Sunday, July 1, 2012

MWR Weekly Wrap-Up: Truex leads MWR effort at Kentucky with 8th place finish

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Just one week ago, Michael Waltrip Racing was in victory lane at Sonoma. Kentucky is a magical track for Waltrip; his brother Darrell helped with the development of the track and this was one of the few races Michael himself is running in 2012. Despite the magic and guidance of the beloved University of Kentucky that adorned Waltrip's No. 55 this weekend, Martin Truex's 8th place finish was the high point of the weekend.

Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY
Started: 6th
Finished: 16th
Points: 7th (-76)

A picture is worth a thousand words and the one to the left says it all. Clint Bowyer's night was derailed by damage from contact he made with Joey Logano. Don't blame Logano, he was run over by Ryan Newman, who set off a chain reaction accident. With 100 laps to go, Bowyer pitted and by taking 4 tires, fuel and accessing the damage, he went down two laps, adding to his problems.

Cautions helped his efforts for the night, getting the Lucky Dog at Lap 210, Bowyer was back on the lead lap and in 19th. With so few laps remaining, Bowyer was able to make little gain, finishing his night in 16th. However he holds steady at 7th in the points standings.

After the race, Bowyer spoke about the incident with Logano, saying, "We got run into just past the half-way point and it caused quite a bit of damage and an unscheduled pit stop that put us pretty far behind. Luckily we caught a caution at the right time and got both laps back at once. We made the best of a bad situation tonight and minimized the damage the best we could. We’ll take it and move on to Daytona."

Only a Michael Waltrip Racing annoucement would have a mascot lying
on the media center floor. Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Michael Waltrip, No. 55 University of Kentucky/Aaron's Dream Machine
Started: 39th
Finished: 30th
Points: 37th

Qualifying did not go as Waltrip would have hoped. A 39th place starting position means it is going to be a long race, but on the plus side - you can only improve!

After qualifying, Waltrip explained  what happened. "I’ve been loose since we got here and I asked Rodney (Childers, crew chief) to tighten it up for me, then we get too tight. I haven’t done this in a while and [I'm] struggling a bit, but I told them I’ll keep digging and working and focusing and we’ll get us a top-20 finish out of this thing tomorrow night. Hopefully, even better than that."

A top-20 was not in the cards for Waltrip and the No. 55 team; in fact, the team owner brought home the worst finish for the season. (Previous worst finish was an engine failure during the Coca-Cola 600)

Radio issues plagued Waltrip and the team. They went with old-school hand signal directions for pit stops. Waltrip had an unscheduled stop at Lap 200 due to a flat tire.

When asked  after the race if it felt good racing at his home track,Waltrip said, “Yeah. We ran well at times and had some issues. Just spotted them too much on yesterday, you know. Yesterday didn't go well and I was nervous about today and, shoot, once I got out there I could really contend and compete.”

"That was fun. Not productive, but fun. Thanks @rchilders55 you got a great team! We get Em in @disupdates @MWRteam," Waltrip Tweeted after the race.

Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts
Started: 10th
Finished: 8th
Points: 8th (-77)

Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 56 NAPA team struggled with handling at Kentucky. Crew chief Chad Johnston went to work as Truex repeatedly said he needed more grip.

 Finally cracking the top 10, Truex was one of the few drivers good to go on fuel in the closing laps. Time ran out to catch the leaders, though, and Truex finished in 8th. He gains one position in the points standings to 8th as well.

“It’s tough," Truex replied when asked about his race. "We weren’t very good all night. We had a good finish -- I guess. It pushed like hell all night and they could never fix it.”

And apparently Truex hit something on track, as he was asked about it in post-race comments. “Yeah. That didn’t help none," he said. . "We we’re just really tight all night and we couldn’t do anything to fix it.”

After the race, Truex Tweeted, "Not the finish we were hoping for but all in all a good night. Had trouble on pit road and the car was very tight all night. B-day 2moro!" Truex turned 32nd on June 29 and will be spending his day off celebrating. Happy Belated Birthday to Martin!

Check this out:
MWR is still riding high on last week's win at Sonoma. Part of the winning team's celebration is a breakfast provided by SPRINT, MWR posted a video of their team meeting and breakfast that day. The number of people in the shop is a credit to the team that they have become.


  1. MW should have let Brian Vickers run the car at Ky. He probably would have done much better than MW

  2. Or the old man.........