All-Star: Chip Ganassi Racing rookie drivers preview

Chip Ganassi Racing w/ Felix Sabates Rookie Advance NEXTEL Open -- Lowe's Motor Speedway Advance -- 5/20/06 David Stremme, No. 40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target Dodge No. 40 & No. 41 Team Fast ...

Chip Ganassi Racing w/ Felix Sabates Rookie Advance

NEXTEL Open -- Lowe's Motor Speedway Advance -- 5/20/06

David Stremme, No. 40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge
Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target Dodge

No. 40 & No. 41 Team Fast Facts:

Chassis: Crew Chief Steve Lane and the No. 40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon crew are taking chassis #308 for the NEXTEL Open and hopefully the All-Star Challenge this weekend. This is the first time the team will run this chassis this season.

Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge and the Target Team have selected chassis #206 for this weekend's NEXTEL Open. This is the same car the team used at California Speedway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier in the season.

In Memory: This weekend David Stremme will be participating in a charity poker tournament at the TrackCouture Launch Party in downtown Charlotte. Stremme will be playing in memory of team member Bill Ellis who passed away last month. A trust is currently being set up for his wife and three children.

Feels Like the First Time: Sorenson and Stremme will be making their first appearance in the NEXTEL Open this weekend. The event will mark Sorenson's first competition in a NEXTEL Cup car at the 1.5-mile speedway, however, Stremme competed in last season's October event--finishing 36th. Both have multiple starts at the track in Busch Series competition with Sorenson capturing a career high fifth-place finish (May '05) and Stremme an eighth-place finish (May '04 & '05).

Testing at Charlotte: The No. 40 & 41 team both tested at Charlotte two weeks ago in preparation for the race weekends ahead at Lowe's Motor Speedway, focusing much attention on the circuit's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600. After two days of testing Stremme was atop of the speed chart with a speed of 186.929 mph. Sorenson turned in the 21st fastest lap at 181.781 mph.

Paint Scheme Change: The Target team is running the reverse colors of its primary paint scheme for the third consecutive race. What is red is white and visa versa. The scheme will also run in next weekend's race at Lowe's in addition to the October event at the track, and it will run in July at Daytona.

Rookie Ranks: Sorenson currently sits fifth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Years standings with 93 points trailing leader Denny Hamlin by 26 points. Stremme falls in line sixth in the standings with a total of 77 points and 42 points out of the lead.

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points standings: Sorenson and the Target team jumped up two positions to 24th in the overall standings after their 11th-place effort at Darlington. They are 46 points out of 20th and 128 out of the top 15. Stremme gained one spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship points standings, he is now 36th. He is 335 points out of the top 20 and 531 points out of the 10th spot.

Meet Reed in Concord This Week: On Thursday, May 18, Reed Sorenson will stop by the Discount Tire Store located at 575 Dickens Place NE in Concord, N.C. to meet fans and sign autographs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET. For more information, call (704) 786-2001.

Meet Pruett, too, Next Week: Scott Pruett, co-driver of the #01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus-Riley, will be at the CGRFS Concord, N.C. shop Thursday, May 25, to meet area fans and sign autographs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Copies of his three children's books, "Twelve Little Race Cars," "Twelve More Little Race Cars" and "Rookie Racer," will also be available for purchase and signing, so bring the kids to meet the 2004 Rolex Series Champion.

Stremme on the NEXTEL Open...

"This year will be the first time I compete in the NEXTEL Open so I am looking forward to going out there and having some fun. I know it is a non-points race but that doesn't mean we aren't going to run as hard as we would on any other weekend. The No. 40 team came and tested here two weeks ago and we had a really decent test. We made a lot of runs and by the end of testing we were sitting on top of the speed charts. That definitely helps my confidence going into these next few weeks. The entire team has been working hard to get where we need to be and I think that we are doing a good job getting the cars dialed in and improving every week."

Sorenson on the NEXTEL Open...

"It's an all or nothing race, pretty much like the whole evening. Only the winner of the NEXTEL Open advances to the All-Star event, and everyone out there wants to be in that race. I believe there is a fan vote that gets one extra driver in, but we're going out there to win this thing. We've got a strong race car and I believe we have a legitimate shot at it. It's a short race so it's pretty important to get a good starting position. We'll give it all we have and hopefully we'll come out on top."

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Scott Pruett , Chip Ganassi , David Stremme , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing