CONCORD, N.C. – At the start of this season, David Stremme was sitting on the sidelines, another former Cup driver holding a pink slip and hoping for a NASCAR economic turnaround. Now? He’s juggling more rides than some drivers get over the course of their major league stock car career. How did this veteran, after getting put out to pasture by Penske Racing and struggling through an underfunded ride in 2010 get opportunities all at once?
As his Cup team, the newly-formed Inception Motorsports, prepared for the All-Star Race Friday (May 20), Stremme took the time to speak with our Bryan Davis Keith about earning second chances, fighting through adversity when most drivers don’t even get their foot in the door these days.
Bryan Davis Keith, Frontstretch: Tell us a little bit about how this deal came about.
David Stremme: It’s kind of like a lot of us knew each other from positions we’ve been in. I own a little bit [of the operation], but two other brothers have gone in from the No. 26 car when I was there. We got to know each other and I already had a shop, got our hands on some equipment. It’s a building year for us. We raced Richmond, raced like we wanted to, qualified pretty well.
Then we had to start-and-park a couple. We’re going to try to race the 600. That’s what we’re trying to do, build a program. It’s hard, because you don’t get to test, you don’t get to do stuff to get as much information as you can. Here, we’re not looking to try to win the Open, we’re testing for next week. It’s a building year, we’ve got sponsors that are looking at us, we’re talking to people – so we’ll see what happens.
Keith: Is that the plan, to show up at all the races and start-and-park until you can race another?
Stremme: I wouldn’t call it start-and-park, we’re using it as testing to gain information. Other teams, I’m not bashing anybody, but some of them never have intentions of racing. We have intentions to race. It’s just financially where we’re at. We’re building a program and getting more cars to get where we can run full-time next year. That’s our goal.
Keith: You’ve run for some big-time teams in the past. Now you’re here trying to stretch a dollar to make it work. What do you have to do differently on a race weekend?
Stremme: It’s really all just about the people around you. I was at really big teams and one of them probably wasted more money than we’ll run on all year. It’s just part of the program. I grew up racing trying to stretch a dollar to make things happen and so did everybody on my team. There’s a really good group of people that don’t have jobs in our industry and we were able to go capitalize on that and get some of them. Steven Lane is one of them, he’s doing a great job. Some of the crew guys I’ve worked with before. Like I said, we’re just trying to get our own deal going here and we’ll see what happens.
Keith: Looking forward at the summer, we’ve got plate tracks coming up, we’ve got road courses. Are you prepared to handle all the tracks on the circuit, or is it going to be pick-and-choose?
Stremme: We’re not doing any road courses or superspeedways because you need different cars. We’re concentrating on oval stuff right now, intermediates and short-track stuff. That’s what we set out to do right now. We’ve only got 7-8 guys and we can’t kill them all year. We’re getting into this slowly and seeing what we can get out of it.
Keith: Are you going to be able to keep the No. 70 NNS ride after missing Iowa this weekend?
Stremme: Yeah. Scott Wimmer‘s going to run for them at Iowa and Chicago, then I’m going to pick up for them at Michigan. They don’t run a full schedule, but I really enjoy running for those guys. They’re from my same hometown, I know a lot of them and they’ve got good equipment.
We ended up running ninth at Richmond. We’re working on some things, we’re trying to get them a couple more cars. But I like working for the smaller teams. I enjoyed running for the big teams, it’s just you get caught up in a lot of things out of your control. With a smaller team, you get to make decisions and have real input into the direction of the program.
Keith: How much of an adjustment is it coming back to NASCAR racing with the new NNS CoT and the new front ends on the Cup cars?
Stremme: It’s not that bad. Racecar drivers can get in anything and adapt. I get in dirt cars, late model cars, this. You’ve just got to know how to tune them and learn more. I feel like on the Nationwide side I was able to help the No. 70 team because of my experience on the Cup side, I was able to give them some direction. It worked out. We’re trying to build that program and we’re still trying to learn stuff on the Cup end. We don’t have big engineering or ties to teams in the garage, we’re just trying to use our knowledge.
Keith: How close are the two CoT cars now?
Stremme: They’re pretty close. You can learn a lot driving both of them. They can say there’s differences, but anytime you get on the same track you’re going to run on throughout the race weekend, it’s going to help. At Richmond, that helped. Even though they’re different types of cars, different chassis and whatnot, it still helped.
About the author
Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.
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