After nearly a three-year hiatus, Chris Wimmer is set to get back behind the wheel this weekend at his home track of State Park Speedway (WI). The Merrill Steel Detjens Memorial 100 Saturday night is the first of three events the Wisconsin driver plans to race over the next three weeks. The others include the TUNDRA Series race, also at State Park Speedway, on Saturday, August 5 and the ARCA Midwest Tour race at Golden Sands Speedway (WI) on Saturday, August 12.
“When I started looking at building a car and racing again, it worked out perfectly to hit these three races in Wisconsin,” Wimmer told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Obviously State Park Speedway is my home track and then Plover is just about 40 minutes away, so to be able to make it to my uncle’s memorial at Wausau and then two touring series races is perfect.”
The last time Wimmer raced close to fulltime was in 2014, a year in which he won the prestigious Slinger Nationals and also the Madison International Speedway (WI) Triple Crown final race and overall title. Since then, Wimmer moved to North Carolina where he works at Fury Racecars and is Harrison Burton’s Super Late Model crew chief.
Entering the 2017 season, Burton switched his cars over to the Fury shop, giving Wimmer a firsthand view of the success the company has been having lately. Besides winning the Snowball Derby last year with Christian Eckes, Burton has picked up four wins in his Fury Super Late Model and a runner-up finish at The Rattler. Steve Wallace most recently cashed in on two big wins at the Red Bud 300 and CARS Tour $10,000 Mid-Atlantic Classic last weekend.
Seeing the success these cars were having gave Wimmer the itch to build his own and see what he could do if he got back in the seat.
“Working at Fury I got to see the kind of cars they build and obviously their cars have been very successful over the past year,” he stated. “I actually had a conversation with Carl Wegner and bought a motor from him before I bought the car, so I sealed the deal early. I really liked what Carl has going with the affordability of his engine program, but was excited to build a new Fury. They build great cars and as I’ve worked there I thought more and more about building my own and seeing what I could do in it if I raced again. The guys at Fury have been very supportive throughout this process and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.”
Besides getting into the driver’s seat again, Wimmer also looks forward to getting back to his racing roots. Growing up in Wisconsin, he raced Super Late Models there for years and there’s no better place for him to come out of ‘retirement.’
“I did say I was retiring,” Wimmer joked. “And my wife likes to remind me of that. But as excited as I am to get the opportunity to race again, I’m excited to get back to the Midwest. There’s so much testing down here and everything seems to be at least a two-day show. When I was racing there was never the time spent at the track that there is now. The touring series in the Midwest have one-day shows where you can’t test, and I think that’s the way it should be. It’ll be nice to go home and race, but also get to spend time with my family and friends.”
This Saturday will be the first time in nearly three years that Wimmer climbs back behind the wheel, but this go around it will be even more special. With the addition of two children, it is a constant reminder of how much of a family the racing world is.
“I’m definitely excited for my kids to get to see me race,” Wimmer said. “They might still be too young to understand, but if I can get to victory lane or get a good finish, those photos with them will last a lifetime.”
Wimmer continues to look for sponsorship for his Wisconsin tour over the next three weeks, but is very thankful to the people that have stepped up to help him along the way.
“As I said, all the guys at Fury have been great,” Wimmer began. “And then Earnest Performance, TD Graphics, Wegner Motorsports, Al Kul Radiators, and a few others have really helped make this all possible.”
The Merrill Iron Detjens Memorial will be this Saturday, July 29 at State Park Speedway. There will be practice in the afternoon, followed by qualifying at 5:00 p.m. CST and racing at 6:00 p.m. Look for post-race highlights on the Speed51 Network powered by JEGS.
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor
-Photo credit: Fay Hendricks