Daytona 500: Sorenson "Speedweeks" preview

Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target Dodge Team Target Fast Facts: * New Year, New Driver, New Paint Scheme: The 2006 season will boast a new look for Team Target, including the addition of rookie driver Reed Sorenson and a new paint scheme...

Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target Dodge

Team Target Fast Facts:

* New Year, New Driver, New Paint Scheme: The 2006 season will boast a new look for Team Target, including the addition of rookie driver Reed Sorenson and a new paint scheme prominently displaying the bull's eye on all sides. However, veteran Team Target crew chief Jimmy Elledge is back to call the shots atop the pit box and much of the 2005 crew, which picked up a full head of steam at the end of last season, remains intact.

* Chassis: Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge and the Target Team have selected chassis #602 for the Daytona 500. This chassis was tested at the track in January and will see competition for the first time in the Gatorade Duels.

* Rookie Class: Sorenson will be going head to head against one of the most talented rookie classes in recent history for the coveted Raybestos Rookie of the Year honor. Currently there are seven full-time teams with rookie drivers, one of which being Sorenson's Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) teammate David Stremme. CGRFS also had two rookies in 2003, Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears, with McMurray ultimately capturing Rookie of the Year.

* Dejà vu: Sorenson is no stranger to competing for a rookie title as he has done so in both the NASCAR Busch Series and American Speed Association (ASA). He won the ASA honor in 2003 after recording seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 17 races. Sorenson was edged out slightly by NEXTEL Cup Series regular Carl Edwards for the 2005 Busch Series honor, but the rookie phenom piled up two wins, two poles, 19 top-five finishes and 22 top-10 finishes.

* Double Duty: In addition to his NEXTEL Cup Series responsibilities piloting the No. 41 Target Dodge, Sorenson has signed up to run a full Busch Series season behind the wheel of CGRFS's No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge entry.

* Target Appearance: Sorenson will be signing autographs at the Daytona Beach Target store, located at 2380 West International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, Fla., on Thurs., Feb. 16 from 6:00-7:00 pm.

* Discount Tire Appearance: Sorenson will be signing autographs at the Daytona Beach Discount Tire store, located at 1051 Beville Rd., Daytona Beach, Fla., on Wed., Feb. 15 from 4:30-6:00 pm.

Reed Sorenson on Daytona:

"It's going to be an incredible feeling to take the green flag for the Daytona 500. This is the race every driver aspires to win. We had a solid test there and I think we're going to be competitive. The car we selected was very stable in the draft and it handled pretty well, and those are two important aspects to running well at Daytona. Our goal is to complete all of the laps, make some friends out on the track and hopefully be in position for a respectable finish at the end of 500 miles. Anything can happen in a restrictor plate event, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens."

Reed Sorenson on moving up to the NEXTEL Cup Series and competing for Rookie of the Year:

"Reaching the NEXTEL Cup Series level is what I've worked for my whole career. Being able to compete for Rookie of the Year this season is a dream come true and I'm certainly going to give it everything I have. I want the distinction of being the 2006 Rookie of the Year. Although this year's rookie class is full of talented drivers with good teams, I feel like I've got the team and equipment to get the job done.

"The transition to the NEXTEL Cup Series isn't going to be an easy one, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've only got two starts in a Cup car so I've got a tremendous amount to learn. I've got good teammates in Casey Mears and David Stremme to bounce things off of and (crew chief) Jimmy Elledge is one of the best in the business. He did an incredible job helping Casey develop as a driver and I'm looking forward to working with him next season and getting some of that same guidance.

"It's going to be a busy year running both the Busch and Cup Series', but I believe the extra seat time will help me grow as a competitor. I think the most important aspect of running both is getting familiar with the tracks because I've only run on most of them once or twice. There is no substitute for track time. Also, I think both teams will be able to feed off of each other and much of what works in one car will translate into the other."

Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge on rookie Sorenson:

"I'm looking forward to working with Reed this season. I think he's one of the most talented rookies we've seen come along. I worked with him some last season and he's got a lot of potential. I'm excited about teaming up with Reed and I know everyone on the Target team is as well. I look forward to new challenges and I'm anxious to get the season underway."

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , David Stremme , Reed Sorenson , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing