Stremme Produces 16th Place Finish at the Brickyard 400

July 27, 2009

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (July 26, 2009) – Penske Racing driver David Stremme ran inside the top-20 for most of the day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and brought the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger across the finish line in 16th place Sunday in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Stremme took the green flag on Sunday afternoon under almost perfect summer conditions in Indianapolis. The South Bend, Ind. native started the 160-lap event in the 22nd spot, but was determined to make the most of a strong race car. He radioed to his team early in the event to explain that the Penske Dodge Charger was handling a bit too loose in the corners. Crew chief Roy McCauley started to map out the changes the team would make to the car on the first round of pit stops.

Stremme brought the No. 12 down pit lane for service on lap 30 under green flag conditions. The team went to work changing four tires and filling the car with fuel. The crew also made an air pressure adjustment to the machine hoping to stabilize its handling in the corners.

After all pit stops cycled through, Stremme found himself in the 21st spot. He again radioed to his crew to report that the changes helped, but the car was still running a bit free in turns 1 and 3. The loose condition was preventing Stremme from running at the bottom of the track, but he was still able to keep a fast pace. Stremme was running top-10 lap times and was gaining ground on his competitors. 

When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 57, because of an incident between turns 3 and 4, the Penske Dodge Charger team prepared for the car’s arrival on pit lane.  Stremme rolled into his pit stall on the next lap. The team again went to work as it changed four tires and made a small chassis adjustment.

The race was restarted on lap 62 and Stremme radioed his crew three laps later to give them an update on the car’s performance.  He explained that the car was running well, but when he would get behind one of his competitors the handling would tighten up and Stremme preventing him from making a clean pass. 

The caution came out for the third and final time on lap 127 because of oil on the racing surface in turns 3 and 4.  McCauley seized the opportunity to bring the No. 12 to pit road and bolt on four fresh tires for the shootout to the finish. The team did a fantastic job on pit lane, as it picked up three positions.

Stremme restarted the race on lap 136 in the 20th spot. The 32-year-old driver was bound and determined to improve as many positions as possible in the final laps. In just two laps, he moved up four spots to secure 16th place. Stremme battled with Carl Edwards over the final 10 laps to bring the Penske Dodge Charger home in the 16th position.

“It was a solid day for the Penske Dodge,” commented Stremme after the 400-mile event. “We felt like after happy hour we had a car that could run in the top-20. We were loose early in the race and [crew chief] Roy [McCauley] made some great calls up on the pit box. On the final restart, my car just took off. I could really get off the corners but when I got into traffic I was just too tight. We had a strong car and it showed. We needed today’s run to help us build some momentum going into the next couple of weeks. We had a great car at Pocono [Raceway] earlier in the summer but were caught up in a wreck. I am looking forward to going back and getting the finish we deserve.”

With Sunday’s strong run, Stremme picked up one spot in the Cup Series driver point standings. He now sits 31st after 20 of 36 races.

The No.12 Penske Dodge Charger team returns to Pocono Raceway this week for the second event of the season at the 2.5-mile triangular shaped track in the Pocono Mountains.  The Sonoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 will be seen live on Sunday, August 2 on ESPN. Race coverage will begin at 1 pm ET. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.