The Frontstretch: Driver Review: David Stremme by Thomas Bowles -- Tuesday January 8, 2008

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Driver Review: David Stremme

Thomas Bowles · Tuesday January 8, 2008


David Stremme
2007 Ride: No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge
2007 Primary Sponsor: Coors Light
2007 Owner: Chip Ganassi
2007 Crew Chief: Steve Lane

Stats: 36 races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 3 Top 10s, 24th in Points.
Best Finish: 8th – Talladega, April.

High Point: Early on in 2007, it was David Stremme, not Clint Bowyer, who looked like he’d be the series’ breakout sophomore. A litany of solid early season runs peaked with a solid 10th place finish at Texas; finishing on the lead lap, it was the driver’s highest career finish to date. That left Stremme 12th in points, the most unlikely of Chase contenders; two weeks later, he scored an 8th place run at Talladega, leading a lap while establishing himself as a driver to be reckoned with.

Low Point: Unfortunately, Stremme’s success was short-lived. Shortly after his Talladega success, he bottomed out into the same type of inconsistency that plagued his rookie season; in a stretch that lasted from Dover in June through Michigan in August, he failed to score a single Top 20 finish.

David Stremme and Juan Pablo Montoya enjoyed an exceptionally close relationship in 2007 – but their friendship will have to continue outside CGR, as Stremme was given his walking papers at the conclusion of last season.

Summary: Stremme started the year optimistic – after a reasonable finish to 2006, the 30-year-old expected significant improvement in his second season. But it wasn’t to be; chemistry with crew chief Steve Lane fizzled, and the team suffered from the loss of sponsor Lone Star Steakhouse before the first race of the season got underway. In May, Stremme traded barbs publicly with Kasey Kahne following a race at Richmond where both wrecked out of the race; but while Kahne was in the wrong, it was Stremme who lost the most momentum from the incident, failing to score a Top 10 finish again until Charlotte in October.

Dropping out of Chase contention, that midseason slump left Stremme struggling to stay within the Top 25 in driver points, and when Dario Franchitti came available after winning the IRL championship, owner Chip Ganassi wasted no time in picking him up for 2008 – leaving his 2007 driver of the No. 40 out in the cold.

A “lame duck” driver from September onward, Stremme fought the good fight, but didn’t do himself any favors as a free agent-to-be – he crashed out of three of the final five races with his team.

2008 Outlook: Currently, Stremme is without a full-time ride in the Cup series, although he has been signed to a 20-race deal to run a Nationwide Series car for Rusty Wallace, Inc. Driving the No. 64 car, Stremme is expected to mentor diversity driver Chase Austin while attempting to rebuild his career.

2006 Grade: C-.
2007 Grade: C-.

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Editor's Note : The 2007 season is over, and even the Final Chase exam has come to a close - which means it's time to give each driver their annual year-end evaluation. For the second straight year, your favorite Frontstretch staff members are giving driver reviews for every full-time wheelman on the circuit, giving you insight into the seasons of anyone from A.J. Allmendinger to J.J. Yeley. Want to know when your favorite driver's getting featured? Check out this link for our writing schedule, and be sure to keep coming in every weekday this offseason for even more original content by the Frontstretch!

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
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©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Stremme Fan
01/10/2008 10:29 AM

While I find the article about Stremme mostly accurate I do find it strange that you said that the relationship between David and Bones (Steve Lane) “fizzled” during the season. That’s simply not true. Those two were a great team all the way through Miami.

After it was announced that Franchitti would be taking over the No. 40 its easy to see that David was just a guinea pig for Ganassi. He was in “test” equipment – everyone knew that.

Compared to his 2006 season, the 2007 season was a dream. More than 10 positions higher in points, top 10s and more top 20s. I realize he never got that elusive top 5 but there were many occasions that he could have – and probably should have.

Anyway, just wanted to voice my opinion.


01/10/2008 11:19 AM

Chip is the one who failed David. Not the other way around. David never got a full time Busch ride like Reed. Nor did Chip let him run road courses until his last season.
And Ganassi himself said they were way behind in the COT.
When JPM left his Busch car, Chip put another IRL driver in the seat instead of Daivd.
Stremme did great with what he had to work with. Another team would do well hiring him. Just watch him this year in good equipment.
Thanks Rusty
Go David

01/10/2008 12:33 PM

David deserves at least a B as a driver. He did make stay in the top 25 afterall.

Then there has been interesting information that has come to light since the end of the season. Franchitti himself has said that Gnassi approached him as early as last spring and used Montoya to pressure him into coming over. Meantime David’s equipment started to go downhill about the same time. Coincidence? He basically spent the last 2/3 of the season as an R&D driver, yet he went out there every week and drove his heart out.

And let’s not forget that 2 of those last three wrecks were caused by blown tires, even Jimmie Johnson wrecks when that happens!

David will be a great addition to any team :)