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Wimmer Bags Season-Best Finish at the Monster Mile


Race/Date:             Dover 200 – June 2, 2007

Location:                Dover (Del.) International Speedway

Start Position:         Second

Finish Position:        Third

Points Position:        Fifth (up one position)

Dover, Del. — Time ran out for the No. 21 AutoZone team to win the Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway but Scott Wimmer’s third-place finish was still his best showing of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series season.

Team AutoZone earned its third top-five and eighth top-10 finish of the season and moved up one position, to fifth, in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series owner point standings.

Wimmer was the 13th of 43 drivers to attempt a qualifying run Saturday morning and his lap of 23.534 seconds (152.970 mph) on the high-banked one-mile concrete oval was the second-best of the session, good enough to line up on the outside of the front row.

The green flag waved shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time but slowed for the first of the day’s 10 caution flags just 11 laps into the 200-lap feature. Racing resumed on lap 17 and though Wimmer called over the radio to crew chief Shane Wilson that the AutoZone Chevy was “pushing up the race track” in the corners, he maintained the second spot on the field rundown. A second caution on lap 38 allowed Wilson to bring the car to pit lane for a small adjustment – a half-pound of air taken out of the left rear tire.

Wimmer peeled off the track on the 40th lap running second. The air pressure adjustment had been made before Wimmer even pulled onto pit road but it was the left rear tire – more specifically, a dropped lug nut for the left rear wheel – that proved untimely, and costly.

Returning to the track now 10th in the running order, Wimmer set sail for the front of the pack when racing resumed on lap 46. Passing at Dover is always at a premium so Wimmer had to pick his spots. He moved into the ninth spot on lap 63, radioing in that the AutoZone Chevrolet was “free but coming around.” He was running eighth just five laps later and jumped into sixth on lap 78 – he was still sixth when the day’s third caution slowed the field on lap 85. Wilson told Wimmer at that time that his was the fastest car on the track.

Wimmer lost one spot on the stop and was seventh when racing resumed on lap 91. It took only four laps to pick up two spots and by the race’s halfway point the Wausau, Wis., native had moved into third.

The day’s fourth caution flew on lap 116 with Wimmer running second. More trouble on the left rear, coupled with some teams changing just two tires instead of four, found the AutoZone car in the eighth spot when racing resumed on lap 124. An accident that lap brought the field to a complete halt to clean the track surface. The red flag waved for approximately eight minutes.

During the intermission, the decision was made to swap the AutoZone pit crew with RCR’s Holiday Inn pit crew. That team, driven by Jeff Burton, was two laps down due to a flat tire earlier in the race but had been making very quick stops. Wimmer was still in contention for the win so the change was made.

Racing returned to the concrete surface on lap 131 with Wimmer running eighth. It took just one lap for him to move up a spot and he was fifth by lap 139. He was the fastest car on the track on lap 142 and was in the fourth spot with 50 laps remaining. Wimmer moved into third on the next lap and was in that position when the sixth caution flag waved nine laps later. Racing resumed on lap 164 but a major wreck two laps later forced the second red flag of the afternoon. After another eight-minute halt to the action, competition returned on lap 171.

Cautions eight, nine and 10 consumed the next 20 laps but somehow Wimmer had moved into the third spot. The final green flag waved with only five laps remaining, leaving no time for Wimmer to get all the way to the front.

Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards earned his third victory of the season. The other top-five finishers were Denny Hamlin, Wimmer, Casey Mears and Matt Kenseth. Wimmer’s Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton, finished 19th and Kevin Harvick, driving the No. 77 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick, Inc., finished seventh.

Timothy Peters will man the controls of the No. 21 AutoZone Chevy next weekend when the NASCAR Busch Series returns to Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. The Federated Auto Parts 300, the 15th of 35 NASCAR Busch Series events, will be televised live Saturday, June 9, beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2 and broadcast live on MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio. Qualifying at the 1.333-mile D-shaped oval is scheduled for Saturday, June 9 at 3:05 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Scott Wimmer – No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS –

“The AutoZone Chevy was really fast all day. We were best on long runs but, unfortunately, all those cautions at the end hurt our chances to bring home a win. We had a couple of problems on pit road that put us behind but we were always able to make our way back to the front. We just ran out of time.”