Rockingham: Michael Waltrip race report

Gear Trouble Slows Fast NAPA Chevy Rockingham, N.C. (Feb. 23) - "Racing at The Rock was disappointing," described Michael Waltrip of his 33rd-place finish in Sunday's Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway. "Our car ran really well. It raced...

Gear Trouble Slows Fast NAPA Chevy

Rockingham, N.C. (Feb. 23) - "Racing at The Rock was disappointing," described Michael Waltrip of his 33rd-place finish in Sunday's Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway. "Our car ran really well. It raced into the top-10, and we felt like we had a shot at finishing at least in the top-10 if not in the top-five. After 360 - some laps the rear end gear broke on the NAPA Chevy. The NAPA crew repaired it quickly and got us back on the racetrack."

Upon further investigation, crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe discovered exactly what ruined the No. 15 team's day and what almost ruined their teammate's day as well.

"Teeth broke off the ring gear and got wedged up inside the gear making it vibrate. Michael brought the car in and we changed the gear, drive shaft and axles and the problem was corrected. After the race, the No.8 car (driven by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.) pulled their gear apart for NASCAR's post-race inspection and found that their gear failed also.

"It's hard to be upset with the day when we ran as well as we did," explained Slugger. "Our over-the-wall team didn't have a pit stop over 13.96 seconds. They were on top of their game and Michael was on top of his. It's a shame that we don't have a lot to show for our efforts at The Rock, on the other hand, we proved to ourselves that for the second week in a row we raced competitively."

"The performance was there," Waltrip recalled, "so I was pleased with the way the car ran. We were particularly fast early in the race and even after our troubles, we were the best we had been all day at the end of the race. An unfortunate parts failure cost us a chance to have our first top-10 finish of the year - guess I should have made sure that part was from NAPA.

"The pit crew did an amazing job on pit road. There was not one pit stop in which we did not gain positions. They are awesome and we'll get a strong finish in Las Vegas (NV.)."

The NAPA team tested at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the next NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event will take place on Sunday, March 7.

Last year's champion, Matt Kenseth, won the Subway 400 by inches over rookie Kasey Kahne. Jamie McMurray, Sterling Martin and Dale Jr. finished third through fifth respectively. Dale Jr. continues to lead the point's race by seven points over Kenseth.

-dei-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Sterling Martin