SCR: Was it a huge relief when you heard that Frankie Stoddard was going to stay on board as your crew chief after you'd watched all the success he had through the years with Jeff Burton?
WIMMER: It was a big relief to me. Frankie had a great track record for the last 10 years. He does a great job with all the guys back at the shop and all the guys on the crew. I'm excited about working with him because he's got a lot of great ideas and he knows that with me being a rookie driver there are going to be problem areas that I'm going to have to work my way through. Frankie is really trying to help me out as much as he can. I've never had a crew chief for more than two years, so hopefully we can stick together and reach some of our goals. We have a great relationship and I'm just looking forward to continuing that into the future.
SCR: How do you compare the contrasting styles of Bootie Barker and Frankie Stoddard?
WIMMER: Bootie was very aggressive with the cars and Frankie is trying to take a little more laid-back approach. Frankie knows that to be there at the end of the year, you've got to be around for the long haul and can't be on the set-ups every week. On the other hand, Bootie and I would just throw stuff in the car. Sometimes we'd look pretty good and other times we'd look kind of foolish. Frankie does a good job on the radio of keeping me calm and getting us in a position to win races or finish as far up as we can.
Despite his low points this...
Despite his low points this year, Wimmer says he is grateful to BillDavis and Caterpillar for a second chance.
SCR: How did you first get started in racing and at what age?
WIMMER: I really got started when I was 15 years old running the Street Stocks around Wisconsin and I did that for three years. From there I worked my way up into Late Models and had a lot of success. Then I moved my way up into the Hooters ProCup and a lot of other Late Model touring divisions. Ultimately I ended up in ASA and really thought I'd be racing in that series for a long time, but then I got the chance to move up to the Busch Series.
SCR: When you were young, your uncle Larry Detjens was killed in a racing accident. What happened and did that take away a little of the desire that you had to make a career out of racing?
WIMMER: My uncle was one of the all-time great Wisconsin drivers who raced against guys like Dick Trickle, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. He won a lot of ASA races at short tracks. He was on the verge of really making his Busch Series debut before he got killed a couple weeks before that was going to happen. My whole family has always been a racing family. When my uncle passed away, my parents had to step away from the sport for quite a while until I started racing. It was really hard on them and they were out of the sport for 10 or 11 years. I'm just glad they are very supportive of me after all we've been through. I've loved racing since I was probably five years old when I lost my uncle. I don't remember a whole lot about him since I was so young, but what I do remember and hear from other people lets me know he was a great person as well as a great driver. At first it was a little scary for me - I think it was more a scare for my parents - but once I figured out what I wanted to do, it wasn't a tough decision.
SCR: We got to see a little of this last year when your fellow Wisconsin native driver Matt Kenseth won the championship, but your home state race fans have proven to be very passionate about Nextel Cup racing. Have the race fans from the Wisconsin area always been that passionate about racing or was it a matter of them having local drivers to pull for in NASCAR?
WIMMER: Wisconsin was kind of different in racing because we never heard of NASCAR that much. We were always looking to see what Dick Trickle was doing because he put my home state on the map. He really broke the ground for all of us because he put drivers from Wisconsin on the map. Then Ted Musgrave moved down and had a great career along with Dave Marcis who was at home back there. Wisconsin is really a great place to race because you can race four nights a week. I think the race fans from Wisconsin are more supportive than any other race fans around.