Michael Waltrip dodged The Big One on the white flag lap. His #98 Maxwell House Camry placed 13th in the CampingWorld.com 500, this afternoon's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.
"Thank you @nascar fans. I love racing for you. #MaxwellHouse ?? @toyotaracing #talladega @ Talladega," Mikey tweeted after the race.
Michael Waltrip Racing drivers Clint Bowyer finished 8th in the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota, while David Ragan's #55 Aaron's Dream Machine placed 30th due to a late race penalty.
Mikey started today's race from 33rd. Ragan and Bowyer started 22nd and 29th respectively.
NASCAR.com's Scanner experienced technical difficulties; the one labelled as being for the #98 was actually playing Timmy Hill's #62 radio.
The green flag waved at 2:30pm ET with Jeff Gordon's #24 car leading the field to the stripe. By lap 3, Mikey was 40th. He was 22nd on lap 5. MWR's Twitter feed noted that Mikey was silent on the radio. Mikey was still 22nd on lap 11 and was running the outside line. He was 24th on lap 25, and Dale Earnhardt Jr was now leading. Mikey was 23rd on lap 30, and the #98 team planned to pit in ten laps. Cars began pitting shortly thereafter, and the #98 frequency began broadcasting. The #98 led a lap before going to pit road.
"All right, I got him, Joel," the crew chief said on lap 41 when the #98 pit. "Four tires, no adjustments." The crew chief and spotter guided Mikey on and off pit road.
"A little loose," Mikey said.
"10-4, a little loose," Joel replied. He noted the gap to the cars behind him. "You're doing a good job, man."
Stops had cycled by lap 44, and Jimmie Johnson led. Mikey was 27th.
"Really nice, man," the spotter praised. "You're doing well."
"Everything look good, Michael. Keep it rolling," added the crew chief. "And I haven't heard him say a word. That's unusual."
"He said a little loose out the back two laps ago."
The spotter asked Mikey to check in about the car again when he got caught up. He replied, but his response was in static. The spotter noted this.
"Yeah, he got a drink of water. Maybe he put his microphone back in his mouth," the crew chief replied.
"Everybody's lined up. You're doing great. One car out of line. Everyone else is in line."
"Yeah, if you get bored, just ask him where his microphone is to his mouth, Joel."
"Okay. About ten car lengths behind you, the four of them. You're doing good.
"Lap 50 right here. 5-0.
"Inside, very bottom. There's seven up there total, one apart. Still coming here. P7 is the last one of this group. Two more, after Tony. Danica's seven, and that's it. All clear, all clear."
Mikey was now 33rd on lap 53. His spotter told him nothing was coming from behind, but he was about to pass the #51 who was along the top side. "Clear behind Tony if you need it, two to Danica. Still there, Tony. All clear, all clear. About then to the 10 and the 14. Good job hanging on there."
"Leader's got some grill trash. I don't know if you can see it on the big screen."
Joel said something indicating he thought the crew chief meant Mikey had the trash.
"No, the leader. The leader has it."
"Okay, got you. Still down there. Doing good." He then warned Mikey that Johnson's #48 had trash on the grill. "Got one out of line up high - 26. Clear."
Mikey was 24th on lap 57.
"Still up there, the 6. Clear to the top. Still up there, 2. Clear the 2. There's a line coming behind that 16 about ten back, ten of them. Still up there. You and the 9 there. Still outside. Still up there. 16, and then it's 2 behind him to that pack. You got the 16 and the 2. Nowhere to go here for a second. Still up there, 16. Three car lengths behind him. 2 now. One and a half to the 6. He's going to dive inside. The 2 is two and a half in back of you. Everybody's single file out back now."
On lap 61, Mikey was 21st. Joel warned him that the leader was coming up on lapped traffic. "Still got help from the 2. Harvick's out of line up top by himself. Still in the middle. Still in the middle. 10 in the middle. Top lane's stalled, two of them. Clear high if you need it. In the middle when you get to Guilliland. Clear high again. In the middle, the 6 is on your right. Clear high if you need it, just the 1 and you. Three wide top. You've got good momentum. Three-wide, top. Still rolling good. Three-wide top. Still doing good. Three-wide with that 42 and the 18 in front of him. That's the end of that row. Just the 21 very bottom's all you got. All clear, all clear. Really nice."
Mikey was 14th by lap 64.
"Two back. 18's still with you. Two deep behind you. Still five deep behind you, single file. 18 and 11 with you. We're going to catch five lapped cars in a lap or two."
By lap 66, Mikey was 8th.
"All clear. 18 is still with you. Single file. Single file up top, four of them right there. Here come your lap cars. All of them are up top. Still one to the 18 your row. 78 is the last slow car up top. All clear.:
Earnhardt Jr led on lap 68. Mikey was 8th.
"Lap 68," said the spotter. "About a foot back to the 18. Still in line. First thing out of line is three rows back to one. Two rows back. Coming with you, that 18. 18 1 22 lined up behind you. All clear, all clear. Half to the 18, back up to you. The 1's inside of him. All the help's with you. No, here comes a row of six of them on the very bottom. Just inside, running the middle."
On lap 70, Mikey moved to 7th.
"Four-wide. Three-wide. Inside 40, very bottom. Biffle's two back, your row. All clear. There you go. Middle's still good."
Lap 71 saw Mikey drop to 17th.
"Middle, still in the middle. Going to catch a lapped car. Clear low if you need it. Slow one high in front of the 6. Half to Harvick. Here's your slow one high. Harvick's inside very bottom. Now he's going away. Back inside. Clear behind Trevor if you need it. One to the 20. He's going with you."
"About six more laps until a stop," the crew chief said.
"Still three wide top. Help from that 20. Still three wide top."
"Take 79 on track and 80 off pit road. Now we know the 15 is coming that lap as well."
"Okay. Still three wide top."
Mikey was 18th on lap 73 as Earnhardt Jr continued to lead.
"Still help from the 20. Three wide top." The spotter asked about the car. Mikey's voice couldn't be heard at all - just engine sounds as he hit the talk button. Spotter and crew chief talked about needing to fix the microphone.
"Still just a little free," Mikey's voice was audible this time.
"Three wide top when you get to that 40," the spotter said after acknowledging him. He said cars in front were going to peel off soon.
Crew chief then spotter confirmed that Mikey would pit one lap early now - on lap 79.
"All clear. Whatever you need there. Three wide top. Still three wide. Kenseth's one back from you."
"Is he in any spot to pit?" the crew chief asked.
"Not this lap. One on the bottom. I think he's out of gas. Slow one up top. Okay, we're going to pit next time around."
"Go one more if you can. Go one more if you can."
"Yeah, slow one high. That 95. All right, we won't pit this time. We'll go another lap. Don't pit this time. Still in the middle here. Clear high."
Others went to pit road on lap 78.
"All right, next time around here. Harvick inside. That 20's still helping you. Still got Harvick down there. Three wide up top now. Harvick's inside of that 7."
"Gotta be this time. Gotta be this time."
"I don't think we'll ever get down there. Still inside - 78. Clear to the middle. Clear to the bottom. Pit if you can. Okay, next time around. Clear by five. All right, we led that lap again."
Mikey led lap 81 as Earnhardt Jr squeeled on the brakes to pit. Ragan was 2nd.
"This time for sure, this time for sure."
"Pit this time. Get some heat in your breaks," Joel added. "There you go. 4600 right here."
The crew chief guided Mikey to the box. "Four tires and fuel. 4600, 4600. You got it, Joel."
"All the way to the grass. 46, 46. Watch your speed. Below the yellow. Here they all come. They're still coming about single file. Fifteen more. Ah, the 3 is going to be the last one at speed. Four more. Three. After the 3 here. Right here."
Ragan led a lap after Mikey stopped.
"Got a group about six or seven behind you. Still all right here."
Paul Menard led when Ragan pit.
"About ten back to eight of them, dipping down in the corners," the spotter said. "Five back."
Joey Logano led lap 84. Mikey was 26th.
"17's up to you now. Tony dipped down about the third row. Still got a couple helping you."
"Same pace as the lead pack," the crew chief said.
"Tony's got Danica behind him. 21's slow. I don't know what's wrong with him." The spotter predicted a caution. "All clear. No caution yet."
"He'll catch that lead pack. He was a half a second faster that lap."
"Real nice. You're catching back up there," the spotter praised.
Mikey was 25th on lap 85.
"All clear. Slow one by himself. Clear, clear. Watch the 17 trying to go to your right. 83 is four back of him. Three wide bottom. Middle's good if you want it. Still in the middle. Clear high if you need it. Clear low if you need it. 6 struggling up high a little. Still inside, still inside. 18 in the middle. You're clear high if you need it. Still in the middle."
Mikey was 22nd on lap 87, and Logano continued to lead.
"Still in the middle. Still in the middle. Clear low if you need it, one and a half back. Three wide bottom. Outside, way up top."
Mikey was 16th on lap 88.
"Real good, just won't keep up on the bottom," Mikey reported.
The crew chief said he could tell he didn't do well running the low groove.
"Still all clear. Three wide, bottom."
"That 11 car there has a roof hatch problem, just so you know," the crew chief said. Denny Hamlin's #11 was making multiple stops to have this fixed. "It looks ugly, man. Just be aware."
The spotter warned Mikey about a slow car. "And the 11 has roof flap issues, so he's going to be slow also. Just watch that 32 running the middle. Middle's good if you need it. Actually, that 11 is in the middle two rows up. Just that 38 on your right."
Mikey was 19th on lap 92. Logano led.
"All clear low. Just that 38. That 33 is two back, trying to get to the bottom. Still outside only. Outside only. Still in the middle. Clear low. Halfway right here, halfway. Outside only."
Mikey was 17th on lap 93. Bowyer was pressuring Logano for the top spot, running along the outside.
"Outside only. 13's with you, one back. Still in the middle. Still in the middle, in the middle. Clear low, clear high. Just the 7 up top. 41's closing on his bumper. Can't tell what lane he's in. Back inside - Matt. Still in the middle."
Bowyer led lap 95. Mikey was 14th.
"Still in the middle there. All the way to the front. Still in the middle there, bumper to bumper. Still to the middle. Catching a lapped car up top. The #40 is out of line. Everybody's catching a lapped car. They're going to crowd you up top. Clear low. Still clear low."
Harvick took the lead on lap 97. Mikey was still 11th. He was 9th one lap later.
"Three wide bottom. Still three wide bottom. One to the 6. Still three wide bottom. Still two above you right there. Still two above you. It's closing up now. Room in front of Brad. 20's on your bumper from behind. Still three wide bottom. Nowhere to go here."
Mikey was 12th on lap 99.
"Still three wide bottom. Still three bottom. They're catching a slow one up top, getting into 1."
Kasey Kahne led lap 101. Mikey was 15th.
"Four wide bottom. Three. Still three. Middle's still covered. After the 43, two car lengths to the 17. Three wide bottom. No room behind that 43 now."
"Still about 20 until a stop, bud," the crew chief said.
"The middle's still covered. About two car lengths to the 40. Still covered there. That white car is above you. Man, the 40. Three bottom. That 38 is ahead of that 51. Slow one high, three of them."
Mikey was 17th on lap 106 as Kahne continued to lead.
"More coming real fast. That white car is the next one. Just you and the white car. He is running the middle. Clear behind him, anything you want. Clear there. The 16 trying to fill the middle behind you. Just watch him. Nothing behind the 16. Yeah, there you go. Still good behind that 51."
Mikey said something. The spotter laughed but said he didn't understand what Mikey said.
"Something about not doing it for a living, but he doesn't understand something," the crew chief said.
"80 to go. 8-0. You can go middle or top - whatever you need there. 9 coming up the middle. Three wide bottom. Nothing behind the 9."
On lap 107, Mikey was 20th.
"40 there with you, one back. Three wide. Three wide bottom. 26 is high side behind him. Half back, trying to get on your right. On your right now. 7 is one back of him. Clear. 9 will be slow here. Middle is good if you need it. Still up there - 40, running near the top. Clear behind him."
Mikey was 21st on lap 110 as Kahne led.
"You and the 40. Clear behind him if you need it. One to the 7 on the very top. Still good. Slow one on the bottom. All clear, you and the 20. Clear, back in there. 20. Top lane's doing good. Got a slow one in front of us - 35 in front of us. Still inside only. Slow one high here. Five up. Clear high. Just you and Brad. All clear."
Mikey was 19th on lap 113 with Kahne leading.
On lap 118, Gilliland got into the back of Mears, who had to pit. Others made stops on lap 120. The crew chief told Mikey to pit next time.
"All clear, all clear. Pit this time," Joel relayed. "Some heat in your brakes. Pit this time."
The crew chief warned that Mikey would have to go around a car.
"Good job not sliding them," the spotter said as he and the crew chief led the #98 to pit road on lap 121.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr in the #17 led as some were making stops. Joel guided Mikey back into line. Meanwhile, Earnhardt Jr was issued a pass-through penalty; his crew went over the wall too soon.
"Good job, Michael. Everything looks great," the crew chief praised.
"Slow one ahead. The 26. Six up on the bottom. Clear. This 3 has been struggling. White one high. Another one out of line on the bottom. Still doing really good, man. Really good. Clear. Doing good."
Mikey was 16th on lap 123 as Earnhardt Jr served his penalty. Justin Allgaier's #51 also received the same penalty. Johnson was leading.
"Clear behind the 95. Still inside. Clear low. Still outside."
As Johnson led, Mikey ran 19th on lap 124. NASCAR made Ragan's #55 pit with 60 to go; officials stated the car was leaking fluid.
Ragan was trapped a lap down when the yellow flag waved shortly thereafter on lap 132 for Allgaier's blown engine. 56 laps remained. #55 crew chief Brian Pattie and the team spoke with officials, noting there was no fluid in the pit box after their mandatory stop. The situation was not rectified. The sanctioning body made the #55 pit multiple times regarding the reported leak.
Racing resumed on lap 139 with Kenseth leading, Bowyer 9th, Mikey 13th, and Ragan two laps down in 36th. Earnhardt Jr took the lead in closing laps. By 30 to go, Mikey was back to 23rd. Cars had to stop one more time, and they came in just over ten laps later. Harvick was reporting a broken exhaust pipe at the time.
With five laps to go, caution came out for Jamie McMurray's failed engine. The field prepared for a green/white/checkered. Bowyer was 10th, and Mikey was 22nd. Caution came out for Harvick before the field took the green for the green/white/checkered, so the field was reset.
Just as the white flag waved, The Big One happened. It started when Harvick's car failed again, and he and Trevor Bayne made contact as Bayne's #21 attempted to pass. NASCAR had to review the video to determine the finishing order. Joey Logano was declared the winner. Mikey came home 13th, Bowyer was 8th, and Ragan was one lap down in 30th.
Maxwell House announced that they will sponsor Mikey at Daytona, so see you all in 2016! Go Mikey!