Wimmer, Holiday Inn Racing Charge to a Second-Place Finish at Richmond
Race/Date: Emerson Radio 250 – Sept. 7, 2008
Location: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway
Start Position: Fourth
Finish Position: Second
Owners’ Point Standing: Fourth
Scott Wimmer battled a tight-handling Holiday Inn Chevrolet but got his car dialed in to earn a solid second-place finish in Sunday night’s rain-delayed NASCAR Nationwide Series Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
The unyielding effort was Wimmer’s fourth top-five and 11th top-10 finish in 18 starts this season. Richard Childress Racing’s No. 29 machine maintained the fourth position in the 2008 NNS owners’ championship point standings but for the third week in a row, made gains on the leader. The team now sits 303 markers behind the leader and just 18 points out of third. Despite having competed in just 18 of the division’s first 28 events, Wimmer maintains the 17th spot in the NNS drivers’ point standings.
Rain from approaching Tropical Storm Hanna settled across the Richmond area on Friday afternoon forcing NASCAR to set the field by owners’ points. That placed the Wausau, Wis., native fourth on the starting grid. More rain showers settled across Virginia’s capitol city, delaying the start of the Nationwide Series’ 250-lap race until Sunday evening.
Starting on the outside of row two, the 32-year-old driver fought a tight-handling Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS at the drop of the green flag. Wimmer fell back as far as eighth when the evening’s first caution was displayed on lap 28. The Holiday Inn Chevy peeled off the racing surface three laps later to the attention of his over-the-wall crew. Crew Chief Pat Smith called for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and major air pressure, track bar and wedge adjustments to ease Wimmer’s struggle with the ill-handling machine.
The No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevy was scored eighth when the field went back to green-flag racing on lap 37. The adjustments failed to aid the tight condition and Wimmer fell back to 10th. He radioed to Smith that he needed to turn a little better and needed better overall grip.
A caution on lap 95 brought a dose of much needed relief. He brought the Holiday Inn Chevy down pit road on lap 97 for four fresh tires, fuel, and another round of air pressure and chassis adjustments. Quick work by the over-the-wall crew netted the team three spots on pit road and sent the green-and-white machine back to green in seventh on lap 100.
Over the middle stages of the race, Wimmer raced inside the top six as Smith continued to fine tune the handling on the No. 29 machine.
The sixth caution flag waved on lap 202 and the field made their way down pit road for the final stop of the evening. Wimmer made the left turn off the racing surface sixth and another stellar stop by the over-the-wall crew notched their driver one more spot on pit road. Wimmer took the green fourth on lap 217 after the No. 33 machine was sent to the tail end of the longest line for a commitment line violation.
Wimmer had his sights on the leaders and quickly drove his way to third on lap 221. With RCR teammate Clint Bowyer’s Chevrolet getting loose in the closing laps, Wimmer passed him for the second position four laps later. Three cautions plagued the final 25 laps of the race and unfortunately the Holiday Inn Chevrolet excelled on long runs and couldn’t challenge for the lead. Wimmer took the checkered flag second.
Carl Edwards earned his fourth Nationwide Series victory of the season. He was followed to the line by Wimmer and Bowyer. Denny Hamlin and David Ragan rounded out the top five. Fellow RCR teammate Austin Dillon finished 26th in his NNS debut.
In two weeks, the Nationwide Series returns to Dover International Speedway for round 29 on the 35-race tour.
The RoadLoans.com 200 will take the green flag Sat., Sept. 20, with Wimmer behind the wheel of the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Race coverage will be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The race will also be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. Qualifying will air live on SPEED the same day beginning at 11 a.m. EDT.
SCOTT WIMMER QUOTE:
“It was a great run for the Holiday Inn Chevrolet. We over adjusted on that first pit stop and that put us back a little bit and I had to make my way back up through the field. The guys did a great job and had some great pit stops. I’m proud of them and they have been working hard for me all year long. I would have liked to reward them with a win but I’m still happy to come out of here second. We were too tight on that last run and those cautions hurt us there at the end.”
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