David Andrew Stremme (born in South Bend, Indiana, on June 19, 1977) is an American stock car driver. He is most notable as the 2003 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, winning the award while running part time for several different teams. He is currently a free agent who most recently drove the #12 Penske Championship Racing Dodge Charger for Penske Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.
Stremme’s racing roots can be traced back to Midwestern short track racing, where he followed in the footsteps originally cast by his Great Uncle in the 1950’s. Stremme’s first stock car victory came in the early 1990’s at New Paris Speedway, while behind the wheel of his mother’s street stock ride. Once track officials realized that he was only 15 years old however, he was forced to temporarily give up driving.
Once he became of legal age, David moved to the Midwestern short tracks scene. During his career, he earned 24 feature wins, two Rookie of the Year titles and two track championships in just four years. From the local tracks, Stremme became a winner in the Kendall Late Model Series and soon joined American Speed Association (ASA), where he was named the 2002 ASA Rookie of the Year.
After signing a driver development contract with Chip Ganassi, Stremme started 15th in his Busch Series debut at Nashville Superspeedway in April 2003, driving the #1 Dodge for Phoenix Racing, and finished 7th in the race. He finished 14th in both of his next two starts, before coming to 6th at Nazareth Speedway. He led 32 laps in that race, which were the first in his career.
He finished 4th after starting 3rd at Nashville in June, and duplicated the result at the Milwaukee Mile. He had a 10th at Kentucky and a 9th at Memphis. Stremme's worst finish that year was a 31st at Dover. Due to a contract obligation, Finch had Jamie McMurray back in the car for the final two races, and Stremme moved to Braun Racing for the remaining two races. Stremme led 48 laps at Rockingham, finishing 5th, and in addition drove the #30 Sport Clips Dodge home in 14th, enough to secure the Rookie of the Year award, despite competing in only 18 of the 34 races.
Stremme raced in the #32 TrimSpa Dodge Intrepid in 2004. Stremme started 4th and finished 6th in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Despite winning his first career pole at Milwaukee, and finishing that up with a second, Stremme's team began to run mid-pack with a handful of top-10s mixed in.
When Braun announced they would put Shane Hmiel in the car, Ganassi made an alliance with FitzBradshaw Racing to put Stremme in the #14 United States Navy Chevy (as part of the alliance, FitzBradshaw would switch to Dodges for the following season). He ended the season a career-high tenth in points.
Stremme drove full-time with FBR in 2005, posting five top-five finishes and finishing 13th in points, when it was announced he would run full-time in NEXTEL Cup.
2004-2007EditIn June 2005, Stremme made his Cup debut in 2005 driving Ganassi's R&D #39 Navy Dodge at Chicagoland Speedway. He started 31st and would finish 16th in his debut. He also had finishes of 42nd at Richmond and Miami, and a 36th at Charlotte. Ganassi announced Stremme would go to the Cup series, driving the #40 Coors Light Dodge in 2006.
In 2006, Stremme had a best finish of 11th at New Hampshire International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished 33rd in points after missing both road course races that season. In addition, he made his Craftsman Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway, finishing 32nd in the #04 Dodge Hemi entry for Bobby Hamilton Racing. In addition, he won his first career ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Michigan International Speedway, driving the #61 Hantz Group Dodge for Rusty Wallace.
Stremme started 2007 starting 6th in the 49th annual Daytona 500 and went on to finish 11th. Three weeks later he would get his best career start, 2nd in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway he would get his first career Top 10 finish. Two weeks later he would follow that up with a career best finish, 8th in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. During that season, Stremme shared driving duties of the #41 Wrigley Dodge Charger in the Busch Series with Ganassi teammate Reed Sorenson. It ran numerous paint schemes including Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, and Winterfresh. He was able to get his second career Busch pole at Nashville but ended up 11th in the race. In addition, he drove a part-time schedule in the #22 Supercuts Dodge for Fitz Motorsports.
He was replaced in the #40 Dodge by Dario Franchitti 2008 after the 2007 Indy 500 Champion was signed to drive in Sprint Cup. Stremme returned to the Nationwide Series driving for Rusty Wallace Racing, in the #64 Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet. He was originally scheduled to run a handful of races, with Chase Austin and Max Papis driving the rest of the year, but after starting the season in the top-15 in points, the schedule was modified to allow him to run every race except the road course events. He had five top-fives and sixteen top-tens, on his way to an eleventh place points finish. In the latter portion of the year, Atreus left the team, and AVIS, Loan Star Title Loans, and the Penske Corporations became the team's new primary sponsors. He drove the #15 Hyprene Ergon Toyota Tundra in two Truck races that season as well, in addition to returning to the #40 Sprint Cup team, filling for the injured Dario Franchitti at Talladega.
In 2009, Stremme is signed to drive the #12 car for Penske Racing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series, replacing Ryan Newman who is moving to the #39 car for Stewart Haas Racing. The team lost its sponsor when Verizon Wireless bought Alltel, thus negating the grandfather clause. The car will be blanked similar to the Penske uses in the IRL, censoring their Phillip Morris USA sponsorship with "Team Penske". Instead, the full sponsorship will move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with Justin Allgaier driving. The team's name changed to Penske Championship Racing as part of Verizon's sponsorship of Penske Racing, which is billed as Verizon Championship Racing, which was made to evade the NASCAR ban. Stremme nearly won the 2009 AMP Energy 500 running near the front for the lead, but a green-white checkered ruined his day, causing him to run out of gas. Throughout Stremme's season, he did not score a single top 10 and missed the Texas race and failed to qualify for the Homestead race driving for James Finch in the #09 car. Stremme was released from the contract on November 3, because new driver for 2010 season, Brad Keselowski, was finished with his prior contract agreements. He has been rumored to join the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry, but nothing has been confirmed. It has also been rumored that he may return to Rusty Wallace Racing.