Stremme Posts a Top-20 Finish at Bristol Motor Speedway

August 23, 2009

BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 22, 2009) – Driver David Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge team battled back after going a lap down in Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 to bring home a top-20 result at Thunder Valley.

Stremme entered Saturday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway eager to find his way to the front of the field. The South Bend, Indiana native has listed Thunder Valley as one of his favorite tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series and he was looking to add to his success at the half-mile, high-banked oval on Saturday night.

The No.12 Penske Dodge Charger lined up in the 34th spot for the drop of the green flag. Stremme radioed to his crew early in the event to report that his Dodge Charger was handling a bit tight in the center of the corners at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway. Crew chief Roy McCauley assured his driver they would make a couple of adjustments to the car on the first round of pit stops.

On lap 63, the caution flag was displayed to the field for the first time of the night. The team took the caution period as an opportunity to come in and work on the car. Stremme brought his Dodge to the attention of his crew on lap 66. The team went to work and changed four tires and filled the car with fuel. The team also made both trackbar and air pressure adjustments in hopes of freeing up the car’s handling.

Stremme restarted the race in the 29th spot on lap 69. For the next green flag segment Stremme struggled to keep his speed up through the center of the corners.  He radioed to McCauley to explain that the car was still a tick tight and he was struggling to roll through the center of the corners. McCauley contemplated the changes to make on the Penske Dodge during the next round of pit stops. On lap 118, the No.12 machine fell a lap down to the leaders.

By the halfway point in the Sharpie 500, Stremme was running in the 29th position, still struggling with the balance on the car. He could run well on the top side of the track, but was battling lapped traffic and a tight race car.

When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 355, the Penske Dodge team elected to come to pit road for service. Stremme brought his car into the pits two lap later. The team changed four tires and filled its Dodge with racing fuel. The crew also made a chassis adjustment to the car hoping to free it up for the next green flag run.

By lap 400, Stremme was positioned in the 25th spot. He informed the team that the car was much better and it showed on the timing charts. Stremme was consistently running times as quick as the top-10 competitors. The team just needed to capitalize on track position in order to get to the front.

Stremme fought to make up ground over the final 75 laps. He passed cars on both the high and low side of the half-mile oval trying to make his way towards the front. The team captured the “lucky dog” free pass with six laps remaining to put him back on the lead lap. The 32-year-old driver worked hard over the final laps and took the checkered flag in the 20th spot. With his third top-20 performance in the last five races, Stremme remained 31st in the standings with 12 races left to go in the 2009 campaign.

“It was a solid effort for the Penske Dodge,” commented Stremme after Saturday’s 500-lap event at Bristol Motor Speedway.  “We got a little behind during the long green flag run and got a lap down.  [Crew chief] Roy [McCauley] did a great job making the right adjustments and by the end of the race we were as good as the top-10.  We just needed to get back on the lead lap a bit earlier in the race.  We will take the week off to regroup and get ready for the run to the end of the season.”

Next week, Stremme and the No. 12 team get a well deserved week off before returning to action in two weeks at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sunday, September 6, 2009. Race coverage will air live on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The race will also be broadcast live on PRN Radio.