David “The Rookie That Got No Face Time” Stremme
2006 Ride: No. 40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse Dodge
2006 Owner: Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates
2006 Crew Chief: Jeff Vandermoss (Feb.-Apr.), Steve Lane (Apr.-Nov.)
Stats: 34 races, zero wins, zero top fives, zero top 10s, 33rd in points.
Best Finish: 11th (twice)
High Point: While never cracking the top 10 during his rookie season on tour, Stremme did manage to break the top 15 on a few occasions. He finished 11th in the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire in July, then ended the year on a strong note with another 11th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That finish to end Stremme’s year was part of a late-season surge where the No. 40 Dodge landed top-15 finishes in three of the season’s final six events, solidifying his status in the car for 2007.
Low Point: A poor start to the season that included six finishes outside the top 25 caused the Coors Light driver a major hangover during a tough rookie season. The mediocre performances put the No. 40 outside the Top 35 in owner points for almost two-thirds of the year, forcing Stremme to qualify for each race on speed during that time. Why the rough beginning? Well, Stremme suffered from a common rookie problem: DNFs. Officially, he had four: three caused by accidents and one because of overheating.
Summary: Stremme had a mediocre rookie year with just nine finishes inside the top 20 and an average finish of 26.4. The season was so much of a struggle Chip Ganassi actually pulled Stremme out of the car for the two road-course races, replacing him with veteran Scott Pruett. As the pressure mounted, though, Stremme finally began improving over the season’s second half, vaulting the team back into the Top 35 in owner points and building enough consistency for the team to be optimistic heading into next year.
2007 Outlook: Stremme will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing once again in the No. 40 Dodge, entering his second full season on tour with crew chief Steve Lane. With notes from their rookie year and a new teammate (open-wheel star Juan Pablo Montoya), the only way for this driver and crew chief combination to go is up.