Just before the first yellow of the 45th Rolex 24 at six hours and four minutes, crew chief Catherine Crawford-Wallace summed up the condition of the No. 20 Howard Motorsports Jackson Hewitt / Subway Pontiac Crawford:
The caution came out about 15 minutes before a scheduled pit stop when lead- off driver Andy Wallace would replace Tony Stewart. Pitting early was a no- brainer.
The 20 Car had fallen from 12th to 59th dealing with the early electric problems. In the last half hour of Wallace's opening stint, he recovered half a dozen positions. Leitzinger hauled it up to 44th; Stewart, to 33rd.
Smoke's stint was not without drama: "Some of those guys aren't getting out of our way. That Porsche turned down into us. I mean, he knew I was there because he made a correction and then he came down anyway. I don't know why, but he did."
"How's the braking now?" asked Crawford-Wallace.
"The brakes are fine, I think."
"We need to change 'em soon. So if you get a long pedal, I need to know if it's bothersome. So how's the balance?"
"I think the tow's got knocked out, I mean, obviously because the wheel's off. What happens in the real slow corners, the corners where you gotta put more input into it, it makes it lose the nose. And then when you get on the gas, you're sheering it loose. You hit the center (of the corner) it catches up. But the corners where you don't have to put much input in, the scrub's not so bad and it's fine."
"Is the traction good or not?" asked Crawford-Wallace.
"Not as good as it was those eight laps yesterday. It's not terrible. But that's where a couple of the guys are beating me, like the 10 Car. I do think that tow is hurting the straightaway speed."
"It's not your fault."
Call me a wuss, but I'm getting out of here before the frog strangler that's covering most of the southeast mucks up the works here. I can watch the regatta on Speed. I hope the techie geeks amongst have enjoyed these driver/crew chief debriefings today. I'll rejoin you at some sanitary hour in the a.m.