Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will start 34th in the Great American Race. He finished 19th in the second Budweiser Duel race tonight at Daytona International Speedway. He laid back and protected his #99 Aaron's Dream Machine, preserving it for Sunday. His driver Clint Bowyer finished 5th in the first duel race; his #15 5-Hour Energy Camry will start 9th in the Daytona 500.
Mikey interviewed drivers on pit road while conducting his "grid walk" prior to the first duel race. He caught up with Clint, who said he was "a little nervous." Mikey asked him if he would hang out in the back or if he would haul the mail like Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"I'm going to hang out and watch Dale Junior, make sure he doesn't do anything wild," Clint replied. "And if he doesn't, I'm going to go up and join him."
Due to a wreck during qualifying, Clint started 20th in a back-up car of 25 drivers. The #15 team conducted a radio check just after 7:00pm ET.
"Don't ever scare me like that again," someone said to Clint shortly after he got on the radio.
"Don't ever take me to a lunch like that," Clint replied, his voice raised at least one octave. "That almost killed me! That was terrible!" A little later, it sounded like he said, "The lawnmower doesn't want to start. It's choking."
A little later, the crew chief said, "Getting ready to roll."
"Pit stall 34. Stick your sign out when you're passing by."
Cars rolled off pit road at 7:10pm.
Clint said he was going to hang back, but he asked his spotter to look out to make sure he doesn't get stuck behind terribly slow cars.
"10-4," the spotter replied. "Don't lose the draft."
"That should be pit road speed. See what you got."
"4600 and second gear," Clint replied.
"We do have to drop to the back of the field, Brett."
"Yeah, 30, then us."
This information was relayed to the driver.
"10-4," Clint replied. "That was the car that was way way off. So try to get out from behind him. Because he was way way awful."
His crew chief reminded him to be careful on pit road with the new monitoring centre.
"Okay, buddy. Do what you need to do here," his spotter said. "We'll keep you informed."
"Yeah, 10-4, bud," Clint replied.
"Nice smooth shifts, man," the spotter said. "Coming to the green. Pace car's coming in, man. Let's get started. Be ready. Ready ready. Green green green. It's all good. It's all good. Inside inside. Inside, lined up. It's all good. Lined up inside. Looking high, looking high. Dale Jr looking high. Outside. Clear high behind him. All clear right there. All clear. Slow car on the very bottom. Looking high, outside. outside outside. All good in front of you. A little bit of three-wide. Still out there. Still out there, man. Three wide. Got one outside, right against the wall. A little push coming here. It's all good in front."
Matt Kenseth led the first lap, moving past pole winner Jeff Gordon.
"Real slow up top. Stay on your toes. Going to be three-wide here for a second. Lined up outside. No pressure in your mirror here. He's about two back. All clear right there. Plenty of room. Clear by one. Watching the pack, man. Be on your toes around the 14 here if you can see him. Still outside. Got about five rows of three-wide. Nothing's right behind you in case you need to brake pedal. All clear, man. Watching the pack."
On lap 4, Clint was 22nd. Kenseth continued to lead.
"Two guys behind you appear to be losing the draft a little bit. No pressure, man. They're losing you behind you. A lot of three wide again. Coming outside. Lot of three wide. Coming outside. No pressure, man. Just be smart here. It's only six laps. Top side checked up a little bit around Larson. Coming inside, man. All clear there. All clear. Looking low, looking low. 23 car looking inside. Nothing behind him. You're the last car in the draft. Keep being smart, man. About six rows of three-wide."
Clint was 24th on lap 7.
"I think this thing could get loose getting into the corner getting into traffic," Clint said.
"10-4," his crew chief replied.
"Be easy right here," his spotter warned. "About six rows of three-wide. Watch that 43 car, man. He's fucking... If you need to brake, there's nothing behind you. Middle really moved there. Five rows of three-wide."
"Only lap 9, bud," said his crew chief.
"Just be patient," his spotter added. "Seven cars lined up on the top. Not a lot of help behind you. 88's fast as shit. 5's pretty slow against the wall. He's up to speed now. No pressure out back. About four or five rows of three-wide there. About the first twelve single-file now. Still inside. Clear now. Slow one on the bottom. Clear again, all clear. Just watch this 95 up here on the bottom. Clear, no pressure out back. Still there, man. Got help coming. All clear now. Two wide, three wide. Clear when you get there. Eight cars total working the top. You've got one low, but you're all clear. All clear, man. All clear. Three cars behind you. Got a little run coming. Staying in line."
Clint was 21st on lap 14. Kenseth led every lap.
"Going to be a whole field of two-wide. They're trying to make the top work. Whole field is two-wide except for the leader." The spotter said the #14 was hung out up top. "All clear right there. Looking high, coming outside. All clear. You're the last one again. Tony's the only car working the top up there. Good run off 2. Still there. All clear. You got it. Watch that idiot in front of you. Easy. Somebody's smoking. Come by him. All clear. Yellow's out."
"We're going to put four on there, okay, bud?" asked the crew chief.
"10-4, bud," Clint replied.
The first caution was on lap 17. Casey Mears' #13 lost its engine. It sprayed oil on Tony Stewart's #14, which got into the wall.
The crew chief asked if he should work on the car being tight.
"Just a little," Clint replied. "It's loose into 1 for some reason. You know, a little. Not anywhere else, just getting into 1. Kinda weird. When I hit traffic, we're going to have to work on it for the 500 a little bit. What position am I in right here?"
"P19. You'll be coming around the 35. Make sure you get it into the box."
"All right, man. It's open. Here was come. 4600. Ten away."
"Around the 35. Around the 35. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1," his crew chief counted Clint to the box. "All clear, bud. All clear. Save gas when you leave here."
"Gas only on the leaders," the spotter observed.
The crew chief said they'd save rubber for the end.
The spotter said it would be a while to clean up the mess and warned Clint about the jet dryers.
Clint asked a question twice that was hard to understand. He said something about 35.
"13 blew up, and the oil was leaking."
"I know... we can't make it, can we?"
The crew chief said they were plenty good but they'd top off.
His crew chief called him in to come in for a little more fuel. Clint asked if he were sure.
"What's it going to hurt?"
The #15 pit to top off the gas tank. He was last, and he was one of three drivers to have four fresh tires.
"Pace car's coming in, man," the spotter said. "Be ready. Green green. It's all good. Inside. Nothing right behind you. A little bit of blocking going on there."
Gordon led the lap 23 restart.
"Inside. Inside when you get there. Barely there. Clear if you want it. Two-wide behind you. Looking low. All clear. You've got it. Three-wide. You got a lot of help there, man. All clear. Not much three-wide in the pack. About two rows. Stay on your toes, man. Looking high, outside. 30 car behind you. All clear right there. Looking high again. Outside. A little bit of three wide up here, man. Just a couple rows of it. Clear by ten on that 30 car. 35 laps to go. Stay on your toes. All clear. The #5 is an idiot. I don't know who's driving that shit. If you need a brake pedal, you hammer it. Three rows of three wide. Outside is working with Harvick pulling it."
Clint was 23rd on lap 26. Kenseth now led.
"Be on your toes, man," the #15 spotter warned. "About five rows of three-wide. A little slow on the bottom. 95 picked him up. No pressure when you get here. Pretty strung out. Easy easy easy easy easy. Up high. All clear. Nobody's wrecking." He warned Clint about the sparking #47 in front of him.
The second caution was on lap 28. Aric Almirola pushed Johnny Sauter up into AJ Allmendinger. Sauter's #83 slid through the grass, and Allmendinger's #47 was sparking from contact.
"Damn it!" Clint exclaimed.
"There's some debris on the front. I can't really see it because of the fence," the spotter said.
They called for another set of tires. Clint commented that it wasn't worth topping off the tank after all. He also needed a tear-off. He pit under caution with several other cars.
"33's a penalty car. Go around him. One to go when you get here," the spotter said.
His crew chief said the top sixteen couldn't make it on fuel, and they were 19th.
"One to go. No penalty on the 33. They waved it off. He'll be coming around you."
Kenseth led the lap 33 restart.
"Inside. Clear behind him by two. Push him if you want to. Coming inside, the 2 car. All two by two. Stay on your toes. We're all good. Inside, two by two, man. Inside. Still got one inside, man. Still three wide. All clear if you want it. 95 is pushing you. He's all up your ass. Middle's open if you want it. Three-wide. Got one inside if you want it, the 46. Three-wide. Back to two-by-two. Inside. Inside. Still there. All clear. Whatever you want here, man. Outside, outside. Coming outside again. Three-wide, you're on the bottom. Just keep rolling that bottom, man. Stay on your toes. All clear. Looking low. Lined up inside there. Inside inside. Clear quick if you want it, clear quick if you want it. Still there, inside. Real slow on the bottom. 42. Inside inside."
On lap 36, Earnhardt Jr took the lead. Clint was 15th.
"Clear low if you need it. Good to push hard if you want to, nothing in front of you. Coming inside, two by two now. Clear quick if you want it. Coming back inside. Three-wide inside. Nothing behind that 33 car still Three-wide, you're up top. Still got a pusher - McDowell. Looking middle again. Three-wide, you're up top. Rolling nice here. 2 is on the 35. That's Cole Whitt. Easy. Inside, inside. You're up top. Middle's open behind the 4 if you needed it. Just be smart right here, man. Still got 22 to go. Three-wide, three-wide. Still three-wide. P12 right now. Still three-wide."
Kenseth was back in the lead on lap 39.
"Still three-wide, man. Coming to 21 laps to go. Still three-wide. Three-wide. Side drafting. Trevor Bayne. Got a big push coming. Three-wide. No push this time. Three-wide, you're up top."
Lap 40 saw Clint in 8th.
"Still there, man. Still there. Inside inside inside. Looking middle to Harvick. Inside. Just got one. You're P8 or 9. Got the 4 car pushing you now. Just barely on your bumper, the 6 car. The top side has a lot more help than the bottom. 19 laps to go."
"P9," the crew chief said.
"Three-wide, you're up top. Three-wide. THe guy up top has zero help. Push hard right here if you want to. Clear if you need it. 1's by himself. Here comes your help. P6 right there. Good to push hard when you get there. Lined up two by two. Still two by two. Harvick in your mirror. Still there inside. Inside inside. Big push coming. Lined up inside, two by two. Hell of a push right there. Two by two man. Lined up inside, pushing the very bottom. Looking middle. Three-wide, you're up top. MIddle's open if you need it. Got a nice push coming. There's nothing in front of the 35 if you get there. Here comes your push, man. Lined up inside. Clear high if you want it. Still inside bumper. Good to push hard, lined up inside. Looking low, still looking. Two by two, man. Lined up inside. Inside, lined up. Got the 20 inside with the 22 pushing. You still have Harvick pushing you. He doesn't have a whole lot of help behind him. Two by two. Looking middle. Coming middle. THree-wide, you're up top. 33 pushing you. Into the middle if you need it."
"Got to get around this fucking 35," Clint said.
"Three-wide. You're up top. Still three wide. You've got help coming. Three by three. 33 pushing you. Lined up inside. Inside inside. Two by two. Inside, the 6. Inside inside. 33 coming with a run again. Three wide behind you. You're getting away from them now. Inside inside. Coming to 13 the go. The bottom line is going to stop off 2. THree wide. Keep rolling. Just got one, the 95. All clear if you want it. Clear when you get there. WHatever line you want. Inside inside."
Earnhardt Jr led with 14 to go.
"Tony pushing you. Lined up inside. P10 right there. Still there. Clear if you want it, clear if you want it. It's all good up front, man. Still got Tony pushing. Lookign low. Inside inside. We gotta get rid of this... inside. Still inside. Tony's one back. Only four cars working the bottom in front of you. 1 car's with you now. Big push coming. Big push. Clear high quick. There you go. Lined up inside. Workign the middle. 35's with you right now. Three-wide behind you. Lined up inside. If you work the middle right here, Harvick will come to your bumper. 35 is on the top behind you. Harvick's in the middle behind you. Protect the line you want. Three wide behind you. Here comes the run. All clear, brother. All clear. All clear. All clear. Three wide behind you. We're going to catch this single car in a minute. 9 to go. P6. Getting away from these guys out back. Ten car lengths from the leader to a slow car down low. Still getting away from everything out back. Keep staying in line here, man. Still getting away from everything. You're all clear."
"Coming eight to go."
"Back it down easy. Yellow's out."
Trevor Bayne drew the third caution with 9 to go.
"Staying out," the crew chief said. "Here on out, it's you and Brett, man. You're doing a great job."
"The 42 just tore him up," Clint said of Bayne.
"Oh, I'm aware. I saw it," the spotter said. "I wonder how much is him and how much is his spotter."
"Brett, you want to work with Harvick's spotter?" the crew chief asked. "Tell him I'll pay for golf next time."
"See where he wants to be," Clint requested.
Some teams chose to pit.
"FYI, pretty loose in the draft, like in the trioval getting into the corners with Kevin behind me," Clint said. "A little edgy."
His crew chief told him to get through tonight, and they'd work on it tomorrow.
"He does not, does not want to be on the bottom," the spotter relayed the message from Harvick.
"Only 21 cars on the lead lap. One to go. Tony is saying he's going to go wherever Harvick goes. Harvick says he can't run low."
Clint asked his spotter to tell him which line is coming when they get back to racing, which one had better cars.
"Copy." A little later, he said the pace car was coming in. "Five to go. Five good ones. Ready."
Earnhardt Jr led the restart. Clint was 6th.
"88 is far ahead of the 22. Picking him up now. Two by two. Top row running the best. Two by two. Two by two. Here comes your help now. You're good to push that 22. Nothing in front of him. Two by two. Coming to three to go. Two by two. Good to push him hard when you get here, man. Nothing in front of him. 24 pulled up. Still good to push him though. Harvick's on your outside. Got a lot of help this time. Good to push. Nothing in front of 22, man. Still two by two. Inside inside. Here comes your help. 35 has no help. 5 has no help. 5 has zero help. All clear two wide. Bottom coming back to you. Top with the advantage by half a car length. Two to go here, dude. He's by himself with no help. All the momentum is up top. Remember your goal here. Advantage to the bottom. Back to the top. Harvick's coming up top. Harvick's coming, but don't expect him to help you on the bottom. Big push. Tony has no help down there. You have a lot more help than you do. Two by two. You got a lot of help. Lined up inside. White flag. Race is official. Two by two. Lined up inside. Got a run coming inside. He's two you. He's going to give you a nice shove. Nice shove. Good to push hard. BIg push coming again. Good to push. LIned up inside, two by two. Middle is open. All the momentum is up top. Protect the top. THree-wide. Checkered flag. Nice job all night."
"Great job, brother," his crew chief praised.
"We just need to work on the hot rod a little bit. We'll be all right."
"We need a beer."
"Or ten." Clint apologized for the way he ran.
Earnhardt Jr won the first duel. Clint was 5th. Mikey was in the Hollywood Hotel for the race, and he left at the end to suit up for his duel.
The #55 lined up 10th for the second duel race; Jimmie Johnson started first.
Mikey got into his car at 9:00pm. Crew chief Billy Scott was talking to his driver as Mikey buckled into the Aaron's Dream Machine. The call to start engines came at 9:02pm.
"One two. Got me, Michael?" asked the spotter. He and the crew chief connected, then Mikey came on the radio.
"Okay," he said.
The crew chief gave instructions.
"Okay, B fan is on," Mikey said. "The radiator is off."
"Red switch is down."
"10-4. Perfect. The 1 car is in on tech, so we're in either way."
"10-4. You got that, Roman?" someone asked.
"That's good," Mikey replied.
"It'll be just a minute, Michael. Got a helmet switch on the 26 car."
"I don't understand," Mikey said.
"Radio problems with the 26 car."
"Okay, that's awesome. I'll tell them to wait for me."
"10-4. I'm with you." The spotter said the #11 was smoking a bit.
Cars rolled off pit road shortly thereafter. The spotter said he may need help knowing who is in what car.
"Michael, can you hear me back there?" Billy asked.
"Yeah, I hear you good," Mikey replied.
"10-4. When the pace car gets to speed, you'll be 4300 behind him. You can run 4600 and second on pit road."
"He's at speed right there," the spotter said. "You can check your tac."
Mikey confirmed, "4300."
Billy welcomed Mikey back to the Aaron's Dream Machine. He said they'd have his back all day.
"10-4. Thank y'all. I appreciate the opportunity."
"Yes sir, you're welcome."
"10-4. Just a heads up. The 19 is reporting he doesn't have any brakes."
"Okay. 10-4. How's he going to stop?"
"I don't know." He said Carl Edwards in the #19 was saying brakes were spongey, and they'd warn Mikey if he were anywhere near him.
Spotter asked driver to let him know what he needed as far as information.
"Okay, bud. We'll see what we've got here," Mikey replied.
The spotter warned him of a car stopped that was rolling now. "Yeah, I don't know what's going on. He ain't making it." They were talking about Josh Wise's #98, which stopped at the entrance to pit road. He had a fuel issue, and a tow truck pushed him.
"All right, coming to the green. Pace car's in. Get ready. Green green green. Everybody's rolling. Everybody's rolling. Still two by two."
Johnson led the field to the green flag at 9:17pm. Mikey started 10th.
"Everybody's still two by two. Half back to the 7, half back off of him. Still one inside. Quarter off of the 7. Still two by two. Still the 78 inside. One and a half off of him on the bottom. Still quarter back, off of you."
Kyle Busch led the first lap. Mikey was 8th.
"Still two back, no holes. Quarter back to the 7, quarter off of him. Still two back, no holes. 7 with a little run, quarter back. Still two wide. Everybody's real tight behind you. Still two wide, two wide. No holes. Quarter quarter out back. Got the 21 inside. Still two wide. Still no holes. Half back 7, quarter off of him."
Mikey was 9th on lap 3.
"Still everybody two by two. Quarter back to the 7, half off of him. Still got the 21 inside. No holes. Still two wide. Still two wide, half back 7, half off of him. Half back 7, half off of him. Still two wide. Good out front. Quarter back 7, half off of him. Everybody's still two by two. Got the 11 inside, just two wide. Half back 7, half off of him the 41. The 17's tight in front of you there. Still two wide. 11 inside. Half off back to the 7, half off of him. Everybody's still two by two. Quarter back 7, half off of him. It's the 34 inside. Half off of him is the 10 on the bottom there."
Mikey was 11th on lap 7 as Kyle Busch continued to lead.
"Still two by two. They're three by three behind you. 41 working the top lane. 41 with a little run. Still three wide behind him. Still two by two, three wide behind you. One back to three wide, still got the 10 inside. Still three wide out back, half back. 41 working the top. One back to three wide, just the 10 inside. 31 with a run. Big run. At your bumper. Still two wide. On you tight, half off of him. Still two wide. Got the 10 on the very bottom. Half back 41, half off of him. Still got the 10 inside. Quarter back to the 41, half off of him. Everybody's still two wide, two by two. 41 on you tight, quarter off of him. 41 jumped to the middle. Three-wide. You're up top. Got a big run coming. Still three wide. Still three wide. Still no holes. Lot of momentum in the middle. Still three wide. Back to two wide, two wide. 66 inside. Two wide. Everybody's two by two."
"I would just like to let you know lap 10," Billy said.
The spotter relayed this information. Mikey was 18th, with Kyle Busch still leading.
"Still outside. You've got the momentum. Still two wide. Still two wide. Two wide right there. Got the 66 working the middle. Clear behind the 66. One lane there. Got one outside. Got the 32 up top, the 38 is behind him with a run. All clear. High low. Two back to the 36. One off of him is the 31. The 31 has a run also. Quarter back. Hole behind the 31. That's the last car. Clear clear. Line up. All clear. I'm going to watch out front some more, all right?"
"Yup, that's good," Billy said.
"They're trying to wreck up there."
"Still all clear, all clear. Outside. Hole behind the 31 there."
Mikey had dropped back to 23rd by Lap 12. Josh Wise was the only driver behind him, twelve laps down.
"Still all clear. That thing gets a run real good in the centre."
Billy said that's what he saw, but that it stays the same on the straightaway.
"Yeah. Still got the 31 outside. Clear."
Billy suggested spotter Roman talk with Ricky Stenhouse Jr's crew chief, because the #17 was back there with the #55, and both were in on time.
"Still clear by one. All clear."
Billy said the #31 was also locked in. "He's probably like to know that the cars around him are in too."
The first caution was on lap 22 when Justin Allgaier turned David Ragan, who hit the inside wall.
Billy asked about the car.
"It feels perfect. I'm in the back, so put four tires on it. It'll pay off later."
Billy called for four tires and fuel. "Do you need a tear off?"
"Um, not really, but I don't care. Whatever you want to do."
"Pit this time. Quicky yellow."
"So are they giving us one to go the next time around?" Billy asked.
The spotter told him they would.
Billy said they would still pit.
"So do not pit this lap?" Mikey asked.
Billy confirmed. He said they would pit with one to go.
"Go back in front of him. He got eight penalties right there. Just watch him," the spotter warned.
Cars pit, and Carl Edwards ran by his box due to the braking problem his #19 had.
"Pit this time. Four tires and fuel. Only three stalls coming in. Wheels straight, put on the brakes," Billy instructed.
After the stop, Billy said they were all good on fuel.
"All right, coming to the green here. Pace car's in. Get ready. Green green green. Everybody's rolling. Got the 34 coming up hard five back. Coming to your bumper, to your bumper. Still two wide."
Racing resumed on lap 25 with Austin Dillon's #3 leading.
Billy told Roman the #34 was a lap down.
"Inside. Three wide. Just one inside, the very bottom. The 31. Just the 31 inside. All clear, all clear. Got the 31 with a run up top. One inside in the middle, on you tight. Still outside, 51 outside. Hole behind him. Two off of him's the next car. All clear."
Johnson led lap 26. Mikey was 20th.
"Two off the 34, clear off of him. All clear out back. Still outside. 34 two back with a run. He is a lap down for your info. Still outside, two wide. Still two wide. Got the 32. You're clear to the middle if you want it. Got the 7 outside. Still outside. There's a hole behind that 7 if you want it. You're all clear. Half back to the 34. You've got the run. 31's inside. You're pulling him. All clear. Quarter back to the bottom, 31. Half back 34. All clear all clear. Still got four cars out back."
"That 31's one of them locked in on points," Billy said.
"Still outside. Clear right there. One back to the 34. Still got three cars. One of them is the 31 out back. One back 34. Still outside. Man, that thing's good in the centre! Everybody's two wide, two by two. Still two by two. 34 outside with the 26 pushing him. Everybody's still two by two. Still two by two."
Mikey was 18th on lap 30 as Johnson led.
"Outside on you tight, outside on you tight. Still going to be tight. Last one's the 31. Still the 26 outside. 31's one off of him. Still two wide on you tight, on you tight. 31 car. Got a run. All clear, you're all clear. He don't want to go up there."
Billy told Roman to tell Mikey the #31 is locked in too.
"That 31 is locked in on points, just for your info," Roman relayed. "All clear by one off of the 31. Clear by 1, all clear. Does Denny got to get in? Inside."
"Yes, Roman. He got kicked out of qualifying being too low, so he has no points."
"All good info. He's very aggressive," the spotter replied. "Still outside, in the middle. Still outside, the 31. One off of him is the 34. Outside. Still outside on you tight, on you tight. The 34. Three wide up ahead for your info. Last car. You're all clear. He does have a little damage on his quarter, just for your info."
Billy said he had good lap times though.
"You know, neverk now what his agenda is now."
"You're all clear, all clear. One back's the 31." Roman said he didn't want them too close.
Billy suggested getting with the #44. "It's getting crazy up there."
"In the middle, on you tight. Clear by a quarter."
Mikey was 20th on lap 36 as Johnson continued to lead.
"Still outside. Go low go low. Clear high. Back it down back it down. Go low. Apron apron apron. Back up! You're good, you're good. Bring it in. We'll wax it."
"I don't know how much I was listening to you or I was guessing where to go, but it all worked out," Mikey said of dodging a multi-car wreck.
"Good job to both of you," Billy praised.
MWR driver Brian Vickers tweeted: "That's one sexy @AaronsSports car wheeled by my boss @mw55!"
The second caution was on lap 37. Jeb Burton got into Sam Hornish Jr, and Alex Bowman and Austin Dillon were collected.
"I need four tires and possibly need to clean my shorts."
"Yeah, 10-4. We're ready for you."
Billy told him to put it on B battery. He also told him to turn his switch clockwise.
Cars were stopped. A few minutes later, Mikey was told to fire up the car again.
"Michael, did you get part of the grass there, or just on the apron?" Billy asked.
"Just on the apron. I got some mud on my windshield, but I think that was from another car," Mikey replied.
"All right, they said you're behind... you should be right there," Roman said.
Billy called for Mikey to pit when pit road opened.
"Okay," Mikey yawned.
"It'll be open this time, and it's a quicky yellow again."
"Four tires and fuel. Clean it. And we'll check for damage," Billy said.
Mikey and a few other drivers made stops.
"Coming to the green. It will be lap 40. 20 to go," Roman said. "All right, pace car's in. Get ready. Green green green. Everybody's rolling. 3 car outside. He's the last one in that top lane. Everybody's still two by two. Still outside on you tight, that 3. Hole behind him if you need it. Still outside. All clear, all clear. Half back 34 with a run. Quarter back. Outside outside. outside on you tight. Still two wide, still outside. 34 with help for you. Got the 3 outside. Still two wide. Still outside on you tight, that 3. He is a lap down for your info. Quarter back to the 34. You're all clear, all clear. Top lane with a run, half back. Stalled out. All clear. All clear by two, all clear. Everybody's two by two."
Mikey was 18th with 19 to go.
"Still inside on you tight. Two wide. Still outside. Two wide."
"78 41 tried right there," Billy said.
"One back 17. All clear."
"That 17 is locked in. He's on the same program, I'm sure."
"17 34. Just the 34 outside. One back to the 3. Still outside two wide, on you tight. All right, no, they are not done."
"Oh, I know. Let him know if you see stuff out up there. If they get anxious and bounce off each other, let him know. We're not going to lose a lap or lose the draft at this point."
"Problem is, we can't go back any further."
Billy told him to just tell Mikey.
Roman said they couldn't go back any further.
Billy said he knows, it doesn't matter if he loses a lap, because they're in.
Roman relayed that information to Mikey and told him they weren't done wrecking.
Mikey said he didn't want to get wrecked.
Roman said he just wanted to know what the plan was.
Billy said they wanted to keep the car to race on Sunday, that's all.
"10-4. I'm with you. All clear. 14 to go."
"I'll keep you posted on lap times," Billy said. He wanted to gauge how well they would do when back in the pack.
Roman said it sucked up good to cars in front. "One pitting up there. Still all clear. Still all clear. Coming to twelve to go. There are still a lot of guys with a lot of pressure up there."
"Yes, you got a lot of them," Billy said. He started listing cars that need to race into the field.
Roman relayed the information, that eight to ten cars needed to race their way in and would get really antsy. "And they've already started."
Mikey was well behind the others, off the draft a bit in 18th. Johnson still led.
"Oh yeah. Any time now," Roman said.
The #55 radio was quiet as cars up front jockeyed for position.
"Ten to go. Ten. The lap times just now drop off?"
"They're not too bad," Billy replied, and he gave lap times. "45.70, same as the 62 10." He listed others. "Faster than the 32 and 34."
Billy said you'd think others would look to race smart if they're locked in, but they're not.
"Coming to 6 to go. 6 to go. 6. Still all clear. Clear up ahead. Yeah, we're running them down."
"Yeah, we were the fastest car by half a second."
"Wrecking. Back it down back it down back it down back it down. Hard as you can. Stay high. Come on."
The third caution came with 5 to go. Denny Hamlin turned Danica Patrick with a bump in the corner.
"Watch for debris coming off of these guys," Roman warned.
"I think so. I might have slid my tires. They don't feel like it though," Mikey said.
Mikey said the car was running good, but he just wanted to keep the car safe. Billy agreed. They then decided to stop anyway, because it would get crazy at the end. Plus, they wanted to practice a stop.
When pit road open, the #55 pit with others.
"Got two jet dryers up ahead there. Keep low. All clear," Roman said. "Outside, the 3. Lucky dog."
Billy said they were 15th going into the green/white/checkered with damaged cars behind them. He then noted that several pieces of debris were on the track. "Think there was a fender out there too."
"Roman, just so you know, the 31 62 and 3 are working together to get the 62 into the race, so just watch out there."
"All right. That 3, I think he's locked in. Right?"
Roman relayed the information. They discussed how they want to race this car in the 500.
Racing resumed, and Roman said the #10 was working the top. "Three wide. You're the last car with the 3 outside. Still outside tight to the 3. All clear right there. All clear."
Johnson led going into the last lap.
"Still clear up ahead."
"I'm going to lay back," Mikey said.
"Yeah. Sorry we had to make this choice for you, but we'll be good for the 500."
Johnson won. Mikey was well behind all the other cars on track. He crossed the stripe 19th.
"Okay, good job. Thank you, guys. We'll get ready to see you tomorrow in practice, Roman," Billy said.
"Spotter, I just didn't have any teammates or anything to gain getting into that mess. I have a really good handling car. That will pay off on Sunday. Good job, everybody. I'll get up there and dig on Sunday."
Billy told him he did great. "We'll see you tomorrow."
Watch Mikey race in the Great American Race! He will start 34th, and Clint will start 9th. Coverage of the Daytona 500 starts at 1:00pm on Sunday, February 22nd on FOX.