Richmond: Braun Racing race report

SORENSON EARNS A TOP-10 FINISH AT RICHMOND; EIGHTH TOP-10 FOR THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM IN 2010 RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2010) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series traveled to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for a one-day show. With sunny...

SORENSON EARNS A TOP-10 FINISH AT RICHMOND; EIGHTH TOP-10 FOR THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM IN 2010

RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2010) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series traveled to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for a one-day show. With sunny skies all day, teams practiced, qualified and raced at the 0.75-mile track. Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team set the pace early in morning practice, remaining on the top of the speed charts for the duration of the session. The team was confident going into the race after a 21.819-second lap earned them the outside pole for the Friday night BUBBA Burger 250. As the sun went down and the race began, Sorenson battled a tight-handling condition for the majority of the night. Driving hard, he remained in the top-10 throughout the race and walked away with an eight-place finish. The finish was the eighth top-10 for the Dollar General team in only nine events!

Under the setting sun, teams lined up for the start of the 250-lap event at the Richmond-based race track. As the green flag dropped, Sorenson battled for position and settled into the third spot on lap three. The first caution of the evening was brought out early when the No. 05 spun on lap 13. Sorenson reported on the car's handling to crew chief, Trent Owens.

"It is just a little snug in the center," he said. "It turns really good and is just a tick free off."

The race resumed on lap 20 with the Dollar General Toyota in the third position. NASCAR threw the yellow flag the following lap for debris on the frontstretch. During the restart on lap 34, Sorenson had his hands full as the No. 22 and No. 12 cars challenged him for position. He found himself in a three-wide battle and prevailed, taking over the second position.

Brad Keselowski continued to try to take the second spot, putting the nose of the No. 22 car just inside the Dollar General Toyota's left-rear quarter panel as the two cars entered each turn. The No. 22 made the pass on lap 44 and Sorenson began to protect the third position from being taken by his next challenger, the No. 12 car.

"We are just way too tight right now," Sorenson told Owens as the No. 12 car began the same move with which the No. 22 had succeeded.

He held the third position through lap 60 and then relinquished it, falling to fifth by lap 65. Owens began to instruct his team on the adjustments he wanted made when the Camry came to pit road.

"We have no front grip now," Sorenson reported.

Four laps later he slipped to sixth where he settled in until the next caution was brought out on lap 96 when debris was spotted in turn four. Owens called his driver to pit road on lap 98. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires with air pressure adjustments, went two rounds up on the track bar and packed the car with fuel. Their fast service gained the No. 32 Toyota a position and Sorenson lined up for the restart in the fifth spot.

"I also added some rear brake during the run," Sorenson told Owens.

"We'll keep adjusting when we can," Owens replied. The car seems to like "the short runs tonight."

Green-flag racing resumed on lap 102 and Sorenson was immediately engaged in a side-by-side battle for position. Holding strong to fifth, the spinning No. 66 car brought out the night's fourth caution on lap 112. Owens and Sorenson continued to discuss the car's handling as Owens made the call to remain on the track.

"I put one round of brake back into the car before we started that last run," Sorenson said. "I could tell we'd lose grip pretty quick. We are plenty free on entry, it's just tight from center to exit. I don't think it likes old tires either."

"You might just have a short-run car," Owens said. "We'll work on it when we can and hopefully the cautions fall in our favor tonight."

The race restarted on lap 118 with the No. 32 in the fifth position. Sorenson darted past the No. 33 to take over the fourth spot. On lap 120, the caution flag flew once again. When the race resumed on lap 125, Sorenson was in the outside line and worked to hold his position.

"The bottom is covered," reported spotter, Tony Hirschman. "The [No.] 33 is inside. He's barely getting his nose in there and is making a late surge on the exit of the corner."

It wasn't long before Sorenson found himself driving three-wide around the track, with the No. 18 and No. 33 both inside of him. The No. 33 made the pass on lap 137, putting the No.32 in the fifth spot. As the long green-flag run ensued, Sorenson slipped to sixth and fought hard to maintain his position.

"I have no front grip at all," he told Owens. 'm using the rear to turn "Ithe car."

The lap 187 caution was a relief to Owens as he called Sorenson to pit road on lap 189, instructing the team to change four tires with air pressure adjustments and add fuel. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 194 with the No. 32 in the seventh position.

Sorenson quickly took over the sixth position and held it for the next 50 laps. When the No. 98 made hard contact with the outside wall of turn two on lap 245, the field was slowed one final time by the yellow flag. This caution set the stage for a green-white-checkered finish, adding two laps to the scheduled 250-lap race.

Knowing that the car was good on the short runs, Owens instructed his driver to bring the Dollar General Toyota to pit road as soon as it was opened. Sorenson told his crew chief that the last adjustment had helped the tight condition in the center of the turns, so Owens instructed his crew to make another air pressure adjustment and then put four fresh tires when the car came in for service. The team quickly changed the four tires; however, with some teams taking two tires and some choosing to remain on the track, the No. 32 Camry restarted from the ninth position on lap 250.

It was a mad dash as green-flag racing resumed for two final laps. Sorenson charged forward, gaining one position, and was side by side with the No. 33 fighting for the seventh spot as they crossed the start-finish line. The No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was scored in the eighth position at the conclusion of the BUBBA Burger 250.

"We battled a tight-off condition all night and kept looking for front grip," said Sorenson, after the race. "The Dollar General guys worked really hard and adjusted on each pit stop. We gambled at the end with four tires and the green-white-checkered finish and walked away eighth. These Dollar General Toyotas are strong and every week we are hanging right there near the front."

Brian Vickers returns to drive the Dollar General Camry in next weekend's Royal Purple 200 presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts at Darlington Raceway.

-source: braun racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Brian Vickers , Brad Keselowski , Reed Sorenson