CONCORD, N.C. (October 17, 2009) – Driver David Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge team entered the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway looking to build off last week’s top-20 Cup Series finish in California. Stremme and the team continued their momentum Saturday night as they ran on the lead lap all night long and brought the Penske Dodge across the finish line in the 19th position.
Stremme started the 500-mile event in the 27th spot, but he felt the team had a car capable of competing in the top-10. During the first 50-lap segment, the driver of the No.12 Penske Dodge reported that the car was handling tight from the center through the exit of the corners. He told the team that the car was running up the track and he was having a hard time getting back on the throttle coming out of the turns. Crew chief
Stremme arrived on pit lane on lap 36 for service under the yellow flag. The pit crew changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. They also made both chassis and air pressure adjustments to the machine to try and help the car’s handling for the next green flag run.
The race returned to green flag conditions on lap 42 and Stremme found himself in the 27th spot. He radioed his team three laps later to say the changes really helped the car’s performance, and it showed on the scoring monitor. By lap 100, Stremme was running inside the top-25 and he was posting top-10 lap times.
The caution flag was again displayed to the field on lap 119 and Stremme prepared to return to pit road for service. The team again changed all four tires and fueled the Penske Dodge. The crew also made both an air pressure adjustment to the right side tires and a small chassis change as Stremme continued his march to the front. The team did a great job getting Stremme back out onto the racing surface as the No. 12 picked up two valuable spots on pit lane.
For the next 75 laps, Stremme maneuvered the No.12 Dodge through the field. He was still experiencing a tight-handling car, but he communicated to his team that the condition was improving with each run.
By lap 300, Stremme had his machine positioned inside the top-15 and was tracking down the race leaders. He explained to McCauley the car was really strong on the high side of the track and he felt good about the Penske Dodge’s performance all the way around the high-banked speedway.
Two late caution periods hindered Stremme’s forward progress and he crossed the finish line in the 19th position for the team’s second consecutive top-20 result. Stremme remained 30th in NASCAR Cup Series point standings with five races remaining on the 2009 schedule.
“It was a solid night for the Penske Dodge,” said Stremme after the 500-mile race. “We had a good car all night. We just needed long runs to pick up spots. [Crew chief] Roy [McCauley] made the car better all night long. I feel like we could have run in the top-10, but those late restarts were tough. If you were not in the right row, you were just kind of stuck. I am looking forward to Martinsville Speedway next weekend. We tested last week to prepare and we learned a couple of things that will really help us.”
Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge team will compete at Martinsville Speedway next Sunday, October 25. The Tums Fast Relief 500 will be seen live on ABC-TV with race coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The event will also be heard live