BUSCH: Nashville: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

David Stremme and the No. 41 Wrigley's Winterfresh Dodge Team Facts: * No time like the first time: Nashville Superspeedway will always hold a special place in David Stremme's racing career, as it is where he made his NASCAR Busch Series...

David Stremme and the No. 41 Wrigley's Winterfresh Dodge Team Facts:

* No time like the first time: Nashville Superspeedway will always hold a special place in David Stremme's racing career, as it is where he made his NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) debut during the April race in 2003. It was an impressive first run for the then 25-year-old rookie, as he qualified 15th and finished seventh. He competed in a total of 18 NBS events that season, and was the top finishing rookie 15 times. Stremme's outstanding efforts did not go unrecognized as he was named the 2003 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, which made him the first driver ever to win the title without competing full-time.

* Only his second for CGRFS: Although Stremme has racked up 91 NBS career starts, this weekend's run in the No. 41 Wrigley's Winterfresh Dodge will be only his second Busch Series start for CGRFS. He signed to become part of the CGRFS driver development program in 2002, but has raced for multiple team owners including James Finch, Todd Braun and Terry Bradshaw throughout his Busch career. His first start for the CGRFS Busch Series program came last June at the Milwaukee (Wis.) Mile, where he and the No. 41 team spent the entire first half of the race inside the top five, but an unexpected long green-flag run sidetracked the team's pit stop strategy and dealt them a 26th-place finish instead.

* Looking Good, Stremme: Stremme has made three NBS starts so far this season, sharing driving duties of the No. 22 Fitz Racing Dodge. He has put up some impressive stats in those three races, finishing 12th or better. He also has lined up inside the top 10 to take the green flag all three times, including an outside pole position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month. Stremme went on to score a fifth-place finish at Vegas, which marks his best finish so far this season in Busch Series competition.

* In the Other Garage: After finishing 35th this past weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Stremme is 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver standings, just 42 points outside the top 10. The NEXTEL Cup teams have this upcoming weekend off. Their next race is at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, April 15.

* Winterfresh on board in Tennessee: This weekend, the No. 41 Dodge will debut its cool blue Wrigley's Winterfresh paint scheme with David Stremme behind the wheel. Wrigley's Winterfresh was introduced in 1994 as the first "winter cool, unique mint" gum. The Winterfresh flavor was improved last year to provide more cool breath power.

* NBS Points Update: After scoring a 16th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway last month, the No. 41 CGRFS Busch team took another step up in the NBS owner standings. The team now stands 31st with a current tally of 498, which is just 63 points outside of the top 20 and 92 outside the top 15.

* Chassis: Brian Pattie and his Wrigley's Winterfresh crew are pulling out a new chassis--#752--to race this Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway.

* When to Watch: The Pepsi 300 is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 7.

Kevin Hamlin and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Team Facts:

* Hamlin's Nashville Debut: This weekend's Pepsi 300 will be a debut for CGRFS Development Driver Kevin Hamlin in more ways than one. It will be his first race in the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, as well as his first official start for CGRFS. This will also be his first NASCAR Busch Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. Altogether, he has tallied 15 Busch Series starts during his young stock car career with a best finish of 14th at the Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park in October 2005 (started 17th). The weekend's run will be the first of eight for Hamlin in the Texaco/Havoline Dodge this season, which he is sharing with former Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Hamlin--a Snohomish, Wash., native--has been a part of the CGRFS driver development program since 2005.

* Throwback Paint Scheme: The No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge will carry some very special colors this weekend in Tennessee, ones that are very reminiscent of the late Davey Allison's No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford. Ironically, Davey Allison was Hamlin's favorite driver growing up. Hamlin commented, "To be able to run those colors that have so much history and tradition in the sport for my first Busch race for Texaco/Havoline is pretty special to me, and the team appreciates it."

* Still Standing Strong: The No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Busch team now stands ninth after Juan Pablo Montoya's impressive debut at Bristol Motor Speedway last month. He finished 14th in his first-ever run at the short track, which boosted the team up two more positions in the overall owner championship standings. The team is now ninth with a current tally of 650 and just 133 points outside the top five. Montoya will not run in this weekend's Pepsi 300, but is currently sixth in the NBS driver standings and just 33 points away from the fifth spot.

* Chassis: Crew Chief Brad Parrot and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team are bringing chassis #653 to Nashville this weekend. Two out of the last three times the chassis has been entered to race have resulted in eighth-place finishes. Most recently, Montoya and team drove the chassis to an eighth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month. In April 2006, Casey Mears and the No. 42 Busch team scored an eighth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway. Montoya also ran the car at Texas Motor Speedway last November and finished 28th.

-credit: cgr

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