David Stremme Finishes 33rd in the 51st Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Driver David Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger crew were very optimistic about their chances for a repeat performance of last year's team victory at "The Great...
David Stremme Finishes 33rd in the 51st Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Driver David Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger crew were very optimistic about their chances for a repeat performance of last year's team victory at "The Great American Race" on Sunday. Stremme knew he had a car capable of competing for the win, but he also knew he would have to stay out of harm's way in order to have that opportunity. For the most part, Stremme was able to avoid trouble during NASCAR's 2009 season opener, but a tire problem and rain ultimately left the team with a 33rd-place result in the Daytona 500.
Stremme took the green flag in the 24th spot, but was on a mission to the front. By lap 5, the 31-year old made it all the way up to 12th in the running order. He told his team the car was a bit tight going into the corners, but felt like the handling would be better as the sun started to set at Daytona International Speedway.
When the caution flag came out after lap 25, the No.12 headed down the pit lane. Stremme brought his machine into the pit stall on lap 27 for four tires and fuel. Crew chief Roy McCauley also made a chassis adjustment to the car, hoping to help its handling for the next run.
The team continued its path towards the front during the next green flag segment. Stremme radioed to his team explaining the car was still a bit too snug in the corner of the turns, but was getting better. The No.12 Penske Dodge could really run well on the top of the two-and-half mile superspeedway, and Stremme was picking off his competitors one at a time.
When the caution was again displayed to the field on lap 80, the No.12 Penske Dodge was running in 17th position and the team once again prepared for a pit stop. Going to work changing four tires and filling the Dodge Charger with fuel on lap 82, the crew also made another chassis adjustment. The outstanding pit work helped Stremme get back out onto the track to pick up valuable positions.
Stremme battled into the top-10 by the scheduled halfway point of the race and was putting himself into position to contend for the win when a right rear tire let go on the No. 12 machine at lap 118. The failure caused extensive damage to the right rear of the race car. The team made a series of pit stops to repair the damage, dropping only one lap down to the leaders in the process.
Stremme was in the position to get his lap back when rain moved into the area delaying the race and eventually causing NASCAR to call the event as official after 152 laps were complete. The No.12 Penske Dodge Charger team was relegated a 33rd-place finish.
"It was a tough day for us," commented Stremme. "We spent the first 100 laps learning all we could and were putting ourselves in a position to battle for the win, until our tire let go. Roy and all the guys did a great job getting this car repaired, and I thought we were going to be OK until the rain came. I am looking forward to spending a couple days at home before heading to California."
Stremme and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team return to racing action next Sunday at the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.