temperature's 97," a crew member noted over the team frequency.
"M-Dub, got me?" crew chief Bobby Kennedy addressed the driver.
"Yes sir," was Mikey's response.
Bobby told him that they were running the heaviest valve they made on power steering and that they had tape on the front with brake opening.
"Okay," Mikey replied. He said the car didn't feel much different driving from the pits. "Just thinking back, it's stiffer than it was at Indy."
He said he still didn't have much input to give and would add more once he got on track.
"How about you, Michael," spotter Clay was on the radio next. "You got me?"
"Yes, sir," Mikey responded.
"10-4, I got ya." A moment later, Clay added, "All right, race track's green."
NASCAR opened the track for practice at 12:01pm.
"Are we in race trim, Bobby?" Clay asked.
Bobby confirmed that they were. He asked a crew member named Billy to give times while the car was on track as Bobby was on pit road for this run.
Mikey took to the track but came in shortly thereafter. "It doesn't feel any good at all," he reported. He said the front end was way up, and there was no movement. "Nothing good."
"10-4," Bobby replied.
"Feels like the motor is nowhere near where it needs to be," Mikey continued. "Basically, everything is bad, and your guy don't know how to tell lap times."
"55.85," Billy informed the driver of the speed. "First lap was a 90."
"Coming outside," warned the spotter. "Straightaway behind if you want to run it all the way around."
"Just real skaty, real slow, no side bite at all," Mikey reported. "I don't even know what to say to begin, but no sidebite at all."
"10-4," Bobby acknowledged. He called for four shocks.
Mikey told him they needed to start over. Bobby said they would check out the left. The #55 was back in the garage at 12:07pm.
"Just as a whole lap, it really doesn't stick," Mikey stated. He said the car was loose in Turn 2. It stayed hung out, skated the front end when he got into the gas, had no sidebite in Turn 3, and skates all the way through the turn. "Nowhere does it do what it needs to do."
A moment later, the car owner asked, "How are the other two cars?"
"The 44 is loose," Bobby replied. "McDowell hasn't gone out yet."
"The splitter hits a little bit in the front straightaway. It doesn't hit in the turns," Mikey told his crew chief. "That's where it feels like it tightens up at."
A crew member said they were changing the left front spring. "Straighten your wheels up, please," a crew member requested.
Bobby said they were going with a softer left front spring, four new shocks, a rubber in the left rear, and were taking out some packer.
Mikey was back on track at 12:19pm.
"Coming your way, spotter," a crew member told Clay.
"10-4, I appreciate it," Clay replied. "26 in 3. Roll out after him. Clear on out. He's at the line now."
"55.90," Bobby read off the lap time after a circuit.
"Real loose, real loose on entry to the tunel, entry of 1, in 3," Mikey reported. He said maybe the tires made the car looser. "Real loose and skaty.
"The second lap, it hit the road getting into 1 and almost spun out like a month ago," Mikey added a moment later. "It does nothing good. Initially getting into the gas is good, then it goes into a skate. Feels a whole lot like the same thing I attempted to drive here a month ago."
The #55 was in the garage at 12:24pm.
"Change right rear spring," a crew member said. "29 and a quarter. 2-9 and a quarter."
Bobby asked Mikey if the front felt the same as it did last time. Mikey didnt answer on the radio.
The Napa Camry returned to the track at 12:44pm.
"Two cars off 2, 2 and 6," Clay warned. He cleared Mikey in a big hole behind the #6 of David Ragan.
After Mikey made his run, Bobby said, "All right, bring er to me."
"That helped it quite a lot, calmed it down," Mikey said. "Qay too tight."
"Okay, 10-4," Bobby replied. He asked about how the car got into the entry of the turns.
"It helped everywhere," Mikey replied. He said it helped a lot; it had just made the car too tight.
Less than forty-five minutes remained in practice.
"Do whatever you want to do," Mikey told his team. He said the car wasn't going around in the corner. "But whatever we did there was better."
Mikey was back on track at 1:08pm. Clay clearned him into traffic.
"54.90," Bobby read off the lap time. "Temps?"
"200, 210," Mikey replied.
"93," Bobby read the next time.
"You definitely improved my car," Mikey said. "The front end was closer to being there. I got tight off of 4 coming to the green." He said he would probably take another sixteenth out of the left front packer, then maybe that would help him turn better in Turn 3.
Bobby wanted to try a different left front air pressure. He told his driver to stop short so they could add fuel. He reiterated that Mikey felt tight coming off the turns and asked if Mikey were tight anywhere else.
"Not really," Mikey replied.
Bobby told the crew to go one step up on shocks and asked Mikey if the bumps were okay.
"Yeah, everything felt fine.""
Bobby wanted to see how the next set of shocks would work out. He also called for fresh tape and packers.
Mikey was on track at 1:20pm with ten minutes remaining in practice. He was clearned on track.
"Hold on," Clay warned. "We've got someone in the fence off of 3. No caution. He kept rolling.
"54.80 tunnel," came the lap time When asked for temperatures, Mikey read off a 230 for oil and a 250 for water.
"10-4. 90 on screen here," Bobby replied. He asked about shocks.
Mikey said either the shocks, packers or pressures were screwing up the car. The team decided to put it back to where it was for the last run.
Mikey said he had missed the turn completely in Turn 1. He said maybe it got into the splitter.
Bobby told him to short stop so they could get qualifying tires on the car. The #55 drew first in qualifying order. The #55 came in at 1:25pm and never went back out on track.
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