Pit Stop Strategy Key to Top-10 Finish for Wimmer, Holiday Inn Racing at Mexico
Race/Date: Corona Mexico 200 presented by Banamex – April 20, 2008
Location: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – Mexico City, Mexico
Start Position: 21st
Finish Position: Seventh
Owner’s Point Standing: Fourth (Gained one spot)
A predetermined pit strategy paid off in the form of a seventh-place finish for Scott Wimmer and the Holiday Inn Racing team in Sunday’s Corona Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
The strong finish was Wimmer’s career-best road course finish and advanced Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) No. 29 team one spot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners’ championship point standings. The team sits 94 markers behind leader and teammate Clint Bowyer’s No. 2 machine. The solid run was Wimmer’s second top-10 finish in four starts this season.
In time trials Saturday morning, the Wausau, Wis., native navigated the eight-turn road course in 89.784 seconds (100.962 mph), posting the 21st-fastest qualifying time.
The green flag waved in front of an estimated 57,324 race fans at 1:22 p.m. local time and an early caution on lap two set the Holiday Inn Racing team’s pit strategy in to action. Crew chief Pat Smith called his driver down pit road for four tires and fuel. The caution period lasted longer than expected and the No. 29 hit pit road for a splash of fuel the following two laps under caution.
The field restarted on lap seven with Wimmer scored 35th. Green-flag pit stops began on lap 14 and the field hit pit road over the subsequent seven laps. The No. 29 team’s strategy paid off on lap 21 as Wimmer inherited the lead. He held the top position until the No. 20 machine and eventual winner made the pass on lap 34.
The third caution flag waved on lap 34 for a spin on the track and provided Wimmer the opportunity to bring his green and blue Chevy to the pits for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to the Holiday Inn Chevy.
NASCAR red flagged the event to clear the track of oil and debris but once under yellow-flag conditions again, Wimmer ducked back on pit road to top off on fuel.
The field went back to green on lap 42 with the Holiday Inn Chevy scored in the 23rd position because many of the leaders opted not to pit. The 32-year-old driver moved up the leaderboard as the field hit pit road for fuel and by lap 52 he was scored in the third position.
On lap 60, running sixth, Wimmer made contact with the No. 22 machine but only had slight cosmetic damage to the left-front fender.
Over the closing 20 laps, Smith reminded his driver to conserve fuel and the strategy paid off as Wimmer crossed the finish line seventh.
Kyle Busch held off Marcos Ambrose to earn his third straight NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season. Scott Pruett, Carl Edwards and Patrick Carpentier rounded out the top five. Wimmer’s fellow RCR teammate Bowyer finished sixth.
Wimmer will be behind the wheel of the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet for the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. Live coverage of the event will be televised live on ABC Saturday, April 26 beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The 10th race of the 2008 season will broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the second restrictor plate race of the season will be televised Friday, April 25 on SPEED beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.
SCOTT WIMMER QUOTE:
“It was a really good day for the Holiday Inn Racing team. We struggled a lot in practice but I am still trying to get a feel for these road course race tracks. It took some time to get readjusted to the car after not racing for the past three weeks. I am really excited about our top-10 finish. Pat (Smith) had a great strategy and we stuck to it and it ended up working out well for us.”
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