Thursday, May 27, 2010

Michael Waltrip Racing - Coca-Cola 600 Qualifying Report

Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Batteries Toyota Camry - Qualified third, Inside Row Two

David Reutimann, Aaron’s Dream Machine/Armed Forces Foundation Toyota Camry - Qualified sixth, Starts Outside Row Three

For a short time on Thursday afternoon it looked like it could be an all Michael Waltrip Racing front row to start the Coca-Cola 600, as Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann were sitting one-two after more than half the field had attempted their qualifying laps. But, as the track cooled in the late afternoon some of the later qualifiers were able to drop the pair out of the front row. Both Michael Waltrip Racing Camry’s will start in the top-six.

Martin Truex Jr. paced the Michael Waltrip Racing Camry’s with a time of 28.848 seconds on Thursday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will start Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 in the third position. David Reutimann also posted a top-six lap of 28.904 seconds to start Sunday’s race in the sixth position. Sunday night will be the fourth consecutive points race that MWR has a Camry starting from a top-five position. (Truex won the pole award at Dover, Reutimann 2nd at Richmond, 4th at Darlington).

Sunday afternoon’s running of the Coca-Cola 600 gets underway on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio 128 starting at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Friday Recap

• Ryan Newman won the Coors Light Pole Award for the second straight Coca-Cola 600 with a time of 28.793.
• This is Newman’s first pole and seventh top-10 start in 2010.
• This is Newman’s ninth pole in 19 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
• Kurt Busch, Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson round out the top-five.
• JTG-Daugherty Racing driver Marcos Ambrose qualified the No. 47 Toyota 34th

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA BATTERIES Toyota Camry, Qualified Third
Is this qualifying run momentum from the All-Star race? “Business is picking up. The NAPA Toyota is really good here. It was good last week, obviously. It was good to get some momentum through the All-Star race, the Showdown win and all that kind of stuff. The big thing is that these guys are just doing a phenomenal job. Pat (Tryson, crew chief) and all these guys bring me good race cars and we’re really starting to click. I’m starting to have fun again and it’s been cool.”

How do you feel your car has been today in practice and qualifying? “It’s been a good day. We had a good practice, but like we talked about earlier, it was tough to gauge exactly what you had because the track was so hot. You knew you were going to have to pick up seven or eight tenths of a second. It was difficult to really know what you had, it was just going out there and looking for that feel and a good balance with your race car. We were able to get that this afternoon and go out there and lay down a good lap. I was proud of the team and all their work. Charlotte has always been a tough track for me, but I’m really starting to come around and warm up to it.”

How do you think the Coca-Cola 600 will progress? “I think you’ll see comers and goers. Fortunately for us we were able to run in the Showdown this past weekend and that started about the same time our race is going to start Sunday. That will be a little bit of experience for us as far as the conditions and we were pretty good in the Showdown and then went on to be the best we were at the end of the All-Star race. I think we understand a little bit of what it takes to go through that transition of what our car is going to need. I think we will have a little more of a heads-up on what the conditions are going to be like and the kind of adjustments we’re going to need to do. It’s going to be a big help for us having that experience. It’s going to change drastically for everybody and the guys who can stay on top of it and have a car that is able to be adjusted. Sometime you have a car that you can try all night long and it doesn’t cooperate with what you are trying to do. So if you have a car that you’re able to adjust on, which we were able to do last weekend then it will help you. I’m looking forward to that and I think it will be a good positive for us.”

How much progress have you see your team make in recent weeks? “This has been a lot of momentum in progress for us. We have been constantly chipping away at it and been coming together as a group. Still an awfully new team. Pat (Tryson, crew chief) is doing a great job with the cars and we’re just constantly building and getting better each week. If we continue to do that, we’ll be challenging for race wins every week.”

Do you have a top-five car for Sunday? “I think we do. It seemed like in race trim, we weren’t the quickest car. We were right up there with the good cars. It just seemed like on the longer runs we were really good. That’s where we were pretty good the other night. Obviously, the best we were all night were in the last 10 (lap) segment, but we did some adjusting for the short run. It seemed like for most of the night, actually the long run is where we were our best. I think we do. I think we got a car that can run in the top-five all night, hopefully. It’s just about being around at the end when it’s time to go. With the pit crew I have on pit road and Pat (Tryson, crew chief) calling the race. He does a super job with that. And the guys on pit road are flawless. Hopefully, we’ll just hang around the top-five all night, lead some laps, have some fun and when it comes time to race, we’ll be there with them.”

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Armed Forces Foundation Toyota Camry, Qualified: Sixth

How was your qualifying lap?
“Qualifying in these things is all a white knuckle run. You have to be able to be on that ragged edge the whole time and everybody out there is doing it. The track continues to get faster as the temperature goes down. We had a good Aaron’s Dream Machine, I think we gave up a fair amount of speed coming to the green to actually start the lap. Oddly enough that’s about as important as anything else you do out here. Proud of my guys. We didn’t have a very good mock qualifying run in practice, but all in all Toyota and Toyota Racing Development gave us horsepower and hopefully it will hold up.”

How does it feel to be the defending Coca-Cola 600 winner?
“I haven’t gotten that very often, unfortunately. I do like the sound of it so we need to see what we can do to try to win this deal again. Whether it’s going out there and beating them on Sunday or winning it halfway when the rains come. It doesn’t matter – we’ll take them anyway we can get them. I’m proud of my guys. It’s good to have the Armed Forces Foundation on the car this weekend – the thing looks really good and it’s for a great cause.”

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