Im excited about going to Darlington this weekend, said Wimmer. The success that Bill Davis Racing and Caterpillar have had makes me look forward to returning there even more. It should be a totally new racetrack when we get there. Practice is going to be crucial in getting familiar with the new narrower track. I think the guys running the Busch race are definitely going to have an upper hand because their going to be able to use the Busch race to find the racing groove that will work well and then use that on Sunday too.
I think the new safer walls are going to affect the entire race track as far as the line people are used to running. We are so used to getting way up there by the wall, but I think some drivers will focus on getting there cars to handle better on the bottom of the track. The track used to be real rough right there tight to the wall and now that the wall is moved in, it should be smoother and maybe faster. Well just have to really focus on the long runs and getting the Cat car to handle well for Sundays race.
Frank Stoddard on the new Darlington Raceway after safer barriers were installed
I think it is definitely gong to narrow up the track, more so in some areas than others, said Frank Stoddard. It already was a pretty narrow track, but I think the only area that we need to be concerned about is coming off turn two. It was pretty tight there before they took away some racetrack to install the safer walls, but Im sure these guys will figure out how to work around that. I think the lap times will be a lot slower because they wont be using as much racetrack to get the speed. We will really be able to tell how its going to affect us when we get into running laps in race trim. That will be the real indication of what we can expect.
Darlington Raceway Notables
- This will mark Wimmers first start in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series at Darlington Raceway. Wimmer made six starts in the Busch Series, scoring three top-12 finishes.
- The #22 team had planned to test at Darlington Raceway last week, but NASCAR wouldnt allow any testing by any teams due to the installation of the safer barriers.
- Crew Chief Frank Stoddard was two wins at Darlington Raceway, the 1999 TranSouth 400 and the 1999 Pepsi Southern 500.
- Bill Davis Racing won the 2001 Mountain Dew Southern 500 with driver Ward Burton behind the wheel of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge.
Cat equipment for the Dodge Dealers 400
- Wimmer and the No. 22 Caterpillar team are taking car #78 to Darlington Raceway. It is the same car the team competed with at North Carolina Motor Speedway.