Discount Tire Team Fast Facts: * Ellis Charity Auction This Thursday: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) is hosting a memorial charity auction this Thursday, May 25, to honor the loss of teammate, Bill Ellis, who ...
Discount Tire Team Fast Facts:
* Ellis Charity Auction This Thursday: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) is hosting a memorial charity auction this Thursday, May 25, to honor the loss of teammate, Bill Ellis, who passed away last month at the young age of 42. CGRFS is holding the live charity auction, as well as a silent auction, at its Concord, N.C. shop to raise funds for Ellis' family. The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. ET, with all proceeds going directly to the trust currently being set up for Ellis' wife and children. The team welcomes everyone to attend. Admission is free. Some of the almost 200 items that will be up for bid include: Casey Mears autographed No. 42 Texaco/Havoline hood, David Stremme No. 39 autographed Commit hood, Reed Sorenson autographed gloves, Tony Stewart and Sterling Marlin autographed driving shoes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. autographed jacket, Steve Young autographed jersey, Jamie McMurray autographed helmet, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman autographed helmet visors, and much more. For more information and to see a complete list of the item bid list, go to www.chipganassiracing.com and click on the Charlotte race weeks schedule toward the bottom-right side of the page. Then, click on special charity auction.
* Meet Pruett This Week in Concord: Scott Pruett, co-driver of the #01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus-Riley, will be at the CGRFS Concord, N.C. shop this Thursday, May 25, to meet area fans and sign autographs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Copies of his three children's books, "Twelve Little Race Cars," "Twelve More Little Race Cars" and "Rookie Racer," will also be available for purchase and signing, so bring the kids to meet the 2004 Rolex Series Champion.
* CGRFS Trio to Celebrate with the Fans: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Racing is hosting a fan appreciation day at its Concord, N.C. race shop this Friday, May 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Fans are welcome to visit the shop and try out the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge race car and pit stop simulators. Free hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks will also be provided while supplies last. Then, the main events will take place starting with a CGRFS driver autograph session from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson and David Stremme will all be present to meet fans and sign autographs. Live entertainment will also be provided by Hambone Alley from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. *Wristbands for the autograph session are no longer available, but more autographs will be permitted as time allows.
* Where They Stand: After finishing 23rd at Darlington Raceway earlier this month, Sorenson and the Discount Tire team currently stand 14th in driver points and 17th in owner points. They are 55 points out of 10th in driver points and 243 points out of fifth. In the owners' standings, they are 112 points out of 10th and 243 points out of fifth. The Busch Series teams had the past weekend off and will return to action this Saturday, May 27, in the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). The 200-lap night race is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET and will broadcast live on FX (TV) and PRN (Radio).
* Promising Preparations: The No. 41 and 42 CGRFS Busch teams tested at LMS earlier this month (May 8-10). As the second day of the test session wrapped up, Mears and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Busch team locked in the fastest time of the day, running at 187.071 miles per hour, and Sorenson was right behind him with the No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge running the second-fastest lap of the day at 186.554 miles per hour around the 1.5-mile speedway. Sorenson and team are bringing chassis #555 to the track this weekend, which is the same car they tested at LMS earlier this month.
* CGRFS Busch Duo Returns: Mears, carrying the number and logo of his NEXTEL Cup car--the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, is running a limited schedule in the Busch Series this year. The No. 42 CGRFS Busch car made its debut at California Speedway in late February, and has since also run at Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix. This weekend will be the fifth time Sorenson and Mears have teamed up in Busch Series competition this season. Mears will also go Busch racing at LMS again in the fall, along with Chicago in July, Michigan in August and California in September. To-date, the CGRFS Busch Series program has 59 starts to its credit and has amassed three wins, four poles, 17 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes.
* He's Not Too Shabby at LMS: So far in his young racing career, Sorenson has a pretty good history with LMS. He competed in the May 2004 ARCA race at the speedway, starting from the third position, ran over debris late in the race and still managed to finish fourth. Later that same year in October, Sorenson started from the outside pole in the ASA (American Speed Association) race and then proceeded to score his career-first ASA win at the Concord, N.C. track. In May 2005, his first Busch Series run at LMS resulted in a top-10 start and top-five finish, which earned Sorenson the NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors.
* CGRFS NEXTEL News & Updates: Sorenson and the No. 41 Target team finished 11th at Darlington Raceway a couple of weeks ago and now stand 24th in the overall standings heading into this weekend's 600 race at LMS. The team is 46 points out of 20th, 128 out of 15th and 242 out of the top 10. The track known as "The Lady in Black" was tough on the Texaco/Havoline Dodge team. Mears and team finished 17th at Darlington and slipped one spot in the championship standings to 11th, just 15 points out of 10th. After scoring their season-best start of fourth place at Darlington, Stremme and the No. 40 Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon team concluded their run in 25th place. The No. 40 team still stands 36th in the driver standings and 38th in the owner ranks.
* Rookie Ranks: After finishing 11th under the lights at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in the Dodge Charger 500 on May 13, Sorenson sits fifth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Years standings with 93 points. He is trailing leader Denny Hamlin by 26 points.
* Chassis: The No. 41 Discount Tire team is bringing chassis #555 to race at LMS this weekend in the Carquest Auto Parts 300. Sorenson and team tested the chassis at LMS earlier this month. Its last race was at Texas Motor Speedway in April, when the team grabbed the outside pole and then worked to overcome a stubborn-handling race car that put a crimp in their stride but the driver and team fought the mishandling conditions to eventually call it a day with a well-earned 13th-place finish. The same chassis carried Sorenson and team to a third-place finish (started 15th) in the April race at the Texas track last year. It was also run at both Charlotte races, in addition to Las Vegas and Chicago, helping Sorenson and the No. 41 team post two top-five and four top-10 finishes in 2005 with its best run being at Texas.
Reed, you tested at Lowe's Motor Speedway in both the Cup and Busch car, and got to run in the NEXTEL Open last weekend. How much of an advantage is that going to give you heading into this weekend's Busch race? "The extra seat time helps, but that is really the only advantage. The Busch and Cup cars are set up differently. The Busch cars handle this track a little better because the bigger spoiler. Probably the biggest advantage I have this weekend is having a teammate. Casey [Mears] is running the Busch car again this weekend and it is nice to have someone to lean on and toss ideas back and forth. He and I both had a really good test at Lowe's a few weeks ago. So, we're looking forward to going Busch racing this week. "
Everyone's talking about the tires and the newly paved speedway. Did the team change the setup a lot to adapt to the new conditions? How will that play into this week? "We are bringing back the same car we raced at Lowe's last year and that helped us score a top-five finish. We also grabbed the outside pole at Texas last month with the same car, and tested really well with it at the speedway earlier this month, so the package we've put together has been working really well on the 1.5-mile track this far. Hopefully, everything will proceed to come together this weekend and help get us into victory lane."