Penske Racing Drivers
David Stremme grew up in a racing-oriented family in South Bend, Ind. Following the path blazed by his family members – his great uncle, his father, his mother and his brother all were racing “forces” and multiple champions at race tracks throughout the Midwest – Stremme continued to ascend to the highest levels of racing and through sheer determination and talent, was named the driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel Dodge in 2009 NASCAR Cup Series competition.
This season, Stremme becomes only the second driver in Penske Racing history to wear the Alltel blue-and-white colors for the team.
Stremme’s first stock car victory came as a 15-year old in 1992 at New Paris Speedway, while behind the wheel of his mother’s street stock race car, a win that was forfeited because the young man did not have a driver’s license!
Once he became of legal driving age, Stremme set out to make a name for himself at numerous short tracks around the Midwest. From 1994 to 1998, Stremme took on established Midwest racers, earning 24 feature wins, two Rookie-of-the-Year titles and two track championships during that period. “When I was coming up, I raced all over the Midwest,” said the determined racer. “After I did well in one place, I looked to see where the competition was toughest – then I raced there, then on and on, until it was time to move on to another level.”
From the local tracks, Stremme became a winner in the Kendall Late Model Series (now called the CRA Super Series) and then moved on to the ranks of the American Speed Association (ASA). In 2002, Stremme was named ASA Rookie-of-the-Year.
It was Stremme’s ASA performance that caught the eye of Chip Ganassi Racing. Ganassi signed Stremme as a development driver for the 2003 season. Splitting seat-time with Jamie McMurray in a NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) entry, Stremme competed in 18 NNS races in the No. 1 and 30 cars. In 18 starts, Stremme scored three top-five and seven top-10 finishes, his best effort being a third-place run on two occasions (Nashville Superspeedway and The Milwaukee Mile).
Stremme’s strong performance during his limited schedule earned him the 2003 NNS Rookie-of-the-Year award. By winning the award, Stremme became the first driver in NNS history to earn Rookie-of-the-Year honors without competing in the full season.
With his solid effort during a part-time campaign, Stremme earned a full-time race seat in the NNS, driving the No. 32 Dodge (27 races), No. 30 Dodge (three races) and No. 14 machine (four races). During the season, Stremme won his first NNS pole position at The Milwaukee Mile en route to his then-career-best finish of second. He went on to earn four top-five and 14 top-10 finishes during the 2004 season while securing a 10th-place finish in the NNS driver point standings.
In 2005, Stremme ran his second full NNS season, driving for football great Terry Bradshaw in the No. 14 FitzBradshaw Racing Dodge. He racked up five top-five and ten top-10 finishes on his way to 13th place in the 2005 driver point standings. Additionally, Stremme made his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series start at Chicagoland Speedway in 2005. Stremme qualified 31st and finished a respectable 16th place in his Cup debut. He ran three other Cup Series events during the 2005 season in preparation for his first full year on the circuit in 2006 driving the No. 40 Dodge for Ganassi Racing.
In his Cup Series rookie campaign in 2006, Stremme started 34 of 36 races and earned four top-15 finishes, in addition to a pair of top-five starts. His best effort was 11th place, which he scored twice (New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway). He finished 33rd in the 2006 Cup Series driver point standings.
In June of 2006, Stremme also took the opportunity to run an ARCA RE/MAX event at Michigan International Speedway. In a dominating performance, Stremme led 99 of 100 laps and lapped the entire field on his way to victory.
Stremme returned to the No. 40 car in the NASCAR Cup Series for his second season in 2007. He competed in all 36 point events, earning three top-10 finishes, with a career-best eighth-place result at Talladega Superspeedway. He finished the 2007 Cup Series season 24th in the driver point standings.
In addition to his full-time duties with the No. 40 Cup car, Stremme also competed in a limited NNS schedule in 2007. In 13 starts, he collected two top-five and two top-10 finishes, as well as his second career series pole in April 2007 at Nashville Superspeedway.
In 2008, Stremme drove for Penske Racing alumnus Rusty Wallace’s NNS program, piloting the No. 64 entry. Competing in 32 of the series’ 35 races, Stremme racked up five top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, including tying his career-best NNS result of second place twice (Talladega Superspeedway and Nashville Superspeedway). Even though he didn’t compete in three 2008 Nationwide Series races, Stremme performance was still was strong enough to place him 11th in the final driver point standings.
Stremme ran two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races as well in 2008, scoring a ninth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway and a 13th-place result at Nashville Superspeedway. He also competed in one race in the CRA Super Series, at Winchester Speedway, where he won against heady competition, including fellow NASCAR racer Kyle Busch.
The 2008 season also saw Stremme begin his formal relationship with Penske Racing. In April he became the organization’s NASCAR team test driver. It was that relationship that allowed Stremme the opportunity to take his place behind the wheel of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge for the 2009 NASCAR Cup season, pairing up with experienced 2008 Daytona 500-winning crew chief Roy McCauley.
“It’s an honor to join Penske Racing as the driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge,” said Stremme prior to the start of the 2009 season. “To be a part of Penske Racing’s 40-plus-year legacy has been a longtime dream of mine. I cannot wait to join my new teammates and work on getting the No. 12 into the 2009 Chase.”