Stremme Finishes 34th at Pocono Raceway in Penske Dodge LONG POND, PA. (June, 7, 2009) -- Penske Racing driver David Stremme had a solid run going Sunday in the No.12 Penske Dodge at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway before an incident coming out of...
Stremme Finishes 34th at Pocono Raceway in Penske Dodge
LONG POND, PA. (June, 7, 2009) -- Penske Racing driver David Stremme had a solid run going Sunday in the No.12 Penske Dodge at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway before an incident coming out of turn 2 took him out of contention for a strong finish.
Stremme started 29th in the Pocono 500 after rain washed out qualifying on Friday. During the early segments of the 200-lap race, Stremme battled a tight-handling race car. The car's condition was hindering Stremme from getting his machine to the bottom of the race track and rotate through the corners. Crew chief Roy McCauley considered the changes he and the No.12 Penske Racing team would make during the first round of pit stops.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 12, the Penske Dodge crew prepared to see its machine on pit lane. The 31-year-old driver brought the No. 12 into the pit box on lap 14 for service. The team changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The crew also made trackbar and air pressure adjustments, hoping to free the car's handling through the corners.
The race returned to green flag conditions on lap 17 and Stremme found himself in the 35th position. He called into his team three laps later to report that the changes made to the car were really making the Penske Dodge come to life. He said his machine was still a bit tight in turns 1 and 2, but the adjustments made a big difference. Stremme started to navigate his way through the 43-lap field. By lap 50, he had made it into the top-25 and was posting lap times consistent with the top-10.
The team made a crucial green flag pit stop on lap 76. The No. 12 crew again bolted on four fresh Goodyear tires and filled the car with racing fuel. They also made a small chassis adjustment to the rear of the Penske Dodge trying to find a bit more speed. The sub 14-second stop helped Stremme gain valuable track position.
By the halfway point of the race, Stremme had maneuvered his way into the top-20 and was tracking down the leaders. He radioed to McCauley to say the car was really strong and he was just trying to be patient while making his way to the front.
On lap 112, Stremme's car was clipped in the right rear by one of his competitors, sending the Penske Dodge into the outside retaining wall. Stremme made hard contact with the right side of his machine and he brought it to pit road so the team could survey the damage. The No. 12 crew went to work making the necessary repairs, but in doing so, Stremme went a lap down to the leaders. The team did a tremendous job fixing the battered car and getting Stremme back out on to the racing surface.
Stremme raced hard for the remaining 80 laps, but he wasn't able to make up enough ground to have a chance to race for the win.
"It was a tough day for our Penske Dodge today," commented Stremme after the race. "We worked our way up inside the top-20, but then got together with Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and that sent me up into the wall. We lost a bunch of laps repairing the car and just had to run around the rest of the day."
Stremme now sits 30th in the Cup Series driver point standings after 14 of 36 races. The No.12 Penske Dodge team will head to Michigan International Speedway for next Sunday's 400-mile event in the Irish Hills of Michigan.