Stremme Finishes 26th on Saturday Night in Richmond

September 13, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. (September 12, 2009) – Penske Racing driver David Stremme battled an extremely tight-handling race car throughout Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway and posted a 26th-place finish in the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger.

The 400-lap NASCAR Cup Series race began under cloudy skies, but the No.12 team was optimistic about its chances for another strong finish. Coming off a solid result last week at Atlanta, Stremme was eager to try and build on the momentum at the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway.

After taking the green flag from his 12th-place starting position, the 32-year-old Stremme called into his team on lap 38 to advise that the Penske Dodge was suffering from a tight-handling condition. The ill-handling race car was causing Stremme to fall back in the running order. 

By lap 100, Stremme had the No. 12 machine running in the 25th position and was fighting to remain on the lead lap.  When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 106, the Penske Dodge Charger pit crew prepared to go to work. Stremme brought the car down pit lane on lap 107 for service. The team changed all four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The crew also made significant chassis and air pressure adjustments hoping to improve the performance of the No.12 car through the corners.

The race was restarted on lap 111 and Stremme radioed to crew chief Roy McCauley to explain that the car’s handling was better, but still tight in the turns. Stremme battled through the next segment to keep his machine in the top-30. Searching both the low and middle grooves on the banked Virginia short track, Stremme tried to find a line that was both comfortable and fast. 

By the halfway point of the race, Stremme was positioned in the 28th spot and was running one lap down to the leaders. The caution flag flew four laps later and Stremme was in place to receive the “lucky dog” free pass that allowed him to return to lead-lap racing. The No.12 Penske Dodge team also took advantage of the caution period to make another pit stop. The team again bolted on four fresh Goodyear Eagles and filled the car with fuel. 

Stremme took the green flag race restart in the 28th spot. He called into McCauley on lap 250 to report that the car was better exiting the turns, but was still extremely tight in the center of the corners.

With less than 100 laps remaining, the Penske Dodge was running in the 24th position. The No. 12 had enough fuel to go the distance and the team was determined to get a solid finish. Stremme again tried a number of different lines on the track hoping to find a groove that would help the car rotate smoothly through the corners. He fought for the remainder of the race to stay on the lead lap and took the checkered flag in the 26th spot. Stremme remained 31st in the Cup Series driver standings with the result.

“Our car was just too tight all night,” commented Stremme after climbing from the Penske Dodge. “We just could not get the car to turn in the center of the corners. I know [crew chief] Roy [McCauley] made a lot of changes to the car but nothing we did seemed to help. Nights like tonight are just really frustrating. I am looking forward to New Hampshire next week and getting our Penske Dodge back up front.”

The No.12 team now heads north to Loudon, New Hampshire and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Sylvania 300 will be seen live on Sunday, September 20 on ABC-TV. Race coverage will begin at 1 p.m. ET. The event will also be heard live on PRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.


David Stremme Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Statistics
Start: 12
Finish: 26  
Laps: 400/400
Laps Led: 0
Status: Running