Stremme Finishes 28th at Loudon in the Penske Dodge

June 28, 2009

LOUDON, N.H. (June 28, 2009) – Penske Racing driver David Stremme had a top-15 run going Sunday in the No.12 Penske Dodge at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but rain in the area forced an early end to the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 and Stremme wound up finishing in 28th place.

After rain cancelled qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series event in Loudon, New Hampshire, Stremme and the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger team started in 32nd place on Sunday afternoon. The team tested at the one-mile oval in April and felt it had a car that was capable of a strong race.

During the first 40-lap segment, Stremme reported that the car was loose-handling in the middle of the corners and he was having a hard time getting back on the gas coming off of the turns. Crew chief Roy McCauley told his driver the team would make some changes to the car on the first pit stop.

When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 45, Stremme prepared to bring his machine down pit lane. He brought the Dodge Charger to the attention of his crew on lap 47. The team changed both right side tires and filled the car with fuel. A chassis adjustment was also made to the Penske Dodge, in hopes of tightening up its handling for the next green flag stint.

The race was restarted on lap 49 and Stremme found himself in the 26th spot. He worked to get his car settled down early in the run, struggling to keep its back end from coming around. The loose condition was not hindering the No.12 Penske Dodge from making its way to the front. By lap 63, Stremme had guided the car into the top-20.

During the next 50 green flag laps, Stremme’s car started to lose grip through the corners, causing him to fall back in the running order. He radioed his team to explain that the car would not turn in the center of the corners and was loose coming out of the turns. McCauley assured Stremme the team would make further changes on the next round of pit stops.

The caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 174 and the team took the opportunity to come in and work on the car. Stremme rolled his machine down pit lane on lap 178. The team changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The No. 12 crew also made both air pressure and chassis adjustments trying to help correct the ill-handling race car.

The race was restarted on lap 180 and Stremme found himself back in the 28th spot. The changes the team made really helped the car and it showed on the speed charts. Stremme was running top-10 lap times and picking off his competitors one at a time. By lap 200, Stremme had moved all the way into the 17th spot. He told his team the changes were working and the car was really rolling through the center of the corners.

The team made its final pit stop of the day on lap 248 under green flag conditions, running inside the top-20 when the Penske Dodge came to pit road. After the stop, McCauley told Stremme that rain was in the area and he needed to make up all the time he could on each passing lap.  Weather rolled through New Hampshire Motor Speedway 18 laps later, which caused NASCAR to call the race early while relegating Stremme to a 28th-place finish.

“We just can’t catch a break,” commented Stremme after the race.  “[Crew chief] Roy [McCauley] made great calls today to make our car better during the race. We had a top-20 run going, but I guess someone got into the back of me on a restart which pushed in the right rear quarter panel. When we came down for our final stop, the rear changer had to beat (the damage) out, which cost us valuable time. I am proud of my guys. We worked hard all day and gained spots with every segment. I am looking forward to getting back to Daytona and trying to get this monkey off our back.”

Stremme remains 31st in the Cup Series driver point standings after 17 of 36 races. The No.12 Penske Dodge team will make its second visit of the season to Daytona International Speedway next weekend. The Coke Zero 400 will be seen live on Saturday, July 4 on TNT beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The event can also be heard live on MRN radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.


David Stremme Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Statistics
Start: 32  
Finish: 28    
Laps: 272/273
Laps Led: 0
Status: Running