On Oct. 18, Ward Burton will drive his final lap in the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge at Martinsville Speedway. Burton and Caterpillar-sponsored Bill Davis Racing reached an agreement to end their contract for the remainder of the 2003 Winston Cup season on Wednesday, Oct. 8.
"For whatever reasons, there were situations that were out of [Bill Davis Racing and my] control," said Burton during a press conference. "We worked really hard at making it work and there were times in our past that it was working. Right now it’s not, and I think it was time. Obviously, there were folks on the other end of it who thought it was time."
Beginning Oct. 26 in Atlanta, Burton will be available to race in the No. 0 NetZero Pontiac, which he plans on driving during the last four races of this season and for the entire 2004 Nextel Cup season.
Burton began racing at NASCAR’s highest level in 1994, when he scored 24 top-5 and 79 top-10 finishes. He is currently sitting in the 20th position.
"I’ve been with Bill Davis Racing for about eight years, and when I went there it was a relatively new team. Together, in those eight years, we worked really hard and…we formed a successful program for our sponsors and we won a lot of races," said Burton. "I feel like I played my part and I was treated well in a lot of cases. At the same time, circumstances present themselves that you don’t have control over. This is one of those circumstances."
Scott Wimmer, the current Busch Series driver for Bill Davis Racing, will move to NASCAR’s premier series Oct. 20 and compete in the final four races of the 2003 season before becoming the full-time driver of the Caterpillar-sponsored car.
Born in Wausau, WI, Wimmer began racing three-wheelers at age eight and stock cars by the time he turned 15. Competing in races throughout Wisconsin, he drew attention from his local short track achievements, including State Park Speedway’s rookie of the year and the Miller Triple Crown Champion. In 2000, he entered the American Speed Association, joining Bill Davis Racing and Caterpillar – a seemingly logical fit with his family owning a construction company that primarily operates Cat equipment.