Formidable Fourth-Place Finish for Wimmer, Holiday Inn Racing at ORP
Race/Date: Kroger 200 benefiting Riley Hospital for Children – July 26, 2008
Location: O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis
Start Position: Ninth
Finish Position: Fourth
Owner’s Point Standing: Fifth (Maintained position)
Despite grappling with a loose-handling machine in the early going, the Holiday Inn Racing team got their car dialed in and eagerly watched Scott Wimmer click off positions in the closing laps of the Kroger 200 to finish fourth in Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
The formidable finish was Wimmer’s third top-five and ninth top-10 finish in 14 starts this season. Richard Childress Racing’s No. 29 machine maintained the fifth position in the 2008 NNS owners’ championship point standings but made a dent in the top-four positions by finishing ahead of each. The team now sits 452 markers behind the leader and just 23 points out of third. Despite having competed in just 14 of the division’s first 22 events, Wimmer advanced one position, to 18th, in the NNS drivers’ point standings.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, Wimmer toured the 0.686-mile track in 23.040 seconds (107.187 mph), turning the ninth-best time of the session. The strong effort bested the Wausau, Wis., native’s top starting spot at ORP by seven positions.
The field took the green flag just after 8 p.m. before an estimated crowd of 35,000. It appeared that the Holiday Inn crew would have their work cut out for them when their driver was quick to radio that the No. 29 machine was loose all around and was lacking in overall grip.
Two early cautions were displayed before lap 25 and the field opted to remain on track. A long green-flag run ensued and the 32-year-old driver fell back as far as 14th as he continued to battle an extremely loose-handling Chevy.
The No. 29 was scored in the 13th position when the day’s third caution flag flew on lap 99. Smith called his driver to pit road and the crew made quick work changing four tires with an air pressure adjustment to the right-front tire, topping off with fuel and making a track bar adjustment. Blistering-fast work by the crew netted the team three positions on pit road.
Back under green on lap 103 in the 10th spot, Wimmer began his forward charge. He was quiet on the radio as he notched three positions over the next 39 laps. During the evening’s fourth caution, on lap 142, the six-time series winner radioed that the handling was much better and his lap times reflected the sentiment as he was posting faster times than the field. Smith opted to keep his driver on track while 10th position on back opted to head for pit road.
Wimmer went back to green seventh with 52 laps remaining in the 200-lap showdown. He was able to pick up three more positions over the final laps to take the checkered flag fourth.
Kyle Busch earned his sixth victory of the season followed by Colin Braun, Mike Bliss, Wimmer and Josh Wise. Fellow RCR teammate Clint Bowyer finished 18th.
Next week, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads north of the border to Montreal for round 23 of the 35-race tour.
Wimmer will be behind the wheel of the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for the second running of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Race coverage will be televised live on ESPN2 Saturday, August 2, beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The race will also broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. Qualifying will air live on ESPN2 Saturday, August 2, beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
SCOTT WIMMER QUOTE:
“We got way behind on the first run but the guys fixed her up. The Holiday Inn Chevrolet was really good at the end and we were coming through the field really quick. We just didn’t have the track position but it was a really good run. We had a rough time at Gateway last week so it was nice to get back on track and come home fourth. We move on to Montreal and will hopefully have a strong showing.”
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