Homestead: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

David Stremme and the No. 40 Target Dodge Team Facts: * Happy Birthday, Steve: Before leaving North Carolina to head South to Florida for the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, crew chief Steve Lane will celebrate his ...

David Stremme and the No. 40 Target Dodge Team Facts:

* Happy Birthday, Steve: Before leaving North Carolina to head South to Florida for the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, crew chief Steve Lane will celebrate his birthday Thursday, November 15th. Don't worry Steve, the 30s are the new 20s these days... or at least that is what we have been told.

* Standings Update: Stremme and the No.40 car finished 20th at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend. After starting in the 37th position, Stremme was able to make his way into the top-20 along with teammates Reed Sorenson and Juan Pablo Montoya.

* Chassis: Crew chief Steve Lane and the No. 40 Dodge team have selected chassis #708 for this weekend's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This Sunday will mark the chassis' first and final race.

Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Dodge Team Facts:

* Helping a Teammate's Cause: Sorenson will be attending the BeLive Charity Gala, hosted by Connie and Juan Pablo Montoya, on Thurs., Nov. 15 at Karu & Y Restaurante in the Miami (Fla.) Arts District. The event proceeds will benefit Connie and Juan's foundation, Formula Smiles, and five other charities to help raise awareness for Montoya's home country of Colombia. The red carpet is set to begin at 7 p.m., with dinner, a fashion show by Colombian Fashion Designer Silvia Tcherassi and an exclusive concert by 12-time Grammy Winner Juanes.

* Fishing For Charity: Sorenson will join NASCAR celebrities on Saturday morning, fishing in the Sixth Annual NASCAR NEXTEL Drivers Miccosukee Resort Charity Fishing Tournament. The event benefits the non-profit Darrell Gwynn Foundation to Cure Paralysis and the Betty Jane France Pediatric Center, "Speediatrics" at Homestead Hospital.

* What the Driver Said: "We're hoping to go down to Homestead and end the season on a high note. The mile and a half tracks have been our strong suit this season, so I think we have a shot at running strong on Sunday. We've had a lot of good moments this season, but also a lot of really bad luck. We just want to go down there, put together a solid run and start building momentum for 2008. It will be here before you know it."

* Points Update: Sorenson and the Target team maintained 22nd position in the overall NEXTEL Cup Series driver standings after the completion of the last event at Phoenix.

* Chassis: Crew chief Elledge has selected chassis #206 for this weekend's race at Homestead. This will be the last NEXTEL Cup Series event with the "old style" body and this particular chassis has a lot of history with the Target team. The car only raced once this season in the second Michigan race, but it was the busiest in the team's fleet in 2006, running a total of seven races (California, Las Vegas, Charlotte 1, Pocono 1, Indy, Dover 2 and Charlotte) with a best finish of 10th coming in the May Charlotte race. The car suffered serious damage in the second Charlotte race last season, but has since been rebuilt. The Target team ran this car a total of 11 races in 2005 with driver Casey Mears. The team recorded six top-10 finishes and two top-five finishes, including a sixth-place effort at Indianapolis and two near victories in the final events of the season at Texas Motor Speedway (fourth) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (fifth).

Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Team Facts:

* Back where it started: It was one year ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway that Formula One star and Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut. Montoya, without a guaranteed starting spot, qualified his Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the 29th position last year. He drove the car up to as high as 13th before he was tapped from behind on lap 252, 16 laps before the checkered flag, and sent into the outside wall. He was not able to return to the track and was scored in the 34th position.

* For Colombia: Montoya and his wife Connie are hosting a charity gala in Miami, Fla., to increase awareness about his country of Colombia, as well as raise funds in conjunction with five other Colombian charitable foundations. The stage is set for a red carpet affair that will involve more than 500 sport, business and entertainment celebrity guests. The event will be held Thursday, November 15 at the Karu & Y restaurant in Miami's Art and Entertainment district. The red carpet is set to begin at 7 p.m., with dinner, a fashion show by Colombian Fashion Designer Silvia Tcherassi and an exclusive concert by 12-time Grammy Winner Juanes. Montoya and Connie's foundation Formula Smiles, is one of six charities that will benefit from the Gala. Several NASCAR sponsors, executives and drivers have either contributed to the event or will be attending the Gala Thursday evening including Montoya's three teammates and two co-owners.

* Standings: Montoya remains 21st in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings following his 17th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway. He and the Texaco/Havoline team look to move into the top 20 this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Montoya sits just 17 points out of 20th behind JJ Yeley, and 61 points behind 17th-place driver Jamie McMurray.

* Rookie Race: Montoya was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the November 11 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. Montoya scored a 17th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 16th time this season. He has been the top rookie in three of the last four races. He currently leads David Ragan by 21 points (236-215) in the Raybestos® Rookie standings entering the November 18 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Ragan can not catch Montoya in points at Homestead, but it comes down to a panel vote to determine the 2007 Rookie of the Year. Montoya is poised to become the fourth driver for Texaco/Havoline to earn the Raybestos Rookie honor (Davey Allison, Kenny Irwin and Jamie McMurray).

* Chassis: Crew Chief Donnie Wingo and the No. 42 team are bringing chassis #707 to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season finale. The is one of the most successful chassis in the team's stable, in fact this chassis finished second at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year. This will be the seventh and final race for chassis #707.

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing