NASHVILLE II: Scott Wimmer race report

Solid Run Goes Up In Flames For Key Motorsports What looked to be a solid day at the track for Key Motorsports ended abruptly 79 laps into the 225-lap Federated Auto Parts 300 when a damaged wheel bearing caught fire, forcing Scott Wimmer to ...

Solid Run Goes Up In Flames For Key Motorsports

What looked to be a solid day at the track for Key Motorsports ended abruptly 79 laps into the 225-lap Federated Auto Parts 300 when a damaged wheel bearing caught fire, forcing Scott Wimmer to retire the No. 40 Federated Auto Parts Chevy from the race, resulting in a 33rd place finish.

With Curtis Key's No. 40 locked into the field via owner's points, a qualifying lap time of 30.662 seconds was good enough for a 33rd place starting berth for Scott Wimmer in the Federated Auto Parts 300. Unconcerned about starting at the rear of the field, Wimmer was confident that the team had a car that would be fast in race trim. Wimmer proved correct, racing the Federated Auto Parts Chevy into 29th in only four laps.

While Wimmer was moving up four spots in as many laps, he briefly made contact with one of his competitors, slightly damaging the front right fender, but when the first caution of the night came out on lap five, the team was able to pit and pull out the damaged fender. What the team didn't realize was that the damage far more severe than dented sheet metal.

The long pit stop to repair the damage set Wimmer back to 31st when green flag racing resumed on lap 13, but once again he quickly flew through the field, advancing to 20th by lap 19. By lap 58, Wimmer had slipped back a position during a long green flag run, but was still named by ESPN2 as one of the biggest movers of the race.

As the field began green-flag pit stops, Wimmer felt a wobble in his right front and quickly pulled into the pits, assuming he had a tire going down. After a fast tire change he was back on the track, but immediately found himself without brakes at over 150 MPH. When Wimmer brought the No. 40 Federated Auto Parts Chevy back into the pits, flames emerged from the wheel well and spread under the hood.

Once pit road fire crews put out the fire, the team was able to take a closer look at what had transpired. It became clear that the contact in the opening laps of the race had locked up the right front wheel bearing, causing metal to grind and friction to burn, eventually chewing the brake rotor in half. When brake fluid poured onto the glowing hot wheel bearing, flames erupted, causing irreparable damage to the car. The team was forced to retire the car on lap 79, resulting in a 33rd place finish.

"It's unfortunate, we're getting good enough that our bad days are 15th, and if we have a good day it'll be somewhere in the top-10, so I'm excited about the progress we're making," said Wimmer. "We kinda took a little bit of a hit in the points, but I'm confident that we can go to Kentucky and run well and get ourselves back up into the top-30."

This weekend's disappointing 33rd place finish has dropped Curtis Key's No. 40 down to 32nd in the NNS owner points, only nine points outside a locked-in start, forcing Scott Wimmer to race his way into the show next weekend.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series runs under the lights once again this Saturday in the Meijer 300 Presented By Ritz at Kentucky Speedway.

-credit: km

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Scott Wimmer