SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM TAKE HOME 14th-PLACE FINISH IN SEASON FINALE
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 22, 2010) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) traveled to Homestead, Florida this weekend for the final race of the 2010 season. Reed Sorenson and the No. 32 Dollar General team entered the weekend with high hopes for a solid finish to the year. Sorenson battled a loose-handling condition throughout the course of the 200-lap race which was plagued with 11 cautions. With hard work and perseverance, the Dollar General team brought home a 14th-place finish in the season finale and finished sixth in the NNS owner points standings.
As the sun began to lower in the Florida sky, Sorenson climbed behind the wheel of his Dollar General Toyota and prepared to start the Ford 300 from the 21st position. Within a few laps, he radioed to crew chief, Trent Owens, that the car was extremely loose. As he dove inside of the No. 6 car on lap nine, the back end of the No. 32 Camry slid sideways, evidence that he had his hands full.
"Nice save!" Owens complimented his driver. On lap 11, the first caution of the afternoon occurred. Running in the 19th spot, Sorenson took the pause in green-flag racing to report on the car's handling.
"We are wrecking-loose right now," he said. "I'm doing everything I can."
"We can see it from here," replied Owens. "Hang in there for now and we'll get you in for adjustments on the next caution."
Sorenson restarted the Dollar General machine from the 17th position on lap 15. He overtook the 16th spot before the next yellow flag of the day was displayed on lap 21. As the field slowed behind the pace car, he updated Owens on the car's balance.
"We're loose getting off of the corners," he reported. It's good getting "into the turns, though."
Owens called his driver to pit road for service on lap 24. The Dollar General team quickly changed four tires, made air pressure adjustments, went two rounds down on the track bar and packed the car with fuel. With some teams choosing to take two tires or no tires on pit road, Sorenson restarted from the 18th position on lap 28.
As soon as green-flag racing resumed, Sorenson found himself engaged in a three-wide battle for position. On lap 30, a multi-car crash on the backstretch slowed the field once again. He radioed Owens that another car had made contact with the right front of the Dollar General Toyota during the last run. Owens asked spotter, Tony Hirschman, to survey the damage.
"The right front looks like it may have been kicked," Hirschman replied. "It looks ok from here, though. Nothing is touching or rubbing the tire."
The race resumed on lap 36 with the No. 32 restarting from the 16th position. Sorenson continued to report a loose-handling condition as he circled the track. When the yellow flag flew on lap 41 for an accident in turn two, the Dollar General Toyota was in the 15th position.
"We're still way too loose," Sorenson reported. "I don't think the track bar helped it. It feels like it made it roll over more."
"10-4," replied Owens before instructing the Dollar General crew on what adjustments he wanted made during the next pit stop.
Sorenson drove to pit road on lap 42 for fuel and adjustments. The No. 32 crew went one round up on the track bar, made wedge adjustments on both the left and ride side and packed the car with fuel. He lined the No. 32 up in the 29th position for the restart on lap 46.
"We're still pretty loose," Sorenson radioed to Owens. "I just can't get into the corner. I have to get off the gas really early just to keep from spinning."
He continued to chip away at the field, slowly moving forward. By the time the next caution occurred on lap 60, Sorenson had driven up to the 22nd position. Owens decided to sacrifice track position and ordered his driver to pit road for more adjustments. The Dollar General crew changed four tires with air pressure adjustments, put two spring rubbers into the left rear spring and filled the car with fuel before returning him to the race track to restart from the 21st spot on lap 66.
In only a few laps, Sorenson moved inside the top-15 and was running solid lap times around the 1.5-mile track. Despite reporting that the handling was still "snappy loose," he overtook the 14th position before NASCAR displayed the yellow flag on lap 92 for debris on the race track.
"The chassis definitely feels tighter now," Sorenson told Owens. "The car is still pretty twitchy all the way through the corners. I just can't turn the wheel on entry."
Owens called Sorenson to pit road on lap 93 for service. The No. 32 crew quickly changed four tires, put more wedge into the left rear and packed the car with fuel. Their fast work gained Sorenson three positions on pit road and he lined up 11th for the restart on lap 97.
Sorenson quickly began to make his way through the field, moving inside of the top-10. The field slowed again on lap 101 for debris. He reported to Owens that the car's handling was still twitchy but was getting a lot better. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 105 with the Dollar General Camry in the seventh position.
During the longest green-flag run of the race, Sorenson reported that he was experiencing a tight-handling condition in the exit of turn four and that he was still struggling with the entries. He had slipped back to the 11th spot when an accident in turn four brought out the next yellow flag of the evening.
Owens called Sorenson to pit road for service and adjustments on lap 136. The Dollar General crew put on four sticker tires with air pressure adjustments, put another round of wedge into the right rear and topped the car off with fuel. Another great stop by the No. 32 crew gained Sorenson four positions on pit road, putting him in the seventh spot for the restart on lap 139.
Still battling with the loose-handling car, Sorenson fell to the 11th spot before the night's next caution.
"I'm just so loose on entry," Sorenson radioed to Owens.
"I can see it," replied Owens. "You're getting run over in the corners. I want you to come in for fuel and we'll close the right rear shock. It's too early to take tires. We're going to keep dropping back if we don't work on it."
Sorenson drove to pit road on lap 150 and the No. 32 crew quickly serviced the car per Owens' orders. The race resumed on lap 157 with the Dollar General Camry restarting from the 17th spot.
An accident in turn three halted the green-flag racing on lap 162. The following lap, Owens quickly called Sorenson to pit road. "Let's put four cold tires on and get a couple more spring rubbers in there."
Restarting from the 24th position on lap 167, Sorenson immediately went to work to move back through the field. He was driving the Dollar General machine in the 17th position when the final caution of the night was displayed for an accident on the backstretch on lap 173. The race restarted on lap 178 with the No. 32 in the 14th spot.
In the closing laps, Sorenson slipped back to 17th but then battled back to take the final checkered flag of the 2010 season in the 14th position. The Dollar General team closed the season with 12 top-five and 28 top-10 finishes and took sixth-place honors in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series owner points standings.
"Trent Owens and the Dollar General team did a great job tonight," said Sorenson following the race. "They worked hard to adjust on the car all night and the over the wall guys were on their game, gaining spots on almost every pit stop. It has been a great year with this team and I know we are all very excited to get back on track at Daytona in February. I want to thank everyone for their hard work all year and Dollar General for all of their support. I look forward to representing them again and running for the 2011 driver championship!"
-source: braun racing