Fontana II: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

David Stremme and the No. 40 Target Dodge Team Facts: * Bristol Bounces Them Back: Stremme's 14th place run Saturday night in the No.40 Coors Light Dodge Avenger was not only tops for the CGRFS trio of cars, but was his fourth best finish of...

David Stremme and the No. 40 Target Dodge Team Facts:

* Bristol Bounces Them Back: Stremme's 14th place run Saturday night in the No.40 Coors Light Dodge Avenger was not only tops for the CGRFS trio of cars, but was his fourth best finish of 2007. It also vaulted the team from 24th to 22nd in the points. Stremme had recently fallen to a season low 26th but is now running as high in the points as he had in May-June.

* Teammate Stremme on Target: As Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) continues to celebrate its long heritage with Target Racing, which has been with the team for 18 years making it one of the longest racing relationships in history, David Stremme and the No. 40 team will again be sporting the white and red Target paint scheme in this weekend's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.

* Good the First Go Around: One week after an 11th-place finish at Daytona produced his first-ever spot in the top-10 in points, Stremme survived going a lap down early at California Speedway, ran an incident-free race in the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge to finish 19th--and more importantly--retained his foothold in the championship hunt. After rolling off the starting grid 24th, Stremme kept his nose clean for the entire 250-lap event, never putting a wheel wrong and running comparative times to that of the top-10 cars. The major setback in the race came on an early stop when the team pitted and got caught out when the yellow flag flew, putting them a lap down to the leaders. Stremme went on to finish a lap down, but defended his place in the top-10 in points for the first time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career.

* New Chassis, High Hopes: Crew Chief Steve Lane has selected chassis #710 for the Sharp Aquos 500 this weekend. Chassis #710 has never seen official race action as it retained "backup car" status in six previous events in 2007. The team ran this car at the two-day Charlotte Test in early May when Stremme was second on the time sheets the first day and first overall on the second day of testing.

Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Dodge Team Facts:

* Memorex on Quarter Panel in Cali: Team Target tier one sponsor Memorex will adorn the upper-rear quarter panels of the Target Dodge this weekend in California in place of the normal Target Bullseyes. Memorex is the leading brand of optical media at U.S. retail and a portfolio brand of Imation Corp., which is headquartered in Cerritos, Calif., not too far from California Speedway. Additionally, Memorex will be the primary sponsor on both the CGRFS Busch Series entries (No. 41 & No. 42) this weekend at California and will continue to be the primary on the No. 41 Busch car driven by Reed Sorenson and CGRFS development driver Bryan Clauson for the remainder of the 2007 season.

* Running on Empty: Sorenson and the Target team came up just two laps shy of capturing their first victory in last season's Labor Day weekend race at California Speedway on Aug. 3. A pit strategy gamble afforded Sorenson a commanding lead with 10 laps remaining but the fuel cell ran dry coming to the white flag, relegating the team to a 21st-place finish.

* Teammate Stremme on Target: As Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) continues to celebrate its long heritage with Target Racing, which has been with the team for 18 years making it one of the longest racing relationships in history, David Stremme and the No. 40 team will again be sporting the white and red Target paint scheme in this weekend's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.

* In the World of Open Wheel: Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon wrangled away the championship points lead from Dario Franchitti this past weekend at Infineon Raceway, winning Sunday's Motorola Indy 300 race. The victory at Infineon marked the Target team's 16th IndyCar series win, Dixon's 10th IndyCar win, and his fourth of the year which is his career best total in a season to date. It also completes Dixon's domination of road courses this season after earlier wins at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio. With just two IndyCar races remaining in the 2007 season, Dixon regained the IndyCar championship lead by four points (560 points) over Franchitti (556 points) who finished third in Sunday's race. Dixon's teammate Dan Wheldon finished seventh, and remains fourth in the standings with a total of 414 points.

* Larry Mac Golf Tourney: Sorenson participated in Larry McReynolds Seventh Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament on Tuesday, with proceeds benefiting Motor Racing Outreach and Special Olympics North Carolina. Ask how he shot and the driver of the Target Dodge had this to say... "My game is much better than it used to be. I practiced with some friends last week to get ready for the tournament and it definitely paid off. My team shot pretty well and it was a lot of fun. Most importantly it was for a good cause and I like to help out with these types of events whenever I can. I have my inaugural charity tournament coming up on October 24th during Atlanta race week and I'm really looking forward to it. Today was a lot of fun."

* CGRFS Wide Open in Hollywood: Sorenson, along with CGRFS teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and David Stremme attended the Running Wide Open in Hollywood with NASCAR party on Wednesday night benefiting the NASCAR Foundation. The red carpet event was put on by Hollywood event promoter Brent Bolthouse of Bolthouse Productions and included many VIPs and Hollywood A-Listers.

* Golden State Natives: Two members of the Target team hail from California. Crew chief Jimmy Elledge (Redding, Calif.) and shock specialist Roger Parkinson (San Diego). Prior to joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) in 2003, Elledge served as crew chief for Andy Petree Racing from 1999-2002. He made his first trip to Victory Lane with driver Bobby Hamilton at Talladega Superspeedway on Apr. 22, 2001. Parkinson has been building shocks since 1976 and began working in NASCAR full-time in 1993. Prior to joining CGRFS in 2003, his NASCAR experience includes working for Bill Elliott Racing, Ohlins Racing Shocks and Andy Petree Racing.

* Chassis: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the Target team have selected chassis #705 for the California race. This car has previously been raced at Chicagoland (12th), Pocono (24th), Texas (40th) and Atlanta (ninth). Sorenson had one of the strongest cars in the field at Texas, led laps and was running seventh when he experienced engine problems.

* Points Update: The Target team maintained 26th position in the overall NEXTEL Cup Series standings after its 15th-place finish in the last event at Bristol. The team is just 55 points out of 22nd and 176 out of the top 20.

Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Wrigley's Big Red Dodge Team Facts:

* Seeing Red: Juan Pablo Montoya's No. 42 Dodge Charger will carry the colors of Wrigley's Big Red for the final time this season at California Speedway. The 500-mile race in Fontana is the third time Montoya's Cup car has carried the Big Red logo, he previously ran this paint scheme at Chicagoland and Watkins Glen.

* Standings: Montoya and the No. 42 team moved up to 18th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings following their 17th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway passing Jamie McMurray.

* Back to the Golden State: This is Montoya's second trip back to California in a stock car. He started ninth in his first NEXTEL Cup race and finished 26th after falling a lap down due to an untimely caution. Montoya has also competed in two CART events at the track, including his championship clinching fourth-place finish in 1999 with Chip Ganassi Racing. Montoya also raced in the 2000 series finale where he started fifth, but settled for a 10-place finish after a mechanical failure ended his day early.

* Sweet Ride: Wrigley's Racing is preparing to award four lucky winners a Dodge SRT8 each via the Wrigley's Sweetest Ride Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes was launched May 1 and will run through October 1. In addition to the four grand prize winners, eligible participants can instantly win one of 2,500 collectible prizes. To learn more about the Wrigley's Sweetest Ride Sweepstakes go to www.wrigleysracing.com.

* Rookie Race: Montoya increased his lead in the Raybestos® Rookie standings over David Ragan after finishing 17th last weekend. He currently has a 25-point advantage (216-191) over the driver of the No. 6 car. Last weekend Montoya earned rookie of the race honors for the 11th time this season.

* Back in Primetime: Wednesday evening is the third of five episodes of NASCAR in Primetime on ABC featuring Montoya and his wife Connie Montoya. This episode takes a look at the action at Talladega Superspeedway, the longest oval on the NASCAR circuit. The program looks into the lives of several drivers including Montoya, veteran Jeff Burton and Johnny Sauter.

* Chassis: Crew Chief Donnie Wingo and the No. 42 team are bringing chassis #707 to California Speedway this weekend, the same chassis they finished second with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This will be the fifth race for chassis #707 this season. Montoya drove this car in the 600-mile race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May where he started from the 20th position and finished 28th after being involved in a multi-car incident, at Michigan International Speedway in June where he finished 43rd, at Indianapolis and most recently at Pocono Raceway where he finished 16th.

* Tab's Blog: "The night race at Bristol is by far my favorite race of the year. The sheer excitement is unbelievable when the hot sun of the day descends behind the grandstands and the lights come on, a whole different world comes to life. The racing can be super intense at times and the new surface would make for side-by-side racing. With a really good practice session and a great second-place qualifying effort I was looking forward to the race Saturday night." Read all of spotter Tab Boyd's exclusive blog, and comments from fans around the globe at http://www.texacohavoline42.com/news/blog/.

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing