Wimmers Winter Wonderland

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With a little help from Mother Nature, the engines keep running and the helmet does not come off for Richard Childress Racing driver Scott Wimmer in the offseason.

Wimmer grew up racing and snowmobiling. Every off season he would hit the trails in northern Wisconsin to have some fun with his family and friends.

"We had a couple sleds when I was real young and then when I turned 12 I had a snowmobile all the way until I left for North Carolina," Wimmer said.

Over the years Wimmer has owned a bunch of snowmobiles, which included Yamahas and Arctic Cats. But it was his first one that he remembers the most.

"I remember my first snowmobile when I turned 12 was a 1974 Panther," Wimmer said. "It was so heavy that when I got it stuck I couldn’t drag it out myself do I would have to go get my either my older brother or sister to help me drag it out."

Since the move to North Carolina Wimmer had to give up his last snowmobile, which was a Ski-Doo Mach 1. Now he uses his friend's sleds to ride up north.

The Wisconsin Northwoods have always been known for their great snowmobile trails. Wausau is only two hours from Eagle River, which is known as the Snowmobile Capital of the World.

"I have rode up north a lot," Wimmer said. "I really don’t have a favorite spot. I think when you can get on the logging trails and just go up in northern Wisconsin that’s a lot of fun. We used to do it as a family years ago. I have always enjoyed being outdoors and having fun with it."

For Wimmer every time he climbs onto a sled it hard for him not to think of his friend Philip "Flip" Merwin, who died from a snowmobile racing accident in January 2003.

"Flip Merwin was a really good friend of mine," Wimmer said. "We were friends since the time I could remember. My father went to High School with his father."

Since 2005, Wausau has held the 525 Snowmobile Championship race to honor the memory of Merwin.

"It’s really become a big event," Wimmer said. "My dad sits on the Board of Directors along with a lot of my friends. Every year they make it bigger and better."

This year's event will be held on January 26-27. With Wimmer's busy testing schedule he does everything he can to try and attend the event.

"The first couple years I was able to go to some of the races," Wimmer said. "Actually the very first year they had it I rode Flip’s sled around the track. It was a special time for me. It’s really great to see all the support they get from all the families that attend."

The event is held on Man Made Lake at SunnyVale Park in Wausau. Proceeds from the event benefit "Flip's Fund" to help children with critical illnesses, and help fund local scholarships.

But before the 525 championships, the racing in Wisconsin will kick off with the 45th running of the Amsoil World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River from January 11-20.

"I’ve got a lot of friends that are still snowmobile racing so I keep close tabs on it," Wimmer said.

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