Race/Date: UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowes Motor Speedway Saturday, Oct. 15, 2005
Laps Completed/Total Laps: 336/336
Driver Points Position: 33rd
Owner Points Position: 33rd
Saturday nights race at Lowes Motor Speedway was not necessarily about the fastest car winning the race, but about the teams that managed to just finish the competition. Scott Wimmer and his No. 22 CAT Racing team were one of the survivors still standing by the end of the long night at the Charlotte area track. The Bill Davis Racing crew successfully avoided the multiple mishaps that played out throughout the evening and managed to bring home a clean car and 20th-place finish.
For the second week in a row, Scott Wimmer and the No. 22 Caterpillar car sped right to the top of the speed charts early Friday afternoon. Wimmer said the No. 22 car was a little free getting in and tight getting off the corners but was mostly happy with his car. The second practice followed in similar fashion for the Bill Davis Racing crew and by session close, the CAT Racing team managed to lock in the 19th fastest position in both practices, averaging 188 miles per hour.
Wimmer was the second driver to make his qualifying attempt under the lights Thursday evening at Lowes Motor Speedway, and put forth an impressive effort. He lapped the 1.5-mile quad-oval in 28.27 seconds at 191 miles per hour. It was a great performance by the CAT driver. Unfortunately, as the session progressed the temperature and sun went down, thus increasing the tracks grip. By the close of the qualifying session, 13 other drivers were able to beat Wimmers lap time. Still, he and his team had a lot to be proud of as they settled into the 14th-starting position for Saturdays UAW-GM Quality 500.
More practice followed Friday evening. The No. 22 team focused on finding more speed out of its Caterpillar Dodge. By final practice, Wimmer came over the radio saying the car felt awesome and the team soon called it a night as the 27th fastest car on the track.
The 31st NASCAR Nextel Cup race of the 2005 season got underway just before 8 p.m. ET Saturday. Many of the Nextel team members and drivers had watched the Busch race the night before, and saw many cars slam into the outside wall due to blown tires. So, tire management was a top concern for many going into the race.
Many teams soon learned their concerns were justified, as tires did blow and sheet metal went flying. The CAT Racing team, however, was one of the exceptions. Each time the team pitted for fresh tires, the old tires were reviewed and surprisingly had no blistering. In fact, Derrick Finley stated at one point the tires looked beautiful.
The fact tires were not an issue for the BDR team was a plus, but unfortunately, the team had another battle. Multiple drivers were calling over the radio to tell their teams they were struggling through turns three and four. Wimmer was no exception. Earlier in the race, he radioed his team saying the car was great in turns one and two, but three and four were a completely different story.
This same message seemed to dominate the radio the majority of the night for the CAT Racing team as it pitted during almost every caution to try to improve the cars handling through three and four.
It was after the teams fifth pit stop of the night, when some progress did seem to develop. Wimmer came down pit road under the sixth yellow flag of the night on lap 153. The team gave him four tires and fuel, along with an air pressure and wedge adjustment. Racing returned to green on lap 156 with the CAT car in 28th place.
Wimmer soon told his guys he could run up the track more, which was a good sign and meant they were on to something with their last adjustments. The team pitted again for the sixth time of the night on lap 175, under yellow, for four tires and fuel, along with another wedge adjustment. Racing returned to green on lap 180 with Wimmer in 30th place.
Another caution soon followed on lap 200 so the team pitted again for fresh tires and fuel, along with another chassis adjustment. The over-the-wall pit crew worked fast and managed to gain the team more than five positions on pit road. The Caterpillar car was 28th when it came down pit road, but was 22nd when it left. Racing returned to green on lap 207.
Less than five laps later, the No. 22 driver and team were top-20 contenders and managed to hold on for a 20th-place finish by the completion of the 336-lap race. Only 24 cars finished on the lead lap, 15 out of 43 competitors did not even make it to then end of the race.
I am happy we finished tonight. I know this was tough one for a lot of the guys out there, so Im glad we came out of here with a clean nose and run. I dont know why the car wouldnt cut through the corner. The front end felt like it was dragging at times and it cost us so much momentum. I want to thank the guys on this CAT Racing team. They worked really hard and got us a strong start to the weekend and did get the car to come around to me a bit here tonight. I want thank all of them for that and for everything they do.