Stremme Finishes 35th at Daytona International Speedway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Driver David Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger crew were very optimistic about their chances for a strong run on Saturday night in the Coke Zero 400 at the...
Stremme Finishes 35th at Daytona International Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Driver David Stremme and the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger crew were very optimistic about their chances for a strong run on Saturday night in the Coke Zero 400 at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. 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.
Stremme took the green flag in the 32nd spot as rain once again washed out NASCAR Cup Series qualifying and the field was set by points, but he was immediately on a mission to the front. By lap 5, the 32-year-old driver made it up to 21st in the running order. He told his team the car was handling a bit free going into the corners, but he felt like the No. 12 would be better as the run wore on.
When the caution flag came out after lap 12, the Penske Dodge headed down pit lane. Stremme brought his machine into the pit stall on lap 14 for four tires and fuel. The crew checked the tire wear on its rubber, not knowing how the tires would fall off due to the lack of practice time leading into the race.
The team continued to move forward during the next green flag segment. Stremme radioed the Penske Dodge crew to explain that the car was still running a bit loose in the corner of the turns, but it was getting better. The No.12 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 flag was again displayed to the field on lap 27, the Penske Dodge was running in 20th position and the team once again prepared for a pit stop. The crew went to work as they changed four tires and filled the Dodge Charger with fuel on lap 29. The outstanding pit work helped Stremme pick up five valuable positions on the track.
Stremme battled into the top-10 by lap 50 and was using the high line to get move past the competition. He radioed crew chief Roy McCauley to inform him that the car was really running well and he was taking his time maneuvering to the front. He explained that the car was still a bit loose, but he was still able to pass cars on the top and bottom of the high-banked speedway.
On lap 76, Stremme received a bump from a competitor on the backstretch that sent the No.12 Penske Dodge into the infield grass. Stremme made contact with another machine, causing significant damage to the right front suspension. The team worked feverishly in the garage area to fix the problem, but lost valuable laps to the leaders. The team did a tremendous job repairing the car and getting Stremme back out onto the racing surface and the Penske Dodge completed the race, as it crossed the finish line in the 35th spot. Stremme is positioned 32nd in the Cup Series driver point standings.
"It was a tough day for us," commented Stremme. "We had an awesome car. I was trying to take my time and save our stuff. We got hit on the backstretch. I bounced of the 26 [car] and did everything I could to try and keep it going straight. I just hate it. We had a great car. [Crew chief] Roy [McCauley] did a great job preparing this car. I am looking forward to Talladega in the fall."
Stremme and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team return to racing action next Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Live coverage of the Lifelock.com 400 will begin at 7:30 pm ET on July 11 on the TNT television network. The race will also be heard on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.