Bristol: JR Motorsports preview

UPDATED SCHEDULE FOR 7 TEAM - JR Motorsports officials announced this week its goal for the No. 7 program is to race the full 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule as opposed to the previously-announced 13 races in which Danica Patrick will drive.

UPDATED SCHEDULE FOR 7 TEAM - JR Motorsports officials announced this week its goal for the No. 7 program is to race the full 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule as opposed to the previously-announced 13 races in which Danica Patrick will drive. Complete sponsorship details and drivers are to be determined; however, veteran racer Scott Wimmer will take the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet this Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway and April 3 at Nashville Superspeedway.

"This is something we've been considering for awhile now, and the bottom line is the No. 7 car is too good not to be at the race track," said JRM co-owner and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. "Our goal at JR Motorsports has always been to have two full-time Nationwide Series teams competing every week. Our sponsorship situation with the No. 88 has shown significant progress, and hopefully we'll have announcements soon. We'll work just as hard to get the No. 7 fully funded."

Patrick's remaining 10 races include New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 26), Chicagoland Speedway (July 9), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 14), Dover International Speedway (Sept. 25), Auto Club Speedway (Oct. 9), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 15), Gateway International Raceway (Oct. 23), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 6), Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20).

THE CHEESEHEAD BRIGADE - Wisconsin natives Kelly Bires and Scott Wimmer will be paired as first-time teammates for JR Motorsports this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bires hails from Mauston, Wis., while Wimmer's hometown is Wausau, Wis.

WIMMER's 200TH NNS START - With his late entry in the No. 7 Chevrolet, Wimmer will make his 200th NNS start at Bristol this weekend. He enters his ninth year of competition in the series and has notched six wins, 29 top-fives, 71 top-10s and one pole. Wimmer has led 639 laps, earning an average finish of 15.3 along with an average start of 20.7.

WIMMER RETURNS TO JRM -Wimmer is no stranger to the JR Motorsports team. The Wisconsin native piloted the No. 5 Chevrolet in six races in 2009, and had his best finish with the team at both Darlington and ORP (ninth).

SEASONED VET - Wimmer has 13 career starts at the half-mile bullring. He's earned three top-five and six top-10 finishes, with one pole and an average start of 17.2 and average finish of 14.5. Wimmer has led 51 total laps, earning his best finish of second in the fall of 2002 driving for Bill Davis.

BIRES AT BRISTOL- In four starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bires earned two top-20 finishes and has one start inside the top five at the concrete oval. His average start is 19.2 and average finish is 27.0.

BIRES 2010 CAMPAIGN - Bires will be making his third start for JRM this season and fourth overall. His initial 2010 start came in California, where he qualified 32nd and drove to a seventh-place finish. After qualifying 12th at Las Vegas the following week, a cut tire sent Bires into the wall five laps into the race and relegated him to a 42nd-place finish.

HELLMANN'S CHEVROLET - This is the second of nine races with Hellmann's as the primary sponsor of the No. 88 Chevrolet, but its first with driver Kelly Bires. The iconic brand's previous race saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualify third and lead seven laps at Daytona before falling victim to "the big one" 29 laps shy of the finish.

WORD FROM THE DRIVERS

Kelly Bires
No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet

You've had some strong runs at Bristol in the past, but are still looking for your first top-15 finish. What's the key to a solidifying a good finish there?"It seems like every time I've gone to Bristol, I'd have a good run going and then run into back luck. In 2008 when it rained out, I was running eighth and came in to pit about 10 laps before the rain came and got cycled to the back. It's a track that reminds me a lot of Slinger Speedway back home in Wisconsin - high banked and fast. The most important thing at Bristol is qualifying up front and staying up front. If you're anywhere from seventh on back, someone could wreck ahead of you, and you get pushed right into it from behind, especially with the double-file restarts. It's really treacherous."

What's the biggest difference between racing on concrete compared to asphalt, and why do you feel you excel on concrete? "I think the biggest thing is the grip level. On concrete you've got a lot of grip and then you suddenly lose it. When you're racing on asphalt, you can feel when you're losing grip and where you're losing it. From a technical standpoint, on concrete your track temperature maintains consistency. That helps the crew with car setups too. For me, I've just always enjoyed running on concrete. As a driver sometimes you just find a track that fits your style and the feel you like. Bristol, Nashville and Dover are some of my favorite tracks to drive."

Scott Wimmer
No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet

Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, but you are now the driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet for Bristol and Nashville. What are your feelings being back under the JRM banner?

"Well I haven't raced in the Nationwide Series yet this season, so it's great to be back with a familiar team. I raced with JR Motorsports in a select number of races last year, but this will be my first time working with Tony [Eury] Jr. He's had a lot of success, so I'm really looking forward to working with him. The JRM equipment is some of the best you can find. As a driver it's great to know you have that kind of infrastructure and support. I'm looking forward to the next two races with these guys."

This is your 200th Nationwide Series start this weekend. When you first started racing in the series back in 2000, did you ever think you'd race this long?

"Back then, I was just thankful to get my first Nationwide Series start. It was at Memphis. As a driver you've got to have the confidence that you can succeed at this level, but to that point all the stars have to be aligned, too. Everything's really got to fall into place for you to have a career in this sport. I've been very fortunate to be here. It's been a lot of fun and the six wins along the way were amazing."

If you could describe racing at Bristol in one word, what would it be and why?

"I think I could better do it in two words: thrilling and frustrating. Anytime you can race on a half-mile track with 30 degrees of banking and run laps in the 15 second range, you're going to have fun. But when you put 42 other drivers out there with you, that's when things get frustrating and complicated. Track position and self control become critical to your success."

-source: jr motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Scott Wimmer , Kelly Bires , Tony Eury Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams JRM Racing , JR Motorsports