Sunday, April 15, 2012

MWR Weekly Wrap-Up: Texas roundup

Now with seven races complete, Michael Waltrip Racing is continually being mentioned as a top-10 contender each week. Battling with Roush and Hendrick at Texas, the MWR organization adds more top-10s to their finishes with Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr. while Clint Bowyer struggled and finished in the top 20.
Walking the grid at qualifying, Bowyer looks
a bit lonely but Skirts and Scuffs photographer
Debbie Ross caught him. 

Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota 
Started: 18th
Finished: 18th
Points: 10th

Clint Bowyer’s night was a wash, started in 18th and finished 18th but throughout the evening he and crew chief Brian Pattie worked endlessly to try and dial in the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota.

Bowyer reported to the team early that the car would not turn. Making adjustments and being patient, Bowyer cracked the top 10 at Lap 229. Again battling loose conditions, Clint was lapped by the leader at Lap 261.

After the race Bowyer tweeted, “Sorry guys, rough weekend. Got our butts kicked. We'll get back after it in the shop and get things turned around for Kansas.”

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and Mark Martin.
Credit: Debbie Ross / Skirts and Scuffs
Mark Martin, No. 55 Aaron's Toyota
Started: 4th
Finished: 3rd
Points: 7th (owner points)

The story behind the photo will make you laugh. As the cheerleaders visited Clint Bowyer first, Mark Martin stood against his car watching. Skirts and Scuffs photographer Debbie Ross stood beside Martin and said, "Well, that was a thrill!" Martin replied, not missing a beat: "Maybe for Clint, I am old!!" 

Before the race, crew chief Rodney Childers tweeted, ”They always say when you think you have a shot at winning, you don't sleep good the night before ... well "they" are right!! Haha…”

Confidence is evident in the No. 55 team; their performance has been spot-on this year. With two different drivers in the cockpit, the team has finished in the top 20 every race. Although Martin will not be eligible for the Chase, he is certainly able to bring home the owner's championship for Michael Waltrip.

Starting the night in 4th, Martin and the No. 55 team were in good position early. Handling again was an issue throughout the evening; the wind played a factor into the challenges of setting up the cars. Halfway through, Martin reported to the team, “I'm a little loose right now but that will be good for the long run." Martin brought the No. 55 Aaron’s team a 3rd-place finish.

“This is so much fun and such an incredible privilege to drive a racecar at this point in my career - to be able to drive a racecar for a team like that and in a hot rod like that. I could see the leader the whole race, and at times we could gain - when we were at our very best we were making some gains on the leaders, and when we were at our worst we were falling back some, and most of the time we could kind of maintain pace. We don't have much more work to do, and we can get up there and be battling for the win, so I'm really proud of the guys. We've made improvements every race that we've got to run together, so Rodney (Childers) and I are starting to figure some things out in the car that I like for the long haul, so it's working well.”

Just an observation: FOX’s in-car camera showed Martin for a bit, looking so relaxed - and that is the vibe in general I have seen with Mark this season. He seems at ease and comfortable at Michael Waltrip Racing. Martin said himself, “The teamwork I'm feeling right now at MWR is second to none I've ever been at …” And the confidence is showing on track.

Credit: Debbie Ross / Skirts and Scuffs
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Toyota
Started: 1st
Finished: 6th
Points: 4th

The NAPA Know How team is on point in 2012! Starting the weekend with winning the pole award, Martin Truex Jr.’s weekend stayed on that positive note after a sixth place finish at Texas.

Leading four separate times for a total of 69 laps, handling issues also plagued Truex. “At the start it was really good.  Then, we kept getting looser all night. Every time we’d tighten it up, we would lose a ton of grip and not gain rear.  It was a big challenge. Just could never get it perfect.”

Speaking of the weather’s impact on the race, Truex said, “It was bad. There was times when it hit me weird on the front straightaway and I was thinking I was losing a cylinder. It was just crazy going off into (turn) three.”

“I’m proud of Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and the whole NAPA team. He called an awesome race.  The pit crew was phenomenal tonight. It’s just nice to keep this thing going - running upfront,” Truex said following the race.

0 comments :

Post a Comment