In the Fast Lane column by Jane Miller
Right after the Nextel Cup race at Joliet, David Stremme and his teammates had a chance to visit Wrigley Field in Chicago.
This weekend, he’ll be racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Though the facilities are different, Stremme says there are many similarities.
“The history and heritage has been kept,” said Stremme. “Both facilities have been around for quite a while.”
As a native of South Bend, Ind., Indianapolis Motors Speedway means a lot to Stremme. Last year, he finally got to race there.
“When I go there, I think about when they built that track, how long it took to get around in the cars back in the early 1900s there. Now we’re flying around there at around 200 (mph), not like the IndyCars, but still, for stock cars, it’s really fast.”
Stremme finished 18th in last year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, which runs for the 14th time on Sunday.
“It’s definitely a place that I look forward to every year,” Stremme said. “I even make sure my team knows I put a lot of emphasis on this race just because it’s close to home — the history that’s at Indianapolis.”
Reed Sorenson, one of Stremme’s teammates, won the Busch race Saturday night at Gateway. Juan Pablo Montoya won in June at Sonoma.
Stremme’s still waiting.
“It would just be nice to win at Indy,” he said. “For me just to win, period, would be awesome. I felt like we’ve been in good position at times and something’s happened.”
SPEED BUMPS: The rumors earlier this week of Scott Speed’s dismissal from Scuderia Toro Rosso were premature, but it still seems likely his days with the team are numbered.
There were reports of an altercation with team principal Franz Tost during Sunday’s European Grand Prix and Speed provided a scathing interview on speedtv.com about the treatment he and Vitantonio Liuzzi have received this season.
With Champ Car champion Sebastian Bourdais coming off a good test with the team and BMW Sauber test driver Sebastian Vettel hovering in the wings, it looks grim for the only American in F1. However, Speed tested in Italy on Wednesday and looks as if he’ll still be employed for the Hungarian GP on Aug. 5.
NHRA NEWS: The NHRA results from soggy Seattle last weekend arrived too late to get into Monday’s paper. Winners were Tony Schumacher (over Brandon Bernstein), Jack Beckman (over John Force) and Dave Connolly (over Allan Johnson).
This weekend’s event at Sonoma is the last of six races in a row and it should be an exciting time for Gary Scelzi. He’ll be inducted into the Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame during the event.
With three races left until the cutoff at Indianapolis, Ron Capps, Connolly and Rod Fuller have clinched spots in the Countdown to the Championship.
Fuller will have sponsorship from Peterson CAT this weekend.
LOCAL WINNER: Brandon Peterson of East Peoria was a two-time champion in the second annual NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing last weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet.
Peterson claimed the title in the NMRA’s Roush Performance Modular Muscle class. In the shootout pairing NMRA and NMCA champions, Peterson defeated NMCA Late Model EFI winner Jason Phillips, helping NMRA to a 7-4 victory.
Finalists: The International Motorsports Hall of Fame has selected 20 finalists for its class of 2008. Five from this group will make the cut. They are, from NASCAR (drivers): Red Byron, Jerry Cook, Cotton Owens, Marvin Panch and Rex White. NASCAR (non-drivers): owner Carl Kiekhaefer, chief mechanic Maurice Petty and promoter Ralph Seagraves. Sprint Car: Tommy Hinnershitz, Joe Leonard and Jan Opperman. Open wheel: chief mechanic Clint Brawner, chassis builder Frank Kurtis and drivers Pete DePaolo and Tommy Milton. Sports Car: drivers Rene Dreyfus and Brian Redman, and engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. Drag Racing: Art Arfons and chief mechanic Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins.
Jane Miller is the Journal Star motorsports columnist. Write her at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643, call (309) 686-3207 or e-mail email@example.com.