PHOENIX, AZ (November 1, 2003) -- This Halloween weekend threw some unexpected curves at the NASCAR Busch series, but driver David Stremme and the ...
PHOENIX, AZ (November 1, 2003) -- This Halloween weekend threw some unexpected curves at the NASCAR Busch series, but driver David Stremme and the #1 Dodge crew did a great job in handling what the goblins threw their direction. Stremme finished the rain delayed and shortened Basha's Supermarkets 200 in 13th position, once again the top finishing rookie in the race. Driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr. crossed the finish line first; Kevin Harvick was second and Brian Vickers finished third.
With another strong finish, driver David Stremme has now passed Coy Gibbs by four points in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year challenge. With only two races remaining in the season, the battle for the title will be between these two drivers. The honor does not necessarily go to the top points winner; there is also an interview and a panel that will meet to discuss each of the rookies and their accomplishments off the track as well as on.
At the beginning of the race weekend, the witches and warlocks were smiling upon the Phoenix Racing team. During the first practice session, Stremme was eighth on the time sheet. The team did not get much time on the track in qualifying trim, but Stremme was confident he would be able to post a strong time. When he did get his turn to make the two qualifying laps, he was able to post a time of 27.259, only .001 second off of Greg Biffle's time. Stremme ended up in the third starting position, his strongest qualifying effort of the season.
On Halloween Friday, the #1 Dodge was once again strong on the track, posting the fourth quickest time on the sheets. The team used 'Happy Hour' to check how different setups would affect their car in the arid desert heat. Unfortunately, they could not know that their Halloween weekend would be haunted by rain and much cooler weather on race day.
On race day, the Busch series teams had the eerie feeling of dejà vu as rain began to fall just before the green flag was scheduled to drop. The cars made a few laps under green/yellow conditions, but the weather soon took over and the race was red flagged for nearly two and a half hours. The delay did not bother Stremme, who said, "This crew has done a great job of giving me a competitive race car. I raced here a couple of years ago in a tour car and I love this place, even with the changes in the wall. I think the change allows you more momentum, which means more speed -- which is what I like!"
When the race finally got underway, the #1 Dodge and most of the other cars in the field were fighting very loose conditions. The pit crew did a great job on pit stops during the event, helping Stremme to regain track position. Despite the team's strong effort, Stremme was still fighting a loose car at the end of the race when he crossed the line in 13th place.
"The track was just so much different today than it has been all week," Stremme said. "I did the best that I could, and I know the crew did as well. We brought home another top-15 finish, and that consistency is a big part of what helps our team to grow."
The next race on the schedule will be the Target House 200 at North Carolina Speedway on Saturday, November 8th. Driver Jamie McMurray will be behind the wheel of the #1 Dodge; Yellow Transportation will be the associate sponsor. The race will be aired live on TNT and broadcast live on MRN at 1:00 E.D.T.