Stremme Guides No.12 Car to 18th Place Finish in Phoenix AVONDALE, Ariz. (April, 18, 2009) -- Driver of the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger, David Stremme, captured another top-20 finish Saturday night by bringing his machine home in the 18th spot...
Stremme Guides No.12 Car to 18th Place Finish in Phoenix
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April, 18, 2009) -- Driver of the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger, David Stremme, captured another top-20 finish Saturday night by bringing his machine home in the 18th spot at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.
After starting 19th in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Stremme fought an extremely tight race car in the first segment of the 312-lap event. He called into his team on lap 33, explaining the car was pushing up the track in the middle of the corners. The tight condition was hindering him from getting back on the gas early through the turns. Crew chief Roy McCauley explained to his driver they would make some changes during the first round of pit stops to help the car's handling.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 54, the No.12 Penske Dodge Charger team prepared for the car's arrival on the pit lane. The No.12 machine rolled down pit road on lap 55. The team went to work changing four tires and filling the car with fuel. The crew also made air pressure and chassis adjustments to the car, hoping to free it up in the corners. The team did a great job with the service, picking up valuable track position on pit lane.
Green flag racing resumed on lap 59 and the 31-year-old Stremme was in the 22nd spot. He radioed back to the team several laps later explaining the car was still handling tight, but the changes they made did help. Stremme fought to keep his machine in the top-20 for the next 40 laps, maneuvering his car on both the high and low sides of the track searching for a fast line.
On lap 137, Stremme's car broke free coming out of turn 2, causing him to spin on the backstretch. He did a great job keeping his Penske Dodge off the inside retaining wall and was able to continue without any significant damage.
With less than 100 laps remaining in the event, Stremme had his car positioned in the top-20. The car was still tight-handling, but Stremme was holding his own against the competition. Running on old tires, Stremme was running competitive lap times and was gaining ground.
The team made the final and most crucial pit stop of the night with only nine laps remaining in the 312-lap event. The No. 12 crew changed four tires and filled the car with enough racing fuel to get the machine to the end of the event. The team's stop was lightning fast, picking up four spots putting Stremme back out on the track in the 18th spot.
Stremme held his position for the final six-lap shootout and crossed the finish line in the 18th spot. With his solid top-20 performance, Stremme picked up two positions in the season long championship points battle. He now sits 20th in the Cup Series driver standings. Stremme's two Penske Racing teammates, Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr., also had strong showings finishing third and ninth, respectively.
"We fought a really tight race car all day," commented Stremme. "[Crew chief] Roy McCauley did a great job making changes; we just missed it a bit tonight. I am really proud of our pit crew. They did an awesome job all night long. Every time we came onto pit road we picked up spots. I just can't say enough about the job they did. Both my teammates, Sam and Kurt, had good nights so we will look at their notes. I am really looking forward to next weekend in Talladega."
The No.12 Penske Dodge Charger team will move on to the largest track on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule when they roll into Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.