by Faye Rapoport
To most of us, NASCAR represents very fast cars and very skilled drivers. Footcare is not the first thing that comes to mind. But David Stremme, a driver for Team Yellow, a NASCAR Busch Series racing team, proves that taking care of the feet is as important in racing as in any other sport.
David Stremme is no stranger to car racing. He was born into one of the most successful family-owned racing teams in South Bend, IN. Both of his parents are successful racers, and at the age of five David and his father, Lou Stremme, ventured out to the local tracks on the weekends
Since 1994, Stremme has competed in seven racing divisions at 41 different tracks — collecting three rookie titles and two track championship trophies. In 2002, his first full year of ASA competition, Stremme earned two victories, 13 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes to secure the fourth spot in the final point standings and the Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year award.
That year, Stremme was discovered by Winston Cup team owner Chip Ganassi. Stremme tested alongside drivers Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears and Sterling Marlin at Lakeland (FL) USA Int’l Speedway and ran lap times comparable or faster than these Winston Cup regulars. Phoenix Racing owner James Finch and Ganassi chose him to join McMurray in a joint driving role for Team Yellow in 2003.
Stremme recently burned one of his feet during a race, and he took some time out to tell Foot.com what happened, and why NASCAR racers do need to protect their feet.
Foot.com: Not many NASCAR fans think about how drivers deal with foot care. But in order to control a race car, it must be important to have strong, healthy feet. What kind of foot concerns does a driver have at this level?
Stremme: I actually try to take care of myself from head to toe. While I don’t do any special exercises just for my feet, I do make sure they are clean and healthy because they are obviously a very important part of driving.
Foot.com: What do you wear on your feet when you are racing?
Stremme: I wear Impact brand shoes and heat resistant heel cuffs over them. The floorboard of the car can get very hot and the heel cuffs help to protect my feet.
Foot.com: I understand that you recently burned your foot while driving. What happened, and what kind of treatment did you get?
Stremme: We actually had something blow in the engine compartment which made the floorboard much hotter than usual. When the race finally ended and I was able to climb out of the car, the floorboard was actually smoking from the heat.
My shoes and heel cuffs protected me some, but the heat was just too much for them. I soaked my foot in water for a while, then the care center gave me some cream for it, but I was fine the next day.
Foot.com: So your foot is healthy now?
Stremme: I’m glad to say I have not had any recurring problems from the burn.
Foot.com: What steps are you taking to prevent this from happening again?
Stremme: Like I said, it was a freak accident and there was nothing we could do about it. It’s one of the risks we take as drivers.
Foot.com: What kind of footwear do you use for any athletic training you do outside of racing?
Stremme: I wear Nike shoes.
Foot.com: Is there any kind of athletic activity you avoid to prevent injuries that might keep you from driving?
Stremme: No, you just have to be careful in what you do.
Foot.com: Are there particular leg or foot strengthening exercises that help you drive?
Stremme: None that I have found, but if you have any suggestions I would be glad to try them!
Foot.com: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Foot.com. We wish you the best with your racing career!