Phoenix: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

David Stremme and the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Team Facts: * Best Yet: Stremme is coming off of a memorable race at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung 500 Sunday that concluded with a career best 10th-place finish for the 29-year-old racer....

David Stremme and the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Team Facts:

* Best Yet: Stremme is coming off of a memorable race at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung 500 Sunday that concluded with a career best 10th-place finish for the 29-year-old racer. His previous best was 11th (twice last season, and this year's Daytona 500).

* Drive for Dodge: Stremme's 10th place finish in Texas, along with Juan Pablo Montoya's eighth, marked the two highest finishing positions for Dodge and also helped the No. 40 crew maintain its status as the highest ranking Dodge team in the NEXTEL Cup Series.

* Ganassi Dodges: Through seven rounds of the 2007 NNCS season, CGRFS cars have been the highest finishing Dodge drivers in three of those races (Atlanta-Montoya, Bristol-Stremme, Texas-Montoya).

* Back in the Hunt: Stremme's 12th-place ranking also means he's currently eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. He and the No. 40 CGRFS Cup team stand 12th in the championship rundown with 779 points and are just 26 steps outside the top 10. Following race No. 26 at Richmond, the top 12 drivers are eligible to compete for the series title during the final 10 races.

* Blowin' Doors Off: Stremme has an astounding 604 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most out of all NNCS drivers in 2007.

* Play it again, Stremme: Stremme will climb back in the Wrigley's Winterfresh Dodge this weekend to make his second Busch Series start in the No. 41 CGRFS Dodge this season, which will also mark his third-career start for the CGRFS Busch program. Stremme's last run with the No. 41 Wrigley's team at Nashville Superspeedway earlier this month was highlighted with him scoring his second-career NASCAR pole and then an 11th-place finish.

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

* Fastest at Richmond Test: Sorenson and the Target team are hoping much of what they learned at the Car of Tomorrow test at Richmond International Raceway (Apr. 3 & 4) carries over into this weekend at PIR. Sorenson posted the fastest lap of 65 cars and 51 drivers at the two-day test session with a time of 21.913 sec/93.215 mph. That time was posted during the morning session of the second day. Sorenson was fast during the entire test, posting the third, ninth and fifth fastest times during the other three sessions. Sorenson is very optimistic heading into this weekend's event at PIR...

"We're looking forward to going to Phoenix with the same setup we tested at Richmond. We think we'll be OK at that track because they're pretty similar. We learned a lot from the car, which was actually the same car we raced at Martinsville. We're taking a different car to Phoenix, but it's basically the exact same car and we feel like we'll have a good solid baseline to start out with when we unload on Thursday."

* DirecTV "Hot Pass": Sorenson and crew are one of five teams selected to be featured this weekend at PIR on DirecTV's "Hot Pass." Subscribers can watch all of the action from the No. 41 car and pit area on DirecTV channel 797.

* Phoenix Performance Report: Sorenson has six starts at PIR in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (2) and Busch Series (4). His best Cup finish is 29th, which came in last season's Nov. 11 event. He has a runner-up finish in the Busch Series, which came in April of last year. He also has two other top-10s in the Busch Series.

* Points Standing Not Indicative of Performance: Sorenson and the Target team have been strong at each event this season, however, they don't necessarily have the finishes and points position to show for it. Sorenson has finished inside of the top 20 in each event he has completed except for one, with a best finish of ninth at Atlanta. Unfortunately he has not been running at the end of three events, two of which resulted in last place finishes. Sorenson was eliminated in each of those events for reasons out of his control, and if he had finished 20th in each, he would be firmly inside of the top 15 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings.

* Native Arizonan: Target transport driver Brian Darr hails just down the road from PIR in Tempe, Ariz.

* Points Update: The Target team fell four positions to 29th in the standings at the completion of the Texas race. The team stands just 69 points out of 25th and 94 outside of the top 20 heading to PIR.

* Chassis: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the Target team have selected chassis #736 for the race at PIR. This will be the first race for the car.

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

* Not His First Rodeo at PIR: Juan Pablo Montoya will make his first Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) run in NEXTEL Cup competition this weekend but his second in the Busch Series. Montoya competed at the Arizona track in 2006, finishing 20th in his third-career NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race last November. After starting from the 11th spot for the Arizona Travel 200, Montoya struggled with the handling of his No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger to earn his second top-20 finish.

* Hold'em Up, FOX!: Leading into this weekend's Saturday night race at PIR, Montoya and his No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team are taking on Jeff Hammond and his FOX television posse in a friendly game of paint ball. They will square off at a local paint ball park in the Phoenix, Ariz., area this week prior to going racing. Don't worry about missing out on the action, as highlights are scheduled to be featured on Saturday's pre-race show that will start at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

* Where They Stand: The No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team and Montoya put forth another impressive performance last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway that resulted in a nice bump up in the NEXTEL Cup championship standings. Together, they advanced three positions after their eighth-place finish in the Lone Star State and now stand 13th, just 38 points out of the top 10.

* Rookie Ratings: Montoya's 13th-place position in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings makes him the highest ranked rookie. Along with grabbing the Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors, he also took over the lead of the NEXTEL Cup Raybestos Rookie class this past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway with his top-10 finish. Montoya has claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors three times this season--at Texas, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

* Chassis: The Texaco/Havoline will be running chassis #735 this weekend in Arizona, which is the same chassis Montoya raced to a 16th-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The driver and crew also tested the car at Richmond earlier this month.

-credit: cgr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing