BUSCH: Daytona: Reed Sorenson preview

Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge * Daytona History: In his first Busch Series start at Daytona International Speedway in February 2005 Sorenson finished ninth, and never fell out of the top 15. * Chassis: Crew Chief...

Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge

* Daytona History: In his first Busch Series start at Daytona International Speedway in February 2005 Sorenson finished ninth, and never fell out of the top 15.

* Chassis: Crew Chief Brian Pattie and the Discount Tire team have selected chassis #551 for the Hershey's Kissables 300 Saturday. This chassis was run in both 2005 Busch events at Daytona International Speedway, helping the Discount Tire team score its first top 10 of the season in the February race (started fifth, finished ninth). A late-race incident derailed the No. 41 team in July, but the crew still came out with a top-20 finish (started eighth, finished 20th). The same car also competed at Talladega Superspeedway in late April (started 20th, finished 32nd). Since then, the car has been rebuilt and tested well at Daytona in January.

* Happy Belated Birthday, Reed: Just before leaving North Carolina to head south to Florida for the 2006 Speedweeks events, Sorenson celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday, Feb. 5.

* Double-Duty Season: Before he climbs into the No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge to race in the Hershey's Kissables 300 this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, Sorenson will compete in the Gatorade Duel in the No. 41 Target Dodge, and then follow up both competitions with his inaugural run in the historical Daytona 500. This will be the story at many companion Busch and NEXTEL Cup events this year because in addition to his full-time Busch Series duties, Sorenson will compete fulltime in the NEXTEL Cup Series piloting the No. 41 Target Dodge.

* Dejà vu: This year, Sorenson will be competing for another rookie title. He is no stranger to competing for such a title as he did 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 phenomenon piled up two wins, two poles, 19 top-five finishes and 22 top-10 finishes. The strong performance landed Sorenson fourth overall in the 2005 Busch Series championship standings.

* 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 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.

* Discount Tire Appearance: Sorenson will be signing autographs at the Daytona Beach Discount Tire store, located at 1051 Beville Rd., from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

* Target Appearance: Sorenson will be signing autographs at the Daytona Beach Target store, located at 2380 West International Speedway Blvd., from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Reed Sorenson on beginning his sophomore year in the NASCAR Bush Series:

"Brian [Pattie], the guys and I are planning to pick up where we left off last year and just move forward from there. The team and everyone who works on it are a very special group to me because they've been there since the beginning of all of this, so I am really thankful Discount Tire came back to support us this year to give us the opportunity to make another run for the championship.

"So far our test sessions have been going great. I'm excited and the guys are excited. You can tell they're definitely ready when you walk around the shop and see all of the No. 41 Discount Tire cars that are lined up and ready to go. I know my schedule is going to be a lot busier this year going back and forth between the NEXTEL Cup and Busch competition, but the extra seat time is going to be an asset to all of us.

"Although I am a rookie in NEXTEL Cup, I'm not in the Busch Series so I definitely feel a bit more comfortable now than I did last year at this time. I learned a lot last season, some lessons were easier learned than others. Winning the championship last year would have been great, but it really wasn't the main goal. This year, winning the championship is the name of the game and I know we have the team to do it."

Brian Pattie, Crew Chief of the No. 41 Discount Tire Busch team, commented on his outlook on the season beginnings and beyond:

"So far so good. Testing has gone well for us. We've been running faster than we were this same time last year, so we're definitely ready to get to racing and see what all comes of it. We've really done a complete 180 from last year when we were working down to the wire on getting our cars ready for Daytona and the first few races. We also didn't have any points so there was, of course, a lot of focus on qualifying. This year it is just a different story. It's all about racing. We have the points and we have the bulk of the work done to get rolling. Now, we are just finishing up some things here and there, but are definitely ready to head to Daytona and beyond that.

"We are planning to make a strong run for the championship. Last year, we had the championship on our mind, but would have been happy with a top-10 finish in the standings and came out with a top-five. Now, we are more about winning and top-five finishes than anything else."

-cgr-

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