DAY/DATE: Sunday, September 26, 2004
RACE TIME: 1:00 pm EST
RACE: MBNA America 400
TELEVISION/RADIO COVERAGE: Live on TNT/MRN Radio
RACE LAPS: 400 laps
RACE WINNER: Ryan Newman
STARTING POSITION: 29th
FINISHING POSITION: 23rd
DRIVER POINTS POSITION: 27th
RACE RECAP: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series returned to Dover International Speedway, one of few concrete tracks on the circuit. Scott Wimmer, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, has had some success at the track dubbed the Monster Mile. During Friday mornings practice session, Wimmer fought with a tight handling race car but Frank Stoddard, crew chief of the #22, felt like they were pretty decent. Stoddard felt they would be 15th 20th on the grid. But, during qualifying NASCAR made an error and mistakenly forgot to remove the tape over the cowell on the hood, a procedure that NASCAR handles on a regular basis for all teams. This also happened to Jeff Burton and both were allowed to re-qualify. Wimmer was in provisional territory prior to re-qualifying, but on his second attempt he picked up significantly and solidified a 29th starting position.
Saturday during practice, the CAT team made several adjustments to the car to free it up for Wimmer. There were more adjustments that the team knew they needed to make, but the all agreed that in order to have speed at Dover, you needed to be a little tight, but not too loose.
Sunday kicked off with a large hospitality group for over 700 people, which Wimmer attended. When the race got underway, Wimmer was battling with a tight handling race car. It is a tricky situation because in order to be fast at Dover, you need to have a slightly tight car but it was too much for Wimmer to work with. When the first caution came out on lap 13 for Kasey Kahnes blown engine, Wimmer made his way to pit road for a track bar adjustment and to remove some tape from the front grill because the #22 was running a little hot and Wimmer returned to the track 18th following pit stops. Wimmer continued to fight with the tight handling race car and as a result he hit the wall off turn four. Stoddard knew there was something wrong with the car because they were fading quickly. When Wimmer came to pit road following a red flag for Matt Kenseth on lap 119, the team noticed that the toe was knocked out and they made several pit stops to get that repaired. After the problem with the toe was fixed, Wimmer began to run decent lap times. The team continued to make adjustments to the car during a series of green flag pit stops in the last half of the race, however, eventual winner Ryan Newman was setting a blistering pace that put Wimmer laps down and eventually went on to finish 23rd to Newman.
NEXT RACE: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competes at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, October 3, 2004.