Stremme Finishes 23rd At Atlanta Motor Speedway HAMPTON, Ga. -- The bad luck bug stung the No.12 Penske Dodge on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the team battled back to bring home another top-25 result, taking the checkered flag at the...
Stremme Finishes 23rd At Atlanta Motor Speedway
HAMPTON, Ga. -- The bad luck bug stung the No.12 Penske Dodge on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the team battled back to bring home another top-25 result, taking the checkered flag at the Kobalt 500 in the 23rd position.
Driver David Stremme was looking forward to Sunday's 500-mile event in Atlanta knowing he had a Dodge Charger strong enough to run in the top-10. On lap two, he called into crew chief Roy McCauley, explaining the car was running really loose at both ends of the one-and-a-half mile speedway. McCauley told his driver to take care of the car until the first round of pit stops and the team would make some significant changes.
Stremme rolled down the pit lane on lap 13 for service under the caution flag. The crew changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The team also made a significant chassis adjustment to the left rear of the car in hopes to settle the No. 12 down in the high-banked corners.
Stremme restarted the event in the 25th spot but was on a mission back to the front. He radioed into his crew again on lap 35, describing how his Dodge Charger was still extremely loose, even running at the top of the track. The ill-handling car was hindering the team's forward progress, but Stremme was still determined to keep fighting.
The team made its first green flag pit stop of the day on lap 57. The Penske Dodge crew did a phenomenal job getting Stremme back on the track after changing four tires and filling the car with fuel. Unfortunately, for the second straight week, the No.12 car was caught two laps down to the leaders because the caution flag was displayed to the field before all teams made their pit stops.
Not willing to give an inch and battling through the next segment of the race, the team was able to stay in position to get back on the tail end of the lead lap. Stremme was still fighting a very loose car but it was not hindering him from keeping his No.12 Penske Dodge in the top-25. Stremme and the team made gains on the car with each pit stop and through the final three segments Stremme was running lap times as good as the leaders.
Stremme drove hard for the remainder of the event and brought the No. 12 Dodge home in the 23rd spot. His teammate, Kurt Busch, dominated the race and took the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge to Victory Lane for the first time in the 2009 campaign. The win marked Penske Racing's 60th victory in NASCAR's highest level of competition.
"Today was tough," commented Stremme after the grueling battle, which left him 26th in the point standings. "For the second straight week we had a car capable of running in the top-15, but the caution came out which put us behind. We know we are bringing cars to the track that are capable of running up front. We just need a little bit of racing luck to get us there."
Stremme and the No. 12 team will enjoy a weekend off next week before heading to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 on Sunday, March 22, 2009.