Race/Date: Food City 250 / August 24, 2007
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
Start Position: 25th
Finish Position: Fifth
Owners Points Position: Third
Another top-five finish was the order of the day as Scott Wimmer, driver of the No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, rolled to a fifth-place effort in Fridays Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The strong run was the teams fourth consecutive top-five finish and their 10th top-five and 15th top-10 finish of the season. Despite having competed in just 16 of the divisions first 26 events, Wimmer gained fourth spots and is now 16th in the Busch Series drivers point standings. The Wausau, Wis., native sits 307 points behind Mike Wallaces 10th-place tally.
Wimmer qualified 25th for the series second stop of the season at the newly surfaced 0.533-mile high-banked oval in 16.256 seconds (118.036 mph).
Starting on the inside of row 13 in front of an estimated crowd of 115, 000, Wimmer struggled with the handling of his AutoZone Chevy, free-falling to 32nd before the first of 11 caution flags was displayed on lap 17. Reporting that he was wicked loose during the early run, crew chief Shane Wilson summoned his driver to pit road on lap 19 for major chassis and air pressure adjustments. Wimmer restarted the 250-lap contest 38th
The adjustments made to the red and black Chevy proved to ease the handling on the No. 21 entry as Wimmer snared five positions over the next 22 laps. Unfortunately, leader and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) teammate Jeff Burton was quickly approaching and lapped the five-time Busch Series winner on lap 48.
Burton and Eric McClure brought out the nights third caution flag when the two tangled on lap 76. Wimmer radioed to Wilson that his AutoZone Chevy was still too loose and with nothing to lose, the veteran crew chief brought Wimmer back down pit road for another round of chassis and air pressure adjustments.
Wimmer restarted 33rd on lap on lap 57 and set his sights on battling competitors Danny OQuinn and Travis Kvapil for the Lucky Dog. The Lucky Dog pass is awarded to the first car one lap down to the leader when a caution flag is waved. A caution flag on lap 77 is just what the doctor ordered and the No. 21 team received the free pass, now scored on the lead lap.
Once again, Wilson took advantage of not losing any track position by calling his driver to pit road. Wimmer visited his AutoZone over-the-wall crew for the last time on lap 80 as the team bolted on four fresh tires and made a pair of chassis adjustments.
Wimmer restarted the 133.25-mile contest 31st and over the middle stages of the race, the 31-year-old driver patiently worked his way by the competition and was 22nd when the field was slowed once again on lap 100.
Strategy played into the hands of the AutoZoners as the next five caution flags allowed the frontrunners to visit pit road for service, allowing the red and black Chevy to move up the scoring pylon.
Wimmer was scored 10th when the eighth caution flag was displayed on lap 151 and would restart sixth when the field returned to green.
Over the closing stages of the race, Wimmer raced between fourth and sixth and ultimately crossed the finish line fifth.
Kasey Kahne earned his first victory at Bristol and was followed by Jason Leffler, David Reutimann and Kyle Busch. Wimmer rounded out the top-five finishers.
Wimmers RCR teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton finished eighth and 40th, respectively. Burton was collected in an incident not of his own making on lap 76.
Next weekend, the NASCAR Busch Series returns to the Golden State for the divisions second stop of the year at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Bowyer will take the wheel of RCRs No. 21 entry with Camping World adorning the hood and quarter panels.
The Camping World 300 presented by RVs.com will be televised live on ESPN2 Saturday, September 1 beginning at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The 26th race of the 2007 season will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Satellite Radio.
SCOTT WIMMER QUOTE:
It was a pretty exciting night. We were extremely loose when we started the race and Shane (Wilson) and the AutoZone pit crew did a great job with adjustments. We stayed out on tires and got track position. The AutoZone Chevrolet was good at the end. I thought I would have a chance of racing with the leaders when (Ryan) Newman hit the wall, but the No 5 car (Kyle Busch) got by me. I had three weeks off so it was exciting to get back in the car.