Five turns, one rookie driver and great teamwork add up to sixth place finish. NAZARETH, PA (May 19, 2003) -- Team Yellow Driver David Stremme saw the unique five-turn, D-shaped Nazareth Speedway for the first time on Saturday morning when the...
Five turns, one rookie driver and great teamwork add up to sixth place finish.
NAZARETH, PA (May 19, 2003) -- Team Yellow Driver David Stremme saw the unique five-turn, D-shaped Nazareth Speedway for the first time on Saturday morning when the crew drove through the tunnel into the infield. In just his first start at the track, Stremme was able to finish the #1 Dodge in sixth position. Team Yellow was able to not only hold onto second place in owner points, but they gained over 20 points on leader Richard Childress.
When the team first arrived, Stremme talked with some of the other drivers about the track. But most of his help came in the form of a phone call from teammate Jamie McMurray as they discussed the odd shape of the track and how to best get around it. Team owner James Finch also had friend and former driver Joe Ruttman on hand all weekend to pass on some of his expertise to Team Yellow.
"It was great having people to help me get comfortable with the track early on. The first practice session went well, and I was able to get a pretty good feel for the track. Qualifying went well for us, a top-ten effort gives you confidence. I definitely think starting in ninth is an advantage here because it's hard to move through the field at this track. In Happy Hour I hit the wall early on, so the team had to pull together and work on fixing it. But we got it (the rear quarter panel and deck lid) back in great shape for the race," Stremme said.
The team's work in repairing the cosmetic damage was instrumental to the successful run and finish for the team at Nazareth. "It's really great to watch how everyone knows exactly what they have to do. When everyone jumps in and does what they are supposed to, it makes everything so easy," Car Chief Jon Wolfe said of the repair work.
When the race got underway, Stremme told the crew that the car was tight and Car Chief Jon Wolfe assured him they would take care of it on the first pit stop. They got the opportunity on lap 59 during the first caution of the day. The Team Yellow crew made an air pressure adjustment which made the car much easier for Stremme to handle on the track. After the first pit stop the team was in 18th position, but after the stop they quickly worked their way through the field.
They made their second and final pit stop during a caution on lap 102. This was a pit stop strategy move on the team's part as most of the leaders did not pit during this caution. When another caution followed 12 laps later and the leaders all pitted, Stremme took over the lead of the race. Their strategy worked perfectly, as Stremme was able to hold off the field and the rookie led for 32 laps before eventual race winner Ron Hornaday was able to pass him.
"It just goes to show you how strong this team is," Stremme said. "Here I am at a track I've never seen before yesterday, and in only my fourth Busch start, and I led the race. I don't think there are many teams out there that could do what we have done."
Jamie McMurray will return to the drivers seat for the CarQuest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The race will be aired live on FX and broadcast live on MRN beginning at 1:00 ET on Saturday, May 24, 2003. Qualifying for the event will take place Friday, May 23 at 1:30 pm ET and will be aired on Speedchannel.