Wimmer, Holiday Inn Racing Run in the Rain for an 11th-Place Finish at Montreal
Race/Date: NAPA Auto Parts 200 – August 2, 2008
Location: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – Montreal, Quebec
Start Position: 17th
Finish Position: 11th
Owner’s Point Standing: Fifth (Maintained position)
In NASCAR’s first points race on rain tires and his first start on the track, Scott Wimmer and the Holiday Inn Racing team notched an 11th-place finish in the rain-shortened NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec.
Richard Childress Racing’s No. 29 machine maintained the fifth position in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series owners’ championship point standings but, for the second week in a row, made gains on the leader. The team now sits 434 markers behind Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 machine and just 36 points out of third. Meanwhile, despite having competed in just 15 of the division’s first 23 events, Wimmer advanced one position, to 17th, in the NNS drivers’ point standings.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, Wimmer tripped the 14-turn, 2.709-mile Canadian road course in 105.355 seconds (92.567 mph), turning the 17th-best time of the session.
The field took the green flag in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000 with storm clouds looming in the distance. The Wausau, Wis., native maintained his 17th position over the opening laps but radioed to his crew that the car was getting better.
The caution flag waved on lap six as rain started to fall on the famed road course. NASCAR red-flagged the event two laps later and required all cars to change from slicks to rain tires with a tread pattern designed to dissipate water. NASCAR gave the teams three minutes to work on their cars and the No. 29 team quickly went to work bolting on the tires and attaching a windshield wiper to aid visibility. At the same time, the crew made a track bar adjustment to the blue and green Chevy. NASCAR kept the cars on pit road for an additional five minutes as rain picked up in turn nine.
The field maintained their positions during the red flag and went back on track on lap nine under caution. Wimmer was scored 17th when the green flag waved on lap 13 as the rain continued.
The six-time Nationwide Series winner continued to race in the top 17 over the next seven laps when a full-course caution was displayed on lap 20. Crew chief Pat Smith called his driver to pit road for four fresh rain tires and fuel.
Wimmer went back to green 20th after many cars opted not to pit. The 32-year-old driver remained quiet on the radio as he made his forward charge.
The Holiday Inn Chevy was scored 12th on lap 35 when Smith called his driver down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop to execute the team’s predetermined fuel strategy. Wimmer went back to green-flag racing in the 25th position.
Four laps later, the field followed suit and began hitting pit road for fuel to be within the fuel window for the scheduled 74-lap distance. Wimmer was scored 13th on lap 44 as the field cycled through pit stops.
He notched two positions over the next four laps. With the skies getting darker and visibility becoming a major problem, NASCAR called a halt to the proceedings after cars started wrecking under caution.
Road course specialist Ron Fellows earned his fourth series victory, followed by Patrick Carpentier, Marcos Ambrose and Ron Hornaday Jr. Boris Said closed out the top-five finishers.
Next week, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to the Empire State for round 24 of the 35-race tour.
Jeff Burton will be behind the wheel of the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for the Zippo 200 from Watkins Glen International for the final road course of the season. Race coverage will be televised live on ABC Saturday, August 9, beginning at 2:30 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 9, beginning at 10 a.m. EDT.
SCOTT WIMMER QUOTE:
“Man that was fun. Racing in the rain was definitely a learning experience. It was getting difficult to see there at the end and NASCAR made the right call to end the race. I would have liked to have seen what we could have done because the Holiday Inn Chevy was great there at the end. Hopefully, Jeff (Burton) will go get them next week at the Glen.”
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