Stremme set to replace Newman

Bob Margolis
Yahoo! Sports

David Stremme, the driver for Rusty Wallace's Nationwide effort, appears to have the inside track to replace Ryan Newman in the No. 12 Dodge at Penske racing next season.

While refusing to acknowledge that a decision has been made, all signs from within the organization point to an announcement within a matter of days, as soon as the details on sponsorship for the team have been finalized. Current primary sponsor Alltel, which merged with Verizon this spring, has been forced to leave at the conclusion of 2008.

Based on team owner Roger Penske's past history hiring drivers, bringing Stremme on board as a test driver this past April signaled that the Indiana-born Stremme was being considered to be more than just a test driver.

Stremme has also been given the thumbs-up for the move by former Penske driver and business partner Wallace.

The 2003 Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series rookie of the year has shone this year with 11 top 10s, including four top fives, while in Wallace's No. 64 Chevy, indicating that the 31-year-old’s brief two-year tenure with Chip Ganassi in the Cup Series was not a clear indicator of his talents.

Stremme made one Cup start this season, subbing for the injured Dario Franchitti at Talladega in April. Stremme put his old ride, the No. 40 Dodge, out front for two laps before getting caught up in a race-ending 12-car crash.

Stremme told Yahoo! Sports in July that he had been talking with other Cup teams, but he preferred to stay at Penske, citing the manner in which the legendary team owner ran his organization.

Bringing Stremme onto the Penske Cup roster opens the door for Kurt Busch to move into a leadership role, something he's wanted for some time but had been unable to attain while Newman was still in the picture.

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