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Stremme Hunts for Ride

by Monte Dutton

With a new season just around the corner, David Stremme finds himself looking for a ride in NASCAR’s top series.

Stremme lost his job at Penske Racing in October. Brad Keselowski will drive the team’s No. 12 Dodge in 2010. The team was top-heavy last season, with Kurt Busch finishing fourth in the Sprint Cup standings, far ahead of 29th-place Sam Hornish Jr. and 31st by Monte Dutton -place Stremme.

With neither a top-five nor top-10 finish, Stremme’s dismissal was a foregone conclusion, particularly once Keselowski was added. Hornish had two top-five finishes and seven top 10s.

When he joined Penske last year, Stremme admitted that he needed to prove he could compete at the top level. “I need to capitalize on things and move forward,” he said.

Stremme, 32, is from South Bend, Ind., which also is the hometown of his predecessor in the No. 12, Ryan Newman.

Jeff Dickerson, Stremme’s agent, said recently that “I don’t feel David is going to be left with nothing.” Stremme said, “We’re still talking to quite a lot of people.”

Whether Stremme can secure a Cup ride — which appears unlikely, at least with a full-time team — is debatable, but it appears he is entertaining discussions with teams with openings in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.

Stremme has yet to win in 108 Cup, 133 Nationwide and three Truck races.

He earned his way back to Cup — for a year — by finishing 11 th in the 2008 Nationwide Series standings, despite competing in only 32 of the 35 races. The Nationwide Series has been kindest to him, with 49 career top-10 finishes as opposed to three in Cup and one in Trucks.

After competing in four 2005 races, Stremme was also a Cup regular in 2006-07. Prior to joining Penske for a year, Stremme competed at the Cup level for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, a team whose descendant is now known as Earnhard Ganassi Racing.

What does Stremme think he needs?

“Just time,” he said. “Time on all these tracks is all it is.”

Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (NC) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week (nascar.rbma.com) features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at nascar_thisweek@yahoo.com. (c) 2009 King Features Syndicate

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