Late-Race Accident Ends Strong Run For Stremme at Dover DOVER, Del. (May, 31, 2009) -- Driver David Stremme was looking to capitalize on a strong run Sunday at Dover International Speedway before a late-race incident on the front stretch...
Late-Race Accident Ends Strong Run For Stremme at Dover
DOVER, Del. (May, 31, 2009) -- Driver David Stremme was looking to capitalize on a strong run Sunday at Dover International Speedway before a late-race incident on the front stretch collected the No. 12 Penske Dodge, relegating the team to a 31st-place result.
Stremme started deep in the field at the Austism Speaks 400, and battled an extremely loose-handling race car during the first 100 laps. With each early caution period, Stremme rolled down pit lane for service. The team worked to tighten up its Dodge, making both track bar and wedge adjustments. With each change, the car made forward progress. Stremme commented to his crew that the car was coming to life and it was showing on the scoring charts. By lap 115, Stremme had made his way all the way up into the 14th spot, running times as quick as the race leaders.
The caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 116 because of debris on the track. Stremme took advantage of the caution and brought his car to the pit lane. The No.12 Penske Dodge team went to work changing four tires and filling the car with racing fuel. The crew also made another chassis adjustment trying to help dial in their machine.
After returning to green flag racing on lap 123, and Stremme had his Dodge Charger in the 14th spot. He called into crew chief Roy McCauley to explain that the car was still running loose on the exit of the turns but it was really strong on entry and through the center of the corners.
Midway through the race, Stremme was running inside the top-12 and looking to continue his forward progress. When the caution flag was displayed to the field for the fifth time on lap 231, the No.12 prepared to see the Penske Dodge on pit lane. Stremme rolled into his pit stall two laps later for service. The team bolted on four fresh tires and filled the car with racing fuel. Again, a small chassis adjustment was made to the car, trying to improve its stability coming out of the corners. The team did a phenomenal job getting Stremme back out on the track, picking up two positions on pit lane.
The race was restarted on lap 235 and Stremme found himself in the 14th position. During the first 10 laps of the segment, the car was extremely loose, but then the condition improved and the car took off. Stremme passed cars on the high side of the track. He called his crew on lap 280 to relay that the car was starting to run tight at both ends of the track, but the tight-handling condition was not hurting his lap times. With less than 100 laps remaining in the event, Stremme had his Penske Dodge positioned in the top-12.
When the pace was again slowed on lap 363, McCauley wanted to roll the dice. The experienced crew chief knew the team had a strong machine, but needed to gain valuable track position. Stremme came down pit lane on lap 365 to take on right side only tires, knowing the move would put the No. 12 near the front.
Stremme restarted the race in the sixth spot with 32 laps remaining in the event. Coming out of turn 4 on the next lap, Stremme's car got loose and he was hit from behind by the No. 5 car. The contact sent him sliding down the track and the car made contact with the inside wall. The impact caused severe damage to the machine, ending the team's day at the "Monster Mile." Stremme finished the race in the 31st spot
"It was a tough day," commented Stremme. "We had a good car and [crew chief] Roy [McCauley] made it better every time we came to pit road. We gambled there at the end taking two tires and I just was too loose. We had a good car and I hate that we did not get the finish we deserved. Dover is a tough track. We needed long green flag runs with our Penske Dodge. It took about 10 laps to get going, but then it really came in."
The No. 12 Dodge team now sits 29th in the Cup Series driver point standings after 13 of 36 races.
Stremme and the No.12 Penske Racing team moves on to Pocono Raceway for next Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race.