David Stremme Uses the High Line to Finish 14th in Texas

April 6, 2009

FT. WORTH, Tex. (April 5 , 2009) – Driver David Stremme battled from deep in the field Sunday to bring the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger home in the 14th spot at Texas Motor Speedway.  The South Bend, Indiana driver used the second, and sometimes third, racing groove to pass his competitors on the way to a top-15 NASCAR Cup Series finish at the “Great American Speedway.”

Stremme started the 500-mile Samsung 500 in the 32nd position, but it did not take the No. 12 team long to know it had a machine capable of producing a strong result. Stremme radioed to his crew chief early in the race explaining the car was handling just a bit tight at both ends of the 1.5-mile speedway. The tight-handling condition did not hinder Stremme from passing the competition. By lap 80, he had his Penske Dodge positioned in the 22nd spot and was making up ground on the leaders with each lap.

When the caution flag was displayed to the 43-car for the first time on lap 96, the No.12 crew started to gear up for a pit stop. Stremme rolled down pit lane on lap 98 for service. The team changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The team also made a chassis adjustment hoping to dial the car in for the next green flag run. 

The team did a phenomenal job on pit road, picking up two valuable positions in the running order. The race was restarted on lap 102, and the red and black Dodge Charger was in the 19th spot, with Stremme eager to continue his fight to the front. Stremme radioed to his team six laps later describing that the car was now running loose on both ends of the track. Crew chief Roy McCauley began to strategize with the team on the best way to address the car’s condition during the next round of pit stops.

When the caution flag was again displayed to the field on lap 156, the No.12 team again prepared to see its car on the pit lane. Stremme brought the car down pit road two laps later for service. The team changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The crew also pulled a spring rubber out of the right rear of the car hoping to tighten its handling.

The race returned to green flag conditions on lap 161 and Stremme had the No.12 Dodge Charger in the 14th position. Stremme started to test the waters on the high side of the race track in turns three and four. His experiment worked as the Penske Dodge quickly became the fastest car on the track. Stremme radioed to his team saying the car was just a tick tight, but he could really get back on the gas quickly coming out of the turns and get a good run coming down the front stretch.

With 34 laps to go in the event, Stremme had his machine in the top-10. Just three laps later, Stremme made incidental contact with the outside wall which caused the car to spin. Stremme did a superb job keeping the No. 12 machine off both the inside and outside walls. Stremme rolled down pit lane and the team bolted on four fresh tires and filled the car with enough fuel to get to the end of the event.

Stremme restarted the event in the 13th spot with only 26 laps remaining and battled for the last segment of the race to keep the No. 12 car in the top-15. Stremme took the checkered flag in the 14th position. His Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished 8th and 17th, respectively. Stremme’s strong finish allowed him to pick up three positions in NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings. He and the Penske Dodge team now sit 22nd in the rankings, just 115 points outside of the top-12. 

“We had a good day today,” commented Stremme. “We had a good car all day and the team did a great job on pit road. I got the wall late in the race, running the high side, which hurt us a little bit, but I feel it was a solid day for our Penske Dodge. I could really get a run off the corners on the high side, but when Robby [Gordon] blew up, they put down a little oil dry it hurt the upper groove. I got the wall a couple of times, but all in all, it was a really good day.”

David Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger team will take a well deserved week off before returning to action at Phoenix International Speedway on Saturday, April 18th. The Subway Fresh Fit 500 will be seen live on the FOX network as well as MRN radio and Sirius radio channel 128.