Stremme Finishes 39th at Infineon Raceway

June 22, 2009

SONOMA, Calif. (June 21, 2009) – Penske Racing driver David Stremme had a top-25 run going Sunday in the No.12 Penske Dodge at the 11- turn Infineon Raceway road course in Sonoma, California before an incident with only a handful of laps remaining took him out of the race. 

Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger team started 39th for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 in California’s wine country, but the team knew it had a car capable of running well inside the top-20. This was only Stremme’s second start at the 11-turn road course in Northern California, but he felt he could compete with the veteran talent in the 43-car field.

During the opening 20-lap segment, Stremme took his time maneuvering his car through the field. He radioed into crew chief Roy McCauley to explain that the car was handling extremely loose through the right hand turns.  McCauley and the No.12 team tried to determine what changes they would make to their machine during the first round of pit stops.

A full-course caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 20 for an incident in turn 11. The No.12 pit crew prepared to see their car on the pit lane for the first round of pit stops. Stremme rolled down pit road for service on lap 24. The No.12 team changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. Multiple chassis adjustments were also made to the Dodge Charger, hoping to correct the loose condition Stremme was experiencing on the race course.

McCauley, trying to use fuel strategy to his advantage, called Stremme to pit road just before taking the green flag to restart the race in order to top the car off with fuel. The veteran crew chief knew road course races frequently come down to fuel mileage and he wanted to stretch the window as far as he could.

Stremme battled from the 39th spot but was again on the move to the front. With every passing lap, the No.12 Penske Dodge picked up positions. By lap 50, Stremme had taken the Penske Dodge all the way up to the 18th spot. He radioed McCauley, saying the car was better and he was doing his best to conserve fuel, knowing they would need every drop.

When the caution flag was displayed to the field for the third time on lap 75, the team prepared to make its final scheduled stop of the race. The No. 12 machine came to pit lane on lap 77 for service. The team went to work bolting on four fresh Goodyear tires and filling the car with enough fuel to make it to the end of the event. 

The race was restarted on lap 79 and the Penske Dodge Charger was running in the 35th position. Stremme knew he had fresh rubber and once again started to make his way towards the front. On lap 100, Stremme was in the middle of the track going through the ‘S’ curves when he made contact with the No. 83 machine. The contact punched a hole in the radiator of the No.12 car, which ultimately ended the team’s day.

“It was a tough day for our Penske Dodge Charger,” commented Stremme after the 113-lap event. “We had a top-25 run going but I got into the back of the 83 car coming through the ‘S’s’. They all checked up in front of me and I had nowhere to go. The contact knocked a hole in our radiator which ended our day. We just need a break. We have had fast cars every time we are at the track we just don't have any luck. I am looking forward to getting to New Hampshire and getting this monkey off our back.”

Stremme now sits 31st in the Cup Series driver point standings after 16 of 36 races. The No.12 Penske Dodge team will now head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the next race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.  The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 will be broadcast live on Sunday, June 28 on the TNT television network. Race coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET. The event will also be heard live on PRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.

David Stremme Toyota/Save Mart 350 Statistics
Start: 39  
Finish: 39    
Laps: 101/113
Laps Led: 0
Status: Overheating