Problems in the pits plagued the BK Racing #83 team throughout today's running of the Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip finished 30th in his 29th appearance in the Great American Race.
"I had fun," Mikey said in a live Facebook video from the FOX broadcasting booth after the race, "because when the race started, I was able to pass drivers when I'm just a TV guy.
"And then my tranny broke. I had to hold her in gear one handed. I looked like a cowboy."
Mikey was also live on FOX before the race. From the Hollywood Hotel, he said, "Daytona Day is my favourite day of the year. I can't wait to get behind the wheel of my car, get out there, and feel how it's going to handle on this hot sunny day. The cars are going to be slipping and sliding around more than ever before, and I can't wait."
Pre-race ceremonies began at approximately 1:00pm ET, and Mikey got to his car about fifteen minutes later. His team performed a radio check.
"Check check. You got me, Michael?" crew chief Doug Richart asked at 1:17pm.
"Still prepping here," someone said.
"Do you hear me, Ty?" Mikey asked spotter Ty Norris.
"Yeah, you sound perfect."
"You hear me perfect, can you."
"Yeah, it's perfect right now. Hopefully, it's still good when we crank this thing up. Did you do the grid walk? I didn't have a chance to see it."
"It was horrible. They cut it short." Mikey said he was supposed to walk with a girl and that something else got cut too. "I don't even know how it fell apart so quickly. I guess it was a lack of communication."
"All right. We'll do that after. We'll make a pact," Ty assured him.
"Yeah, her name was Hannah Ferguson. Don't google her though. I'm now following her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I don't have a problem or nothing."
Ty said he was also following her on pit road.
"Fire 'em up!" Mikey exclaimed at 1:20pm after Gerard Butler gave the call to start engines. "Everything's working. Do you want the gear fan on or just later?"
Doug said they would start with the gear fan and the engine fan. He said he took off a piece of tape too.
"All right, thanks for all the work, Doug," Mikey said. He thanked his sponsors. "We'll try to make 'em proud today, but I appreciate being part of this team."
Ty echoed Mikey's sentiments.
"Yes, thank you very much, everyone. I haven't been in a shot like this to win in a long time."
"I have a good feeling, so embrace it." Mikey also thanked the speedway too. "There are so many people I'm thankful for right now."
"10-4," Doug replied.
Ty said Mikey's box was five away from the first box. He also mentioned to Doug that he didn't have a second channel.
The field rolled off pit road. Chase Elliott was on the pole, and Mikey was 36th.
"All right, bud. Here we are. Two past the 48. There you go."
"Doug. Doug," someone said.
"How do you copy me on the backstretch?"
"Good so far."
The second spotter confirmed.
"Am I even or odd? I don't know where I start."
"The ol' girl even looks like it used to, so it might be loose today. It's slippery, I guess," Mikey commented.
Doug told Mikey that two red is max on his dash.
"Okay. Some of them got tape on their back, Doug." When asked to clarify, Mikey said it was "that slippery tape".
"10-4. We got it on ours."
Ty warned that some cars in the back would be in a hurry, but they'd play their game. "If you want to give those guys racing room, just keep me informed."
Mikey said he would strike "a delecate balance" between what was going on around him.
Ty noted the cars dropping to the back. "You'll be on the pole here before we get around here."
"The 20 decided to go back up there," Mikey said.
"All right, bud. You should be pulling those belts tight. Get a good drink of water here," Doug said. "Should be coming to the green this time."
"What are these guys doing?" Mikey asked.
"I don't know."
Ty said NASCAR didn't know what those cars were doing either.
"There's a surprise."
"All right, buddy. Here we go. Pace car's coming off. Going to be a little bit before we get down here. REady? Green green green. Everybody's rolling. Start finish. Clear anything you need. Single file right now with the 78."
Elliott led the field to the green flag at 1:33pm.
"Hop in behind that 78. All clear three back. Still clear to the top, clear to the top. Two back. Still all clear. You've got a four pack with you, single file."
Elliott led the first lap. Mikey was 32nd.
"Clear behind the 15 by four if you need it. Still clear to the middle and the top. 3 got a little help. White car in front of you. Clear to the high side up to the middle, or to the bottom. Outside 15, outside 15. 78 coming with you. Still outside 15. More help on the bottom. You're clear up to the top if you need it. Three wide. They're getting a little antsy. 78 outside. They're running the middle line. One more outside. 31 coming to your bumper. You see all that three wide up there. Outside all the way to the top. Middle still good. Still a little escape room here. You're one back to the 31."
"Car's a little bit loose. Saw a couple sideways up there," Mikey said on lap 4 as Dale Earnhardt Jr took the lead.
Ty said the #3 was coming outside. "31 is going to chill back there with you. On your corner, the 23. I'll keep my eyes on them. Outside, the 23. Clear, any lane you need. All clear. Three back. Clear three back. That 46 is by himself. Three wide knotted up there. 6 all the way down to the middle line. The middle line still open. 31 still chilling. Two wide. Three-wide, three-wide. 6 still down there. Still down there, the 6. Has no help. You have the 23. You're all clear, all clear. Clear three back out the mirror, nothing coming. All the way to the top, everything's clear. 16 outside, outside."
Static came on the radio.
"You're all clear whatever you want. Clear five back out the mirror. Nothing trying to get up on you."
"Cars are loose, loose, loose!" Mikey said on lap 9. He was 26th.
"13 clear to the middle, clear to the top if you need it. 13 coming all the way outside. Down there 21. He's in the middle lane. You're clear. Big run inside inside inside. Clear right there. Clear two back. Clear whatever you need. Got a run inside - the 21. The 21 right to your door. It's you and the 21, just you two. Ten out the back. Clear clear. Inside 21 is closing the lap. Outside 21, all by himself. Good right there ten back to anything else. They're not organized at all. Now they're coming inside. Inside two of them. Clear, clear there. You're clear back to the 5."
"That 38 about wrecked us all." Mikey was talking about Landon Cassill.
"I saw that," Ty said. "The 5's back there. He's sniffing you, but I think he's just chilling." Then Ty said Mikey had two cars with him.
"Is one behind the 5?"
"Yeah, you got the 4 and the 5," Ty said. "Biffle is two back, and it looks like he's in a hurry. Coming to your bumper. Four back to the 5. He's got seven with him. Clear there, clear there. 5's not trying to put any pressure on you. All clear. Still clear all clear. Let Greg go up there."
"It's slippery slippery slippery. I'm very slippery," Mikey said on lap 15.
Ty said the 16 was up top if Mikey wanted to go with him.
"Whoever is in the 38 is going to crash."
"10-4," Ty replied. "Clear there. One back to the 59, trying to close on you. Inside all by himself. Clear behind him if you want to go with him. You're clear to anyone who wants to put pressure on you. Still down there, still down there. Still outside, long line of them. To the 16's bumper. 59 on your bumper now, on the bottom. Junior is pulling the bottom line right now. About four of them are trying to shuffle Junior out. We'll see what happens. Got one slow. Keep coming keep coming keep coming. Good to the middle. Clear low. He did the same thing the truck did the other night - tried to cut to the bottom and got loose. Still outside. Got the 16 with him."
On lap 19, Kevin Harvick got loose under Earnhardt Jr's #88 and had dropped through the field. The first caution came out shortly thereafter.
Ty guided Mikey through Chase Elliott's spin. The rookie got loose running three-wide and went through the grass. Regan Smith's #7 got run over as cars were slowing for Elliott's #24. "Caution's out, caution's out. Roll on out of it."
"Nice job! Way to go, Ty!" Doug called for four tires and full of fuel. He asked about handling.
"Just loose. It hasn't picked up the nose to it." Mikey suggested a lower track bar.
Doug called for two down right side track bar. The #83 was 20th under yellow.
Cars pit, and Denny Hamlin's #11 was the first off pit road.
Doug said he was cautiously optimistic for later.
"Yeah, 10-4, but four shoes are better than two," Ty replied.
"10-4. We'll just see how it all plays out here. All right, 83 penalty. Over the wall too soon. We got to keep an eye."
"As bad as we are, we should have stayed out and led a lap," Mikey said. "Instead of getting attention for our sponsor by going to the back."
Doug said the crew member who went over the wall too soon knows it and won't do it again. He called for more fuel in the car.
"Explain to the guy who did it how hard it is to pass people out there," Mikey said.
Ty told Mikey to be ready this lap. "If it's one to go, let's make sure that we don't try to speed or anything. Nothing to gain."
"I'm pretty sure about the tact reading," Mikey said.
"10-4. I thought I'd tell you the right number."
"It's not about the numbers. It's about the dots."
Ty and Doug led the #83 to the box for the pass through penalty.
"All right, we talked about how we made a mistake. Let's not do it again," Doug said.
Ty said the 32 and 31 were behind Mikey, and the #32 had the option to go around. "All right, here we go. Down there with that 27 there. 32 had to drop back too. Pace car's off. Ten away from the restart. Five away. Roll. Green green green. Everybody's good, everybody's rolling."
Hamlin led the lap 26 restart. Mikey was 38th.
"Still outside, still outside. Clear behind that 32 if you need it. Hop up there quick. Stay tight right there. That 4 is leading them to the back. Good job. Still down there. You're all clear, all clear."
Kurt Busch took the lead in the #41.
"All clear, all clear. 46 by himself. Have one trying to come with him. One back to the 26. To your bumper. Everybody's single file. Good shape here. Still there. Clear clear clear."
Hamlin led lap 27. Mikey was 35th.
"Clear behind him if you need it. Still clear up behind if you need it. Outside now coming outside, 46 by himself. Clear behind that 46. Still clear. Outside outside. Got the 47 and 4 on the bottom line with you. 47 and 4 in your mirror. Outside, 32 coming. 47 trying to get to your bumper. Everyone's two by two. Out there, 27. Still there. Still got 47 coming to help."
AJ Allmendinger was in the #47, Harvick in the #4.
"Outside outside. All the way to the top. 27. Inside 27. Inside inside. Clear top side. Clear outside. Got the 19, 31, 27 top side. 7 going to be dropping back. 7 still down there. Clear low, clear low."
Mikey was 33rd on lap 31.
"The 7 up there, a bunch of guys with you. All the help's up top. 4 is trying to work with you on the bottom. Three back. 4 still on the bottom with you. All the help's up top, most of the help. Still outside. There's three rows of two by two behind you. No three wide up front. Still outside, outside coming. 32's looking. Outside. Outside on your corner, the 32. Still there."
Mikey was 34th on lap 33 as Hamlin continued to lead.
"Still there. Got the 4 behind you. Still up there 27. Still up there two by two. Top side's rolling. Clear outside. Got the 6 car dropping off the lead pack. You'll be clear when you catch him. Still outside, still two-by-two. The 34 and 38 are working the middle up there. Stay on your toes. Still out there. Still got the 4 with you. Still out there. Looks like lap 7 or 8 is when it started to get loose."
"Two tenths faster than the leaders," Doug said.
"Clear all clear. 4 is all clear also. Make your decision quick on that 6. Not sure what he's doing."
"He's not either," Mikey replied.
"Clear all clear. 4 is on the bottom. Inside inside. He might be just peaking out to get air on his nose. You're all clear, all clear. 6 by himself. Still there inside. Still there. Got a big run. 4 car got a big run. Middle still clear. 4's back in line. Still up top, 15. Still on your door, still on your corner. Still outside, still outside. Trying to jam three wide up there. Try to be careful. Middle's still open for you. Looks like things settled down. Top if you want it. Either lane, all clear all clear."
Mikey was 29th on lap 39 as Hamlin continued to lead.
"Still down there inside. Still down there. Top side's rolling. Inside 59. All clear, all clear. Inside inside."
Doug asked for Mikey's temperatures when he could.
"Got your pusher up there - the 4 up top with you. Clear the 59, clear the 59. Top line's still rolling. Inside inside, the 4. Clear low if you need it. Jumping up top. Outside outside outside. Good job. Inside the 6. He's got the 59. Clear all clear if you need it. All clear all clear. Outside the 6, outside the 6. White car. 59 jumped up there with him. Clear there clear there clear there. 38 is leading that top line, for your information. Four in front."
Mikey was 27th on lap 43 when FOX highlighted him and his tight move to jump in front of Trevor Bayne where the top line was moving.
"Still on your corner. 6 is still out there. Still clear behind him by two if you need it. Still clear by two. Still clear by one." Ty warned Mikey cars on the bottom were getting squirrely. "3's back inside. He's got very little help. 9's trying to get down with him. 2 got shuffled out, trying to get real aggressive. We'll keep an eye on him. He's stuck in the middle. Down there the 3, all the way to the yellow line. Still down there. Still down there, the 3. Clear clear clear. A little run back inside the 3. All clear if you wanted it. Outside outside. Two by two. Two by two, everyone's two by two. 15's up top. Still out there. Up there. Clear up clear up. Top line's going to prevail. You're clear clear. Coming outside outside outside. You're clear if you wanted it. 44's still one back. Closing up. Outside outside."
Ty warned Mikey on lap 51 about the #88 dropping through the field along the outside line. "Outside outside. Outside outside. About eight of them jumped up top. I don't know if they're trying to run with Junior, if he dropped back on purpose. Outside 93. He's giving you room if you want it, room if you want it. Two by two. No holes up top. 88 dropped to the back, because he took two. He said he's way too loose on the top. Still outside outside. Clear by half. Inside inside. Got a run inside. Clear low clear low."
The #83 was 22nd on lap 52 as Hamlin's #11 led. Mikey came over the radio and said something amidst static.
"Two by two. Two by two. Two by two. Some of those guys are getting squirrelly in the middle there." Ty also said something about cars running the outside with the #88. "Dropping back in the middle. 7's coming to your bumper. You're three wide. 7's coming to your bumper. Still three wide, three wide. Back to two. Still two by two. Come if you want it. You're good. Inside inside inside. 19 inside. You're clear down behind him. Good to the top side or the bottom here. Clear by two. Run coming to your bumper, the 6. Keep coming. Come down come down come down. Come down pit road. Back ti down, just back it down. Awesome job."
"Keep slowing all the way down pit road," Doug said. He called for four tires after Ty said that answered the crew chief's question about tires.
The yellow flag waved for the second time on lap 57. Brian Vickers, who was subbing for Tony Stewart in the #14, spun. Trevor Bayne and Carl Edwards were also involved. FOX showed how Mikey narrowly dodged the #14 as it went across the front of his car. Doug asked about the car.
"Yeah. I would take a pound out of the front in both of them. Leave everything else alone. I'm still better than most of these guys."
Doug agreed. "Four tires, no mistakes, nice and smooth."
"That's about as close I came to wrecking and didn't, so that was nice."
Doug praised him about getting down well.
"Well, getting down quick would have crashed me. I had to ease it to the bottom. One big bullet that we dodged anyway."
Doug told Ty they would come around the #34. "Four tires. No other changes." He told the crew it was their time to show and show Mikey what they had.
Ty and Doug led Mikey to the box.
"Good job, guys! Way to go!" Doug praised the crew. Jimmie Johnson came off pit road first.
A minute later, Doug exclaimed, "Man, Michael! The thing is not full of gas!"
"Then why did you tell me to go?" Mikey asked.
"You'd think, when you sit down that long, it's full."
"This one is never full, so I don't know why you would say that."
"Unbelievable. Same as last time, Ty."
"Coming back down, you said?"
Doug said they had to pit again for more fuel. He and Ty led Mikey to the box.
"Back up. Back up. Back up. All right, right there."
"I don't know what I was thinking. I was thinking of going to the next box," Mikey said after overshooting his pit.
As he went back on track, Mikey said, "Come on, boys! Get yourself some Maxwell House coffee. Get your sh** together. What the heck? It's a mess out here."
Doug noted the #93 went over the wall too early. He also said the #24 just came out of the garage. He noted the #14, #16, and #93 would be back there with him too. He then called for the over-the-wall crew to assemble.
"Pace car's off. Be ready. Green green green. They're already reporting debris, Michael. Be ready for a quick caution. They're saying it's clear, so keep rolling. You're clear whatever you want."
Johnson led the lap 62 restart. Mikey was 29th.
"Outside, outside. Now you're clear. Coming back. You're clear. Bottom guys trying to get to the back. All clear. Two back, three back. Clear all clear. Whatever you need. They're leaning on each other pretty good up there. Clear top side. 14's running the middle. Three-wide here. He doesn't have a whole lot of help. Three-wide. Just one down there, still one down there inside. Clear there. Clear clear clear. Clear there. Three wide four rows in front of you. Inside 46. Outside. Outside outside. Outside."
Up front, Johnson and Hamlin were side-by-side and kept swapping the lead. Mikey was 28th.
"Still two by two. Got the 17 with you. Outside outside. 17's still outside, 31 behind him." Ty commented on a car up front.
"Just watch them there and leave me alone," Mikey said.
"Still up top, still outside. Top five are pretty organized. Got four lines behind you. Clear there. 47 got a big run. 47 by himself. Clear there by two back to the 19. They're just riding. Still clear all clear right there. Got a slow one on the bottom, the 26. Clear up there if you want it. It settled down up there, two by two." Ty said he would let Mikey know if things got busy again up front. "14's on the bottom by himself. No help. Clear the 14. All clear, all clear. Still clear three back. Still up there. Still up top. Clear behind. Still clear behind, about five or six. Still thirty to half way. Just finished lap 70."
Mikey was 37th. He moved up a spot one lap later when he passed Vickers' #14.
"About ten out the back. No pressure. Everybody's two by two up front. Up top the 44, still on your corner. Going to close that gap. 44 up top. You did it better than me. Good job. Clear all clear, whatever you need. 6 still up top. Clear behind him if you want it. Clear by three. Still clear all clear behind the 31 if you need it. Another. Clear clear. Clear the 32. 15 outside outside. Outside. Good. Middle's good. Outside 32. Middle's fine. Clear up top. Time for them to get dancing around up there. Clear all clear. 32's closing the gap. He's outside outside. With us 34. 34 34. 32's closing. Outside outside. Clear there, clear there."
Kyle Busch took the lead on lap 78. Johnson lost the draft.
"48 was the leader, but he took two earlier, and now he's dropping like a rock," Ty explained. Mikey was 30th. "Cars are three wide up there. Clear three back to the 15. Still up top, up top. Still all nose to tail. Two by two, two by two. These guys are jumping up on Jimmie's bumper right now, and I don't think he wants them. Be ready. Outside. Still outside outside. Low line's still good. You're clear you're clear you're clear. Inside. He's in the middle. There you go. You're clear. 48 jumped to the top side. He's in your line now. Clear whatever you need, whatever you need."
Mikey was 27th.
"Keep rolling, they're going to be fine." Ty said something about someone having a hard time getting into the turns, leaving a hole that others were filling. "Two by two."
Mikey was 24th on lap 81.
"Trying to go three-wide two rows in front of you. Outside all by himself, the 7. 59's on your bumper. Got one outside. Jumped outside on you. 59's outside. You're clear clear clear. Clear all clear. Out there, the 59's tight on that 38. Closing up top. Closing up top. Real tight on them up top. 15's real tight on them. You and the 15 are clear five back if you want to move around a little bit. You're clear five back. Still outside tight, still outside. Outside. High line. Clear by three, clear by two. 15's still up there, still outside. Clear now clear." He asked how many until the next stop.
"We're good until lap 103," Doug said.
"That 17 inside," Ty warned. "16, 17 laps bud. Inside 22, inside 22. Clear four back. Inside 22, inside. 17 down there with him. Now you're clear, you're clear. The 88's backing up again. Up top by himself. Finally got back in line. Still two by two. He's inside by himself. Clear all clear. Clear by two, clear by two. Still outside 22, still outside. Clear up if you want it. Clear two back."
On lap 88, Mikey was 25th as Kyle Busch led.
"2's backing up on the bottom. Still clear up, clear up. 10 car's hung out in the middle. They're going to be splitting her. Still making a desperate turn to your nose. Still three-wide. No help in the middle. Still there inside. Clear low clear low clear low. Lapping this 26. You're going to pass him on this front straightaway. Clear behind the 43 if you need it too. Four back, no pressure. Crash behind you, crash behind you. Caution's not out but it will be."
The third caution was on lap 91 for wreck involving Matt Debenedetto and Chris Buescher in Turn 1.
"Same with those pressures, and go back up on that track bar whatever you went earlier," Mikey requested.
"10-4, driver. You're doing a heck of a job, driver. Don't give up on it," Doug said. He told Mikey he had plans for the car, and he told the crew to make the adjustments Mikey made. "I think you passed more cars than anybody here today. I see it. How's your window?"
"Fine. 244, 211."
"Get yourself back up, man. You'll get it," Doug encouraged. He told Mikey to come around the 48 and they'd have a clear pit in.
Cars pit under yellow. Mikey stayed out two laps.
"Stuck in gear, so I'm glad we didn't pit," Mikey said when they stayed out a second lap. "Stuck in gear... I don't know."
Doug said it was another transmission, and Ty said something about a truck driving off the beach.
This prompted Mikey to sing the Blake Shelton song "Some Beach" over the radio. "I like Blake Shelton. He likes Elliott Sadler. I'm not jealous or anything."
Mikey commented on the stuck gear and said he would do whatever Doug said.
"Can you jerk it or do anything to get it out?"
"Not so far, try as I might."
The #83 went to pit road. Doug suggested shutting it off to see what it would do. After the stop, Doug said, "Your gears are working now, right?"
"When I turned the motor off, I got it in gear. It came out. So far so good," Mikey said.
Doug said they had more changes behind the wall. "Let's do the best we can to get you up there, get something out of it."
"I doubt we're going to go. Hoots is talking about sending the truck back there. Not coming to the green, not coming to the green. It will be one to go again."
"Good job up there, Ty," Mikey said. He then praised his crew chief.
Doug said they still had time and not to give up.
"Yeah, I'm never going to give up. So far, so good."
"Good job," Doug told his driver. "No cutting your wrist before it's over."
"Doug, he let it go, so we'll let it go," Ty said.
"Seems like it's responded to those stickers more than anything." He said they had stickers to finish and started on scuffs.
"Feels good to be a TV guy out there passing these race car drivers. This TV guy is hanging right there with them," Mikey said. He asked if they should get gas.
"Yes, let's get gas with one to go," Doug said. "When we come, it will be gas only."
"Well, the lights are off. It must be one to go," Mikey said.
"They showed you the waving yellow flag. Be ready to come around to the green," Ty said. "They never said one to go. They gave us the rolled up yellow flag."
"Yeah yeah yeah," Mikey said. "All right."
"Pace car's off. Ready. Roll. Green green green. Everybody's rolling, two by two."
Hamlin led the lap 100 restart along the outside. Mikey was 31st.
"Still two by two. Still two by two. Leader leaning on each other. Still two by two. Still down there inside, 47. Clear clear. Clear both lanes. Clear two back. Outside the 6. 47 to your bumper. 6 is still out there on your quarter, still out there. Clear behind the 44. Clear. Clear up if you want it. Still outside."
Matt DiBenedetto was cleared from the infield care center, and he took responsibility for his accident. He said he got the wind knocked out of him but was okay.
"Still outside, the 31. Clear up there if you want it. Stay on your toes here. Clear all clear. Still outside. They got a little bit of help."
Hamlin led on lap 104. Mikey was 33rd.
"Coming outside, 32. Clear there, clear there. If they get knotted up and these tires go away, it's going to be interesting. They're three wide six deep. Still up top 46. Still on you. The 46 outside. Still four rows three-wide up front. Clear there, all clear."
Mears' #13 stopped with a loose wheel on lap 106.
"Outside. Real slow car running the middle in one and two. The 13 is just getting up to speed in Turn 2. Low. Still outside. Clear up behind the 32 if you need it. 32's still on your corner. Three back to the 19. Still all clear. You guys are all single file. These guys are just two wide now. Still all clear, bud. All clear."
Mikey was 35th on lap 108; the #83 was the last car in line on the lead lap. Edwards' #19 was one lap down and was right behind the #83.
"You're clear about ten out the back. The 19 dropped off of you."
Ty said Edwards asked Mikey to drop back and pick him up. The #19 was four behind him. Doug said the #19 and #13 were one lap down, fighting for the free pass. Mikey went to get him.
"Clear all clear. Starting to cool off a little bit here. 46 is still up there. Clear if you need it. Clear clear. 19 is on your bumper."
"Is Carl content, or does he want to go?" Mikey asked.
"I'll ask him," Ty said. "19 is going to hang back there. He's the lucky dog right now. You're clear. You got your partner on the bottom. Clear. Outside outside. Quick clear. There you go. You're clear. Let's see what kind of car you have. They'll be working with us here. 22 is expected to back up a little bit. Loose. Still outside. 26 still there. Still up top. Still out there. Still there. No help either side. Trying to get to you. Good clear if you want it. Clear up if you need it. Real slow up top. Stay on the bottom stay on the bottom stay on the bottom. 16 is riding the wall. No caution yet. Clear, you are all clear. No caution yet. You are all clear all around. Outside outside outside. They said track is clear back there. Behind the 17. Clear back by four to the 44. Some of these guys are going to get ass happy here. Caution's out. Nothing's on you. Don't run over anybody."
The fourth caution was for debris on lap 119. The debris was from Biffle's #16.
"Nice job, Michael! Way to hang on there. When pit road opens, we'll get four tires and fuel."
"Clean the windshield too, please," Mikey requested. "Get 'em, boys! We'll try to make some progress."
"10-4, driver. We'll be ready for you. We'll just take one can," Doug said.
Doug and Ty led Mikey on and off pit road.
"Tires are looking really good, Michael. No issues at all." Doug asked Mikey to keep him posted on the water temps as they might put tape on it later.
"Been about 218 240 when I look at it," Mikey said.
Doug said they might squeeze on it later on. "You've been running with the radiator fan on?"
"Since the start of the day."
"10-4. P28," Doug said. "Still gotta make one more stop."
"One to go when you come around. One to go."
"P25 last time around the line." Doug asked Mikey how the car felt toward the end of the car.
Mikey said his car was maintaining. "Not great, but better than theirs."
Doug said he was trying to figure out what to do for the last stop.
"Hopefully, we'll pit under green and won't lose that much."
"10-4. We made a lot of changes around the wall. We'll see what works out."
"10-4. We'll get 'em here."
"Pace car's off. Ready? Green green green."
Hamlin led the restart on lap 124. Mikey was 25th.
"Two by two, everybody's two by two. Still outside. Still there. The bottom line is rolling right now. Three-wide to your outside. Back to two wide. Two wide again. You're at the bottom of two-wide for two or three rows. Got help in the middle. You're all clear both sides, whatever you need. Outside outside. Got the 21 behind him. Clear all clear whatever you need, middle or top. Clear behind that 21 for two or three car lengths. Clear all clear, whatever lane. Shooting up the middle. Inside inside. Clear behind the 43 if you want it. Bottom the 16. Still there inside, the 16. To the middle name, just if you needed it. Two wide about six rows right there. 10's still inside. Clear behind her. Clear down if you need it. 75 to go, 75 to go. Everybody's two by two. Hang tight. Checking up a little bit. All the way to the top. Top side of three wide, top side of three wide."
Mikey was 27th on lap 128 as Hamlin continued to lead.
"All clear, whatever you need, middle or bottom. You got four rows of three-wide. Coming up on your bumper here. 43 46. Splitting you both sides. Middle of three. Hold that line for a minute. Inside inside. Clear low clear low. They move and then they come back. They are... get on the bottom there, get on the bottom. Three-wide for a second three wide with the 10. Two wide. You're with the 10. 6 outside, outside. 17 in front of the 10. Maybe she'll push him a little bit. The middle are getting antsy to jump into one of these lanes. Be ready. Got one on your bumper. Still clear any lane. 47 hanging around the middle lane. Keep rolling, you're good. Top side is better. Clear to the middle if you want it, clear to the middle if you want it. Clear behind the 10 if you want it. Top side 95 in front. Just two wide, two wide. Clear low. All clear. Nothing in your mirror there. Nothing close, four back. 10 car still outside. Clear up if you want it, clear up. 16 in your mirror, 16 in your mirror. With the 10. Clear all clear. Watch that 6. Still down there 6. Still there. Trying to work the middle 16 and 43. Now it's back to two wide. Clear. Nice work. One back to the 16. Clear by four back to the 16. Clear low if you needed it, all clear if you need it. Clear behind the 6 if you need it. All clear. Closing one back. Stay top side with the 43. Low all clear. Tight on that 6, outside outside. Clear behind the 43 if you want it. Clear by one, by half. Still clear. Clear the 6, clear the 6. Starting to close up, back outside."
"Don't do that, Ty. Everyone's so frickin' close," Mikey said. "I trust you."
"The 43 is outside on you. The 10. One car after the 16. He's coming up on you quick. Outside outside."
Mikey was up to 25th.
"Still outside, 32. Still outside. 10 up top. Inside 23. He's got the 31 with him. The 32 and 46 with you. 16 outside running the middle. Three back."
Mikey was 30th by lap 136. He was 29th two laps later.
"10 has the 16 tucked in with her. Still outside tight, still outside. Clear behind that 46 for three car lengths. Looking outside, 23 by himself. Clear up behind him if you needed it. Clear by four. Clear up behind him if you need it. All clear all clear. Whatever you need, all clear. Clear behind if you need it. Trying to close up. Outside outside. Clear behind him if you need it. About 60 to go. That's lap 140."
Mikey was 30th.
"Fuel good to 146," Doug said.
Ty said they still had time before they'd pit and hopefully it would be under green. "Clear by two. Outside outside, still outside. Clear high, clear high. Clear that 10, whatever you need. All clear. Outside, the 16. 10 moving outside to his bumper. Outside 10 outside. 95 jumped up there with the 10. 47 back to your lane, coming to you. You're all clear, whatever you need. By one by half. Looking outside 46. Got the 47 coming to your bumper. Clear whatever you need. All clear, all clear."
Mikey was 27th. Hamlin still led.
"Two by two with help. Everybody two by two with help. Two by two with help. 9 in the middle. Two by two. 9 is in the middle by himself. Three lanes in front, still two by two. Slow inside 47. Clear now high the 47. Outside outside. Middle of three middle of three. Clear low clear low. 46 is still outside. Little bit of a gap behind him if you need it. Still half back. Now outside 23. 23 by himself. You can jump in there with him. Either way. Everybody's two by two in front. Clear whatever you need, clear whatever you need. 23 half back outside."
"I'm trying to give myself a little room, Ty, in case one of them messes up. I can't get up there, man," Mikey said on lap 148.
Ty commented cars were really loose. "You're still clear, you're still clear. No one out in your mirror in your lane. Still 52 to go, 52 to go. Another 15 before we have to pit or so."
Mikey was 31st on lap 149.
"Keep coming keep coming. Everybody got it cleared out. Coming outside 31. Clear right there if you want it. Three back to the 19. Clear there behind the 31 if you needed it. 32 is trying to look up top. Inside 32. Still out there on your corner, 31. Everyone two by two up front. Outside 19. Outside. We got five out or six out from the pit stop, we'll try to make our way up there better," it sounded like Ty said.
"Clear up clear up clear up. Still all clear, all clear. All clear all clear. Got a run on the inside. 19 in the middle. Still probably ten to twelve to our pit stop."
"Thirteen away. Thirteen."
"Clear all clear. Everybody has help up top. Two by two. Still outside, still outside. Clear all clear. Clear all clear. Clear all clear. 19's all the way on the bottom, no help. Clear all clear. He's three back now."
"Michael, I'm still thinking four tires when we pit. This is going to be two full cans," Doug told his driver with 45 to go. Mikey was 28th.
"Clear all clear. All clear. Pitting. Stay up stay up."
A pack of cars went to the pits with 44 to go.
"Losing fuel pressure," Mikey reported.
"Go ahead and pit and get fuel. Go on. Four tires, guys."
"Come on come on come on," Ty said after saying he didn't see anyone else waving to the box. "Fifth one in."
Doug guided Mikey to his box right behind Danica Patrick's. Brad Keselowski was now leading.
"Don't leave too soon," Ty adviced as Mikey came off pit road. "All you got, bud. All you got." He helped the #83 blend into the pack. "Coming seven back. Be the last one here. They're all pitting. They're all pitting. We're going to be fine. We're going to have people behind us, bud."
"All right, now we need to do a pass through for an uncontrolled tire," Doug said.
"Middle lane middle lane middle lane. Finish this lap."
"Want me to cross the start finish line?" Mikey asked.
"Go on and finish it," Ty said. "How many laps can we go, Doug? Can we go one more, or should we pit now?"
Doug said they needed to pit now.
"Come on this time. They just busted two more guys for speeding. Coming this time. Coming this time. Coming this time. Don't slide them. We're just going to stop and go, right?"
"No, just pass through."
"Pass through pass through pass through."
"Stop and go was about seven or eight years ago, I think," Mikey told his spotter.
Ty told him there was another straggler. "Field coming outside."
Mikey spoke amidst static.
"Keep trucking. The leaders are just getting into Turn 1, and we can be racing the 16 and the 59 for the lucky dog."
"Believe me, I'm doing everything I possibly can."
Doug said he was just telling Mikey how they could get their lap back. "We're still on the lead lap technically, but the leaders are at the start finish line now."
Mikey was 32nd as Matt Kenseth's #20 now led.
"35 to go. 35 to go. There are five single file guys now maybe a quarter of a straightaway back. Then that 16 and then two wide. Fifteen back, fifteen back. Hug that yellow line. Make it work. Ten back. Coming outside, about seven of them, single file." Ty told Mikey the #16 and the #19 - who were also lapped - were with them. "Five back until two wide, and the 16 is in that group. Check the top side. There you go. The 6 and the 16 are in the top side. Clear you're clear. 6 has got the 16 in his mirror, if you want to follow that 88. Looking inside, looking inside. 16 inside with him. Down there inside. Inside inside. Got three of them. The 16 and the 2 are with the 6. 16 inside. Still down there, still down there. Inside with him, the 2. Four lined up against you down there. Got the 4 and the 1 with them. Still inside, still inside. 2 4 and 1 on the bottom."
"10 is the lucky dog now," Doug said.
"Doug, we got this, we got this," Ty said. "Inside the 6. Clear top side if you need it. Keep coming keep coming keep coming. Caution lucky dog. Man, way to work, Michael!"
The fifth caution was for Dale Earnhardt Jr's wreck. He got loose and wrecked as he attempted to side draft with Brian Vickers' #14. Mikey got the free pass back to the lead lap.
Doug asked, "Handling wise, you're okay with just getting four tires, Mike?"
Doug told the crew to make sure someone in the rear stopped the tire.
"It don't matter. Just make a twenty second pit stop, and don't screw nothing up," Mikey said.
"Pit road will not be open this time. They're still dragging the 88 off the grass." Ty explained what he saw. "I don't think anyone hit him."
"His right rear tire's flat right now," Doug said.
"Sounds like he was loose," Mikey commented. "A bunch of these buttholes are saving gas. I'll say that again. That wasn't nice. Many of the competitors are saving gas, so we'll get four tires and fuel to make sure we can make it for multiple restarts. Coming to you live from FOX."
"Michael, go around the pace car," Ty directed. He warned his driver about safety trucks. "Track's clear now. Track's clear. Go get caught up, and then we'll pit. Truck in the bottom of two. Low groove. Back it down a little bit and see where it goes. Keep on rolling. You're good now. Gas it up."
Doug asked if Mikey could pit this time, and Ty confirmed. "Four tires, let's get him a tear off. Pack that thing full of fuel. Take your time."
Ty and Doug guided Mikey on and off pit road.
"All right, come on back around. We're not on one to go yet," Ty said. "Nevermind. Nevermind. We're good. We're the lucky dog. We're going to stay back there anyway."
"What's unbelievable? What's wrong?" Mikey asked.
No one responded.
Kenseth's #20 led the restart when racing resumed with 25 to go. Mikey was 29th. The yellow flag waved one more time when Danica Patrick and Greg Biffle got into each other and Patrick spun.
Racing resumed with 12 to go. Kenseth led up until the last lap. Going into Turns 3 and 4, Denny Hamlin jumped to the top line, then both he and Martin Truex Jr dove beneath Kenseth. Kenseth's #20 lost the draft. Hamlin and Truex raced to the stripe, and Hamlin won in a photo finish. This is Toyota's first Daytona 500 victory.
After the race, Mikey met the race winner in the broadcasting booth; he gave his friend a big hug when Hamlin arrived. Mikey also spoke with another friend in the booth, Kenny Wallace. These exchanges aired live on Mikey's Facebook feed.
"I enjoyed watching you race. You did a good job barely missing that wreck, you and Junior." Kenny complimented him as the crew set him up with his microphone. "Were you afraid? Were you like NO! Oh yeah!"
"No, I had fun," Mikey replied, "because when the race started, I was able to pass drivers when I'm just a TV guy."
Kenny mentioned missteps in the pits.
"And then my tranny broke," Mikey explained. "I had to hold her in gear one handed. I looked like a cowboy."
Mikey will be back with Maxwell House and Toyota later this season. Stay tuned!