Despite qualifying near the rear of the 43-car field, Scott Wimmer and the No. 14 Family Dollar team knew they had a competitive car for the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Disaster would strike early, as the No. 14 Dodge would be caught up in an early race accident relegating the team to a disappointing 42nd place finish.
Confidence was high in the Family Dollar camp Friday after two productive practice sessions ended with the No. 14 Dodge posting the 18th quickest time. A very loose racecar in qualifying prevented Wimmer from backing up his practice speeds. Unfazed, Wimmer and crew chief Ron Otto remained confident the No. 14 would perform in the 125-lap event.
Taking the cautious approach, Wimmer patiently guided his racecar up through traffic in the beginning laps of the race. It became evident the loose condition that had plagued Wimmer in qualifying was still affecting the cars handling.
Im loose everywhere, radioed Wimmer. Shes a handfu l.
An early caution on lap 10 was just what the Family Dollar team needed as Wimmer brought his Dodge to pit road. The crew quickly went to work adding Sunoco racing fuel and going two rounds down on the track bar to tighten up the Family Dollar machine.
The caution flag would again wave on lap 19 allowing Otto and his crew to continue adjusting on their loose machine as Wimmer again pulled his machine on to pit road. The No. 14 crew bolted on four fresh tires, topped off the tank with fuel and made a significant rear shock adjustment before sending their driver back on to the racing surface.
Disaster struck just a few short laps later as Wimmer was caught up in a wreck on lap 45. Contact from both the No. 25 and No. 00 would send the Family Dollar Dodge to pit road with significant right side damage.
The Family Dollar team quickly sprang into action attempting to repair the damage. Wimmer could only sit helpless on pit road in his wounded racecar as the field retook the green. Otto soon realized the damage was far more severe then anticipated and made the call to pull the No. 14 behind the wall for repairs. Refusing to give up, the team worked feverishly to make the needed repairs in hopes of returning their driver to competition.
Wimmer briefly would return to the race, but the damage was too severe to continue as Otto again called his driver to the garage to continue repairs.
Despite a valiant effort by the crew, the Family Dollar Dodge had suffered too much damage to continue racing and was loaded into the hauler. Driver and crew would be forced to settle with a disappointing 42nd place finish.
I hate it for the guys, Armando Fitz, and Family Dollar, stated Wimmer. We had a competitive car today. We were a little loose at the start, but we were gaining on it with each stop. The guys worked real hard to get me back out there after we wrecked, but the car was tore up pretty bad. This is not the day we had hoped for, thats for sure.
The NASCAR Busch Series heads to the Worlds Fastest half-mile, Bristol Motor Speedway Friday night under the lights. The Food City 250 will be broadcast live on both TNT and PRN Radio beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET.