Three For The Road

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The NASCAR Cup Series unemployment line officially got bigger Sunday night.

When the checkered flag flew on the Ford 400 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a trio of drivers ended their careers with their current teams.

David Stremme, Tony Raines and Johnny Sauter are all now out of work and actively pursuing a Sprint Cup deal for the 2008 season.

Stremme ended his run in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 40 entry with an 11th place finish at HMS and wound up 24th in the final standings.

The South Bend, Indiana native will be replaced by 2007 Indy 500 winner and IRL champion Dario Franchitti, leaving him without a ride in NASCAR's top series.

Although he has a part-time deal to drive with Rusty Wallace's Nationwide Series team, Stremme still believes he has what it takes to compete in the Cup Series as well.

"I really belong at that level and it's something that I'm not going to just jump into any car," Stremme said. "It's something that I want to be in the right situation so again, the teams that we're talking to if it works out it will be great."

Raines drove the Hall of Fame Racing DLP Chevrolet to a disappointing 29th place finish at Homestead. In addition to an ownership change, the team will bring in J.J. Yeley to pilot the car next season, leaving Raines searching for the next chapter of his racing career.

"I really enjoyed my time with Hall of Fame Racing and the DLP HDTV Team," Raines said. “It’s tough to say good-bye, but we had two really good years together. We finished 25th in the owner points this year, so that will give them a great foundation to build on for 2008. I can’t thank everyone at Hall of Fame Racing and DLP enough for the last two years. They’re both class organizations and I enjoyed representing them both. I wish them the best of luck in the future."

Sauter was one of two drivers let go by the Haas-CNC Racing team, which replaced the Wisconsin driver as well as veteran Jeff Green with the tandem of Jeremy Mayfield and Scott Riggs for 2008.

A dismal 41st place finish was the way Sauter ended his time behind-the-wheel of the team's No. 70 Chevy.

"This certainly wasn't the way I envisioned closing out the 10th season in NASCAR for Yellow Transportation," Sauter said, "but the Yellow Chevy was good tonight and I'm proud of the entire team. Coming into our first full season in the Nextel Cup Series our goal was to finish the season in the top-35 in points and we accomplished that. We had several strong finishes and overall it was a good season for Team Yellow Racing."


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