Charlotte: Scott Wimmer race report

Pit Problems Plague Key Motorsports, Wimmer Finishes 28th at Lowe's It was a long, wet day for Key Motorsports at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where a good start turned soggy after pit mistakes and bad timing resulted in a 28th place finish for...

Pit Problems Plague Key Motorsports, Wimmer Finishes 28th at Lowe's

It was a long, wet day for Key Motorsports at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where a good start turned soggy after pit mistakes and bad timing resulted in a 28th place finish for Scott Wimmer in the Carquest Auto Parts 300.

Rain held off long enough for teams to complete qualifying on Saturday afternoon, with Scott Wimmer turning a lap time of 30.336, good enough for 25th on the starting grid. Soon after, the skies above Lowe's Motor Speedway opened, washing the 1.5-mile track clean of rubber and delaying the command by over 90 minutes. After 15 minutes of pace laps and six opening laps under caution, green flag racing finally commenced under the lights in Charlotte.

On the green racetrack, Wimmer instantly assessed the No. 40 Chevy as tight, and crew chief Gary Showalter quickly began to plan the changes he'd make to free up the racecar. Despite the car's condition, Wimmer managed to pick up two positions by the time a fiery wreck by the No. 15 of Michael Annett brought out the caution on lap 23.

As competitors filed down pit road for the first pit stop of the night, Showalter told the Key Motorsports pit crew to replace right side tires and go up two rounds on the trackbar. Unfortunately, a problem occurred during the trackbar adjustment and the No. 40 exited the pits with the ratchet still stuck in the rear window slot. Assessed a pass-through penalty for equipment leaving the pit box, Wimmer brought the car back into the pits, opting to stop once more to change left side tires and make a second attempt at raising the trackbar. Due to a rule change in effect for the first time this season, Wimmer was also sent to the tail end of the longest line for the infraction, setting him back to the 36th position.

Despite the rough start, Wimmer and the team were determined to shake off the mistake and focus on the remainder of the race. When green flag racing resumed on lap 30 it was clear the team would make up for the positions lost under caution, as the No. 40 was now running laps competitive with the leaders. Wimmer picked up five spots in only two laps, and by lap 53 he'd fought back to 23rd, his position before the first caution.

By lap 83 Wimmer had gone a lap down after the car suddenly became "can't-drive-it" tight, but without a yellow he was forced to wrestle with the No. 40 while it was "just sliding across the track." Despite having his hands full, Wimmer was still able to pick off some of his competitors, working his way up to 18th before it was time for green flag pit stops. The No. 40 was packed full of fuel and given four fresh tires, adjusting right side pressures to loosen the car up. When a spin brought out the caution eight laps later the team decided to stay out, but the green flag pit stops had shuffled the field, and three positions were lost due to the poor timing.

With another long green flag run, Wimmer was able to work the No. 40 back into the top-20, but on lap 152 Showalter had to call Wimmer into the pits for fuel under green once again, having held off as long as he could before risking running out. The Key Motorsports pit crew quickly filled the No. 40 with Sunoco racing fuel before returning to the track, but only two laps later the caution flag flew. The unlucky timing of the caution left Wimmer 28th and two laps down. The team was unable to recover after the restart, as the race was called for rain eight laps later, 30 laps before its scheduled conclusion.

"At the start of the race we ran really good...we ran up quite a few positions and were looking good," said driver Scott Wimmer. "We had a problem on pit road with leaving a wrench in, and that got us behind there. We had the pit calls right, we just had a caution after every time we were on pit road, so that kinda hurt our day there. All in all, the car drove really good...we've been working really hard on getting the cars to drive better and we've been able to do that. Been working on our pit stops and they've been getting better, we just need to not have those mistakes right off the bat to get us behind and I think we'll be alright. Our times were good, we were running close to top-10 times all night, so we'll keep working at it and hopefully in the next few weeks we'll see some positive gains from it."

After the 28th place finish, the No. 40 Chevrolet remains 32nd in the NNS owner standings, 36 points behind 30th place.

-credit: km

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Drivers Scott Wimmer , Michael Annett