Sunday, April 11, 2010

Michael Waltrip Racing Phoenix Post-Race Report

Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry - finished 17th - now 19th in points.
David Reutimann, No. 00 Best Western Toyota Camry - finished 20th - now 25th in points.

Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 00 NAPA Toyota team endured about everything that could ruin a Saturday night for a race team at Phoenix International Raceway. A slow start then a penalty along with an unscheduled pit stop plus contact with another car were some of the issues encountered by the Michael Waltrip race team. And that was just in the first half of the race. The team never stopped working on the car and enjoyed a relatively calm second half of the race until about 60 laps remaining. On a restart, Truex dropped from 12th to 22nd telling crew chief Pat Tryson he’d lost all forward bite. But, Truex rallied to climb to 15th in the closing laps. Truex survived the wild scramble in a green-white-checkered finish to cross the line in 17th. The result moved him to 19th in points.
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota
  • Truex Jr. started 8th and finished 17th
  • Truex started slowly in the opening laps falling from eighth to 13th with a loose race car.
  • NASCAR sent him to the back of the field on lap 19 for entering pit lane too early dropping him to about 36th.
  • A loose wheel caused by a lug nut lodging between wheel and brake rotor forced an unscheduled, green-flag stop on lap 77 dropping Truex down a lap to 39th place.
  • The new tires enabled him to turn the quickest laps on the track over the long green flag run that followed.
  • Kurt Busch’s crash at lap 136—a few laps after the leaders pitted but before Truex pitted—allowed Truex to pit under caution and return to lead lap in 19th.
  • While running 14th, Truex and Brad Keselowski made contact on lap 198. Keselowski spun into the wall.
  • Truex then began a climb moving as high as 10th after a pit stop on lap 254.
  • Truex raced in 12th with 60 laps remaining, but on a restart he dropped to 22nd telling Tryson he had lost all of the car’s forward bite: “I can’t touch the gas.”
  • A caution with two laps to go saw the field come to pit lane and Truex move from 19th to 15th taking four tires.
  • Truex came home 17th after the final two-lap shootout.
TRUEX QUOTE: "We rallied back from adversity after having that loose wheel and had a top-10 finish going, but the handling really went away after our second to last stop. It killed us. I don't know what happened -- maybe we had a bad set of tires. We got ourselves back to 15th on the final stop, but it just didn't handle right. It's frustrating because this is one of my favorite tracks."
 David Reutimann Race Summary: Except for a slight encounter with the turn four wall, No. 00 Best Western Toyota driver David Reutimann enjoyed a fairly quiet night at Phoenix International Raceway posting an 20th place finish. Like most of the 43-car field, Reutimann fought handling issues on the slippery, flat, mile oval. After starting 39th, Reutimann charged through the field climbing into the top 15. A punctured right rear slowed his progress midway through the race but the Florida native resumed his charge until the brush with the wall at lap 253 damaged the rear of his Camry. He stayed on the lead lap the remainder of the race climbing as high as 15th before a late caution forced a green-white-checkered finish. Reutimann crossed the finish line in 20th. The finish moves Reutimann to 25th in points.
David Reutimann, No. 00 BEST WESTERN Toyota 
  • Reutimann started 39th and finished 20th
  • Reutimann looked to be one of the fastest cars on the track working his way in to the top 20 by lap 30.
  • A punctured right rear tire slowed his progress near the halfway mark and he fell to about 24th.
  • At lap 253 Reutimann spun and made contact with the wall causing body damage to the rear of his Toyota and dropping him to 26th.
  • He spent the rest of the race on the lead lap turning very competitive lap times climbing to 15th.
  • A caution with two laps to go saw Reutimann line up 17th for the green-white checkered.
REUTIMANN QUOTE: “We kind of had an up-and-down race. We started at the back and had to race really hard in the beginning. We made up a ton of spots early, but then the car kind of went away from us. We had a tire issue and that hurt us. There on the wreck I was just trying too hard to hang on to it and it just got away. My guys got it fixed and we were pretty good after that. That green-white-checkered cost us a couple spots.”
  •  Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Juan Montoya swept the top five spots.
  • A green-white-checkered jumbled the field at the end of the race and saw leaders Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson line up seventh and eighth for the two-lap shootout.
  • Newman, who took only two tires on the pit stop, beat Jeff Gordon on the restart then held on to beat Gordon by .13 seconds and snapped a 77-race winless streak.
  • The race saw 20 lead changes among 13 drivers. There were nine cautions for 59 laps.
  • The average speed was 99.372mph.
  • Race promoters added 63 laps (now 375 laps/miles or 600 Kilometers) to Saturday night’s race to insure the final laps could be run under the lights. The race took 3 hours, 48 mins and 13 secs.
  • NASCAR allowed the teams an extra man over the wall to service the windshields because of all the bugs at the track.
  • NASCAR estimated the attendance at 70,000.



  1. Why no longer any mention of Ambrose and the 47 car? I know he is not strictly MWR but I did enjoy reading about him.