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When you ask a NASCAR driver the question, “What are you most proud of in your life?” you may not expect to hear “my son”. Well, when I sat in my office and start off my interview with Scott Wimmer, NASCAR Driver and Wausau native, that is exactly what he told me. Wimmer enjoys watching his son Hayden grow up, play hockey, ride motorcycles and ski. He enjoys staying involved in not only his son’s life, but also his nieces and nephews, even though he has a very demanding schedule most of the year. He enjoys seeing them learn life’s lessons and having fun.

So when I asked Scott a more specific question, “What was he most proud of in his career?” he stated, “I get to race for a living”. Wimmer has been racing since 1991 and always thought that it would just be a hobby, so when he started getting paid for what he loved, it was a dream come true.

The Wimmer family has always been entrepreneurs starting with Scott’s grandfather who owned a granite pit and his father who owned a construction company. Both his father and grandfather taught him about hard work and gave him his “never give up” attitude. So when the State Park Speedway came up for sale, Scott Wimmer along with Ron Wimmer, announced their purchase of State Park Speedway. The Speedway, located in the Town of Rib Mountain, just outside of Wausau, was put up for sale at the end of the 2009 race season and many people in the community questioned its future and whether anyone would ever race there again.

When I asked Scott why he decided to reopen State Park Raceway he said, “it was an easy choice to open the Speedway”. He absolutely loves it in Wausau and gets back to the region as much as possible. The race track was a big part of his life growing up in the area and he didn’t want to see it go away.

Upon purchasing the Speedway, the Wimmers’ made quite a few improvements after getting input from several different drivers on what they would like to see. The entire family helped with the improvements and is involved in running the track. They are a close knit family and they all enjoy being a part of the community.

That is when the Wimmers stepped up and decided it was time to call it their own. “State Park Speedway has always been special to me,” says Scott Wimmer. “It’s where I got my start in racing, so to be able to keep State Park Speedway as a race track and support the racing community that supported me is pretty exciting.”

Besides the physical modifications to the State Park Speedway there were also changes made to the racing schedule. Typically the Speedway had averaged just four super late model cars every Saturday and about the same number of limited late models. The four-cylinder class was strong, but bringing drivers to the race track is an area of focus for the Wimmers. “Without the cars and drivers, there is no show,” says Scott Wimmer. “We’re working on options to increase the purse and get drivers back out to State Park. For a quarter-mile track, it’s really racy. I want fans to be able to experience some exciting racing this year and that all starts with talking to drivers and getting them interested and that’s what we are going to do.”

So what makes Wausau so special? Wimmer says he has seen so many great changes in the region since he made the move down south 11 years ago. He says, “the community is growing, but still has a hometown feel.” He believes the region is such a wonderful place because of the outdoor sports, quality hospitals, good schools, the Badger State Games and the fact that it is close to a lot of other great areas. He knows this is a wonderful place because community leaders have been willing to make the necessary investments to make improvements such as the highway system, improved downtown and many other things.

Scott has a lot of great years of professional racing in him, but he knows when the time is right, he will move back to the region to enjoy the abundance of what it has to offer.

Scott Wimmer’s Career        

Scott Wimmer is a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver who was born in Wausau on January 26, 1976. Wimmer co-owns State Park Speedway in Rib Mountain with Ron Wimmer. This Wausau native has found success in every series he has ever competed in. He carved his mark on the short tracks around Wisconsin throughout the 1990’s and became recognized as a dominant force in racing around the midwest.

Wimmer started racing at State Park Speedway in Wausau in 1991 at age 15. He moved up through the ranks, and became a well-known driver in the midwest. He moved down south, and in 1997 was the Rookie of the Year in the Hooter’s Cup late model series. He later finished second for the Rookie of the Year in the American Speed Association (ASA) series in 2000. He began the season with no sponsor for his family-owned team, but was able to run the full season after winning the first two races of the year. He also made his Winston Cup debut.

Scott won 17 times and claimed local and regional championships in a late model stock car between 1994 and 1996 before moving to Hooter’s Pro Cup Series. Wimmer really caught the eye of top NASCAR owners after he entered the American Speed Association (ASA) and claimed victories in the first two races he competed in.

Wimmer made his NASCAR debut in 2000, when he was signed to drive the #20 AT&T Pontiac Grand Prix for Bill Davis Racing in the Busch Series. After failing to qualify for his first race at North Carolina Speedway, he finished 18th in his debut at Memphis, followed by a 19th finish at Phoenix. He also made his Winston Cup debut at Atlanta, driving a car he had originally intended to drive at an ARCA RE/MAX Series race that weekend. The qualifying session was rained out for that race, and he was able to take his #23 car and enter in the Cup race. He finished 22nd and led nine laps in that race.

Wimmer tallied up two top five and eight top 10 finishes in his rookie year of the Busch Series, which put him 11th in the championship standings. 2002 brought hopes of a Busch Series Championship. Wimmer posted strong finishes in the early part of the season, but hit his stride during the summer months when he posted four consecutive top 10 finishes in June. Wimmer scored his first Busch Series career win at the fall Dover race, and in the final seven races of the season, posted wins at Memphis, Phoenix and Homestead. Wimmer finished the season up with four wins, 11 top five and 17 top 10 finishes and a career high third in the championship standings.

In the 2007 season, Wimmer (along with teammate Jeff Burton) won the NASCAR Busch Series season owner points championship for Richard Childress Racing. The duo finished third in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings in 2008, while Wimmer posted his sixth career NASCAR win.

During the 2009 campaign, Wimmer looked to put a strong season together in the NASCAR Nationwide series.  Scott raced for Curtis Key Sr. and Key Motorsports, as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr and JR Motorsports. 

2010 marked Wimmer’s ninth season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with 199 starts, six wins, one pole, 29 top five, and 71 top 10 finishes. For 2011, Wimmer has races scheduled with the Key Motorsport team.

So after all that, when you ask a NASCAR driver the question, “What are you most proud of in your life” you still may not expect to hear “my son”. But when you ask a more specific question, “What are you most proud of in your career?” it may not be as surprising to hear him say, “I get to race for a living”.  All of the fans in the Wausau Region wish Scott Wimmer the best in his racing career and with State Park Speedway.

 By Karen Nerison, Marketing/Programs Director, The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce for Central Times Relocation Magazine

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