GLADEVILLE – Scott Wimmer, involved in a ride-share program with Jeff Burton in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season, made the most of his turn at the wheel Saturday at wind-swept Nashville Superspeedway.
The 32-year-old Wisconsin racer shook off big-league heavyweights Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards down the stretch to pull off an upset victory in the Pepsi 300.
That was the good news; the bad news is that he now has to turn the Richard Childress Racing Chevy back over to Burton for the next few races.
“It’s very tough to win and have to step out,” said Wimmer, who had not won in a 57-race span dating back to July of 2003. “When you step out of a car for a couple of weeks you lose a little bit.”
Wimmer, scheduled to run 23 of the 35 Nationwide races this season, added: “I’m grateful for the opportunity I have, and I’ll try to make the most of it.”
Bowyer came in second for the fourth time at the Superspeedway, and took little consolation in the fact that he moved into the Nationwide points lead. After six races he holds an 11-point edge over Edwards, the defending series champion.
“I’m sick of seconds,” Bowyer said.
Bowyer said his car was knocked out of kilter by a run-in with Kyle Busch with 62 laps to go. Busch, who had dominated the race up to that point – starting on the pole and leading 125 of the 225 laps completed – lost control of his Toyota entering the fourth turn, clipped Bowyer, and went sailing through the infield.
“I don’t know what happened,” Bowyer said, “but after Kyle hit me my car was tight after that.”
“It was just driver error,” said Busch, who has led five of the season’s six races and more laps (345) than any other driver, yet has yet to win. “I’m sure it’s going to bother me all week.”
Busch is the leader in the premier Sprint Cup series, which had an open date last weekend.
Edwards’ third-place finish snapped his string of three consecutive victories at the Superspeedway.
“I did my best, but my car was not as fast as it had been here in the past,” Edwards said. “It was frustrating.”
Nashville native Bobby Hamilton Jr. turned a 17th-place start into a 10th-place finish, and Columbia’s Sterling Marlin came in 22nd after running as high as 11th.
Baker Curb Racing’s two entries, Brad Coleman and Brad Baker, finished 27th and 28th, respectively, and Hickman County racer Willie Allen came in 33rd.
The race kicked off the 8th season at the Superspeeway, which hosts a second Nationwide Series race on June 7. It will be followed by an IndyCar Series race in July and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in August.