Despite Battling the Holiday Inn Chevy, Scott Wimmer Notches a Top 20 at Daytona
Race/Date: Camping World 300 presented by Chevy – February 16, 2008
Location: Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Fla.
Start Position: 29th
Finish Position: 18th
Owners’ Point Standing: 18th
Scott Wimmer and the Holiday Inn Racing team knew they had a fast car in race trim but a hot engine and ill-tempered handling hampered the No. 29 Chevrolet’s charge in the Camping World 300 presented by Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway.
The Wausau, Wis., native was the sixth of 53 drivers to make a qualifying run Friday afternoon. A fast lap of 50.557 seconds (178.017 mph) on the two-and-a-half mile high-banked tri-oval put the Holiday Inn Chevrolet on the inside of row 15, in the 29th position, for Saturday’s 300-mile event at the “World Center of Racing.”
The green flag waved just past 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) under warm Florida sunshine and Wimmer quickly made his charge on the leaders. By lap five, he notched 10 spots and by lap 12 was scored in the 13th position. Racing in the top 15 for the next 10 laps, he radioed to crew chief Pat Smith that the No. 29 Chevy needed more grip and was loose in and through the center of the turns.
The 32-year-old driver made his first pit stop under green-flag conditions on lap 38 for fuel, four fresh Goodyear tires and a chassis adjustment. As the field concluded green-flag stops on lap 42, Wimmer held the 10th position.
He continued to race in and around the top 10 over the next 20 laps. At the event’s half-way point, he radioed to Smith that the motor was overheating and that he was going to duck out of line to get fresh air to the nose of his No. 29 entry in an effort to cool the engine. The Holiday Inn Chevy lost several spots on the leader board in order to preserve the engine.
By lap 78 the green and blue machine fell to the 14th position when the second caution flag was flown for debris. Wimmer reported that he was now experiencing a tight-handling condition and Smith summoned his driver back to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to ease his driver’s battle with the temperamental machine.
The green flag waved again on lap 81 but the adjustments did little to improve the handling of Wimmer’s machine. He informed his crew that the No. 29 Chevy was now tight through the turns but he still maintained his footing in the top 20 over the next 30 laps.
On lap 111 he was scored in 15th when the fifth caution flag flew for a nine-car incident that Wimmer narrowly avoided.
Back to green with six laps remaining in the 120-lap event, Wimmer fell four spots before crossing the finish line 18th.
Tony Stewart captured the season opening victory with Kyle Busch second, then Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth. Wimmer’s Richard Childress Racing teammates Bobby Labonte and Clint Bowyer crossed the finish line 15th and 25th, respectively.
Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series travels to the City of Angles for its second stop on the 35-race tour.
The Stater Bros. 300 from California Speedway will be televised live on ESPN2 Saturday, February 23 beginning at 7 p.m. EST and broadcast live on the Motor Racing (MRN) and Sirius Satellite Radio. Qualifying will be televised live on SPEED the same day at 12:30 p.m. EST.
SCOTT WIMMER QUOTE:
“It wasn’t a bad day for us considering we dodged a wreck toward the end of the race. I thought we were going to be a little better but the motor got hot at one point and I had to duck out of line to cool it off. After that I couldn’t get the Holiday Inn Chevy to run fast. The handling went away toward the end and I lost some of the power in the motor. We finished the race on the lead lap and that says a lot at place like Daytona where anything can happen. We will have a car to get ready for Talladega. We’ll work on it and hopefully get some more speed out of it. Not a bad day for the Holiday Inn Racing team.”
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