Homestead, FL-- Bill Davis Racing's Scott Wimmer was able to capitalize on Jason Keller's fuel mileage miscalculation and grab the win at Homestead-Miami. Wimmer was leading with 13 to go, dipped to the pits for a final fill-up of 76 gasoline, and was riding comfortably in second when ppc's Keller ran out of gas with one lap remaining.
26-year-old Wimmer's Pontiac was doused with flames, somewhat of an appropriate metaphor as the Wisconsin native sure has been on a hot streak as of late. He finished third in the points and has now won two straight races, four of the last eight events. "What an awesome end of the year," Wimmer said. "I'm real proud of these guys."
During the final pitstop for a splash if gas, Wimmer's crew chief Robert Barker said the gasman put in just enough fuel to turn some burnouts. Sure enough, Wimmer's #23 Pontiac sputtered to a stop on the frontstretch. "We didn't get but four gallons in," Barker said with a smile.
On lap 112 after a caution flag brought out by a wreck involving Kevin Grubb, the field dipped to the pits for a round of pitstops. Wimmer was riding in second prior to the stop, but dropped back to 12th after his 23 crew struggled with nearly a 24 second stop. Despite the troubles, Wimmer never relented and put complete faith in his crew. "That last pitstop we had a lugnut hang. These guys, they rip them off every week."
Keller, who finished second in the championship to Roush Racing's Greg Biffle, stressed that his 57 team made the right call by choosing to gamble on fuel in the closing laps. "We came to Homestead to win. We didn't come here to run second. We just came a lap short." Keller ended the race 15th.
Biffle clinched the title last week in Phoenix, and today led a portion of the event before cutting a right rear tire and pitting on lap 148. Biffle recovered and bounced back to a fourth place finish.
Hank Parker Jr. found out earlier this week his sponsor would not be returning in 2003. He did his best to attract new sponsorship dollars and pulled out a strong second place run. Joe Nemechek and Bobby Hamilton, Jr. round out the top five.
Randy LaJoie, Michael Waltrip, and Jimmy Spencer grabbed spots six through eight. Ashton Lewis, Jr. had a strong run in the #46 entry with his ninth place finish. Pole sitter Jeff Green crossed the finish line in 10th, bringing the 2002 Busch Series season to a close.