Pit Road Penalties Leave Wimmer, Holiday Inn Racing with 22nd-Place Finish at Memphis
Location: Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park
Start Position: 19th
Finish Position: 22nd
Owner’s Point Standing: Fourth (maintained position)
A double dose of pit road penalties left Scott Wimmer and the Holiday Inn Racing team with a 22nd-place finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger On Track for the Cure 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Despite the less than desired result, the team maintained the fourth position in the 2008 NNS owners’ championship point standings and now sits 285 markers behind the leader and 116 points out of third. Although having competed in just 20 of the division’s first 32 events, Wimmer advanced one position, to 17th, in the NNS drivers’ point standings.
In Saturday morning’s time trials, the 32-year-old driver navigated the three-quarter-mile Memphis oval in 23.406 seconds (115.355 mph). The run was good enough to line up Wimmer and his multi-colored Holiday Inn Chevy, specially designed by a St. Jude Children’s Hospital patient, on the inside of row 10 for the 250-lap showdown.
Right out of the gate, Wimmer reported a tight-handling Chevrolet to crew chief Pat Smith. The Wausau, Wis., native was running 12th when the second caution flag was displayed on lap 26. This caution period changed the course of the race as only a handful of drivers made their way down pit road, including eventual race winner Carl Edwards. Smith opted to keep his driver on track.
The field went back to green on lap 34 and the No. 29 Chevy slipped back as 20th as the cars with fresher tires passed the Holiday Inn machine.
Green-flag pit stops began on lap 102 with Wimmer scored 16th on the leaderboard. The day was about to turn for the worse for the Holiday Inn Racing team. Smith called his driver to pit road two laps later for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment to the right-front tire to help ease the handling on the No. 29 machine. During the pit stop the crew lost control of the right-rear tire and it rolled into a neighboring pit stall. Smith, thinking quickly, held the No. 29 Chevy in the pit stall until the catch can man retrieved the wayward tire. Unfortunately, the crew was penalized for taking the catch can out of the pit box and was served a pass-through penalty. During the ensuing penalty, NASCAR officials penalized the Holiday Inn Racing team again for speeding on pit road and Wimmer was forced to come back down pit road for a second pass-through penalty.
As the majority of the field cycled through green-flag pit stops on lap 118, Wimmer was scored 31st and four laps down to the leaders. During the second half of the race, the handling improved on the Holiday Inn Chevrolet and Wimmer slowly picked off positions during the closing laps.
Carl Edwards earned his fifth Nationwide Series victory of 2008. David Reutimann finished second while Kenny Wallace was third. Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon, in only his second NASCAR Nationwide race, was fourth, and Joey Logano crossed the line fifth. Fellow teammate Clint Bowyer finished 16th.
Wimmer will be behind the wheel of the Holiday Inn Chevrolet when the NASCAR Nationwide Series travels to the Longhorn State for its second stop of the season at Texas Motor Speedway.
The O’Reilly Challenge will be televised live on ESPN2 Sat., Nov. 1 beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The race will also be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the 33rd of 35 races on the 2008 schedule for NASCAR’s junior division will be televised on SPEED on Fri., Oct. 31 beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT. PRN and Sirius Satellite Radio will broadcast qualifying updates live.
SCOTT WIMMER QUOTE:
“It was a pretty disappointing race. The Holiday Inn Chevrolet started out way too tight and we should have used that second caution to come in and make the adjustments but didn’t and ended up having to pit under green. I had a couple of bad pit road penalties and that pretty much ended our day. We were just out there trying to make laps and pass any cars I could. It’s disappointing because our car was pretty good there at the end. I don’t know why things started off so bad but we will overcome that at Texas.”
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