Sorenson Preseason Thunder Daytona 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.

* Record 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 eight full-time teams with rookie drivers, one of which being Sorenson's Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) teammate David Stremme. The 2006 rookie class will tie the NASCAR modern era record (2000) for the most rookies competing in a full season.

* 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.

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 one of the most talented in recent history, 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. Also I feel some of the set ups from the Busch car with translate over the Cup car and visa versa."

Reed Sorenson on Daytona Testing:

"I can't wait to get down to Daytona and strap into the No. 41 Target Dodge for the first time. I'm anxious to get those first couple of laps in to see how we stack up against the rest of the competition. The Ganassi organization builds great superspeedway cars and the engine department brings plenty of horsepower.

"The most important aspect of the test for me will be getting some practice running in the draft. I don't have a lot of superspeedway experience so I'm looking forward to getting out there with a group of cars to get a feel for how the car handles in the draft and how to work myself around in the pack."

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."

Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge on Daytona Testing:

"We're looking for speed! With the top 35 in points from last year locked in, we won't be as concerned about qualifying unless we feel like we have a car capable of getting the pole. You know if you have a shot at the pole after the first couple of runs, and if that's the case we'll tweak on the qualifying setup and try to go for it when we return for Speedweeks. If we don't feel like the pole is attainable, then we'll focus our attention on figuring out how much downforce we can get into the car so it will handle well in the race and what the penalties are aerodynamically."

-cgr-

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