DAY/DATE: Sunday, August 22, 2004
RACE TIME: 2:00 pm EST
RACE: Michigan 400
TELEVISION/RADIO COVERAGE: Live on TNT/MRN Radio
RACE LAPS: 200 laps
RACE WINNER: Greg Biffle
STARTING POSITION: 26th
FINISHING POSITION: 18th
OWNER POINTS POSITION: 26th
RACE RECAP: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series spent their weekend competing in the final race at Michigan International Speedway for the season. During the last race at MIS, Scott Wimmer, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, had a very good run going until a paper wrapper stuck to the grill and elevated the water temperatures forcing him to pit to remove it. That put him a lap down, but eventually he got the lost lap back and went on to finish 14th. The #22 team hoped to improve on those results this time around.
Fridays forecast had rain in the area, but teams were able to get some track time before rain finally moved in for the remainder of the day, causing NASCAR to cancel qualifying and line up teams by owners points. Wimmer would start 26th for Sundays race and Jimmie Johnson would begin the race from the pole.
Saturday brought two practice sessions for teams to prepare for Sundays race. Wimmer took to the track and felt like they chased the changing conditions of the race track for much of the first practice. At the beginning of practice, Wimmer was pretty comparable to the other teams, but they got away a little by the end of practice. But during the final practice session, Wimmer and Stoddard had a pretty good reading on the track conditions and made changes to the chassis that Wimmer felt helped the overall handling of the Caterpillar Dodge.
Shortly after the drop of the green flag, the caution came out when Kasey Kahne spun on lap three. Wimmer had reported that he was a little loose, but most teams were experiencing the same loose condition as well. Once the race resumed, Wimmer reported that he had a vibration and Stoddard asked him to feel it out to make sure it wasnt just debris on the tires from the earlier caution. After a few more laps, Wimmer told Stoddard that it wasnt a tire vibration, but a vibration in the drive line and it was pretty bad. On lap 29, the caution was displayed when Hermie Sadler blew up. Wimmer, running 22nd, reported he was very loose, mostly off the turns but thought that the entry and center of the turns were pretty good. Wimmer pitted for tires with an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment and returned to the track 28th after a lengthy pit stop. Wimmer restarted the race and quickly reported that the car was a lot better. So when the caution came out on lap 44 for debris, Stoddard made the call to remain on the track and gain some track position. Wimmer took over the lead and remained in the top five until the caution came out again on lap 57 for debris. The #22 was now in their fuel window to make it on two more fuel stops, so they made the call to come to pit road for four tires and fuel and a small wedge adjustment to the #22, returning to the race 24th. Once the crew looked over the tires, they noticed Wimmer had a left front tire going down, so they were real happy they chose to pit for tires. Wimmer had just cracked the top 20 again when Michael Waltrip ran all over the back of Wimmer and spun him out on the backstretch bringing out another caution. Luckily, Wimmer didnt hit anything and he immediately pitted for four fresh tires and another wedge adjustment. Wimmer was forced to restart at the tail end of the longest line, 29th. By lap 129 when the caution was displayed for Elliott Sadlers blown left front tire, Wimmer had climbed to 17th. Stoddard called him back to pit road for four tires and another wedge adjustment and returned to the race 18th. The race resumed and Wimmer had advanced to 15th and maintaining his ground, although he was getting a little free as the run continued. On lap 171, Wimmer came to pit road for his final fuel stop and four tires. A lug nut fell of the left front and that resulted in a lengthy pit stop, returning Wimmer to the track 24th. Wimmer was able to climb back up to finish the race 18th. Greg Biffle won his first race of the season, the second of his career.
NEXT RACE: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competes at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 28, 2004.