Sorenson Preseason Thunder - Dodge interview

REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON THE DAYTONA TEST SO FAR "We blew a motor and it was a good one, too. It was a new motor they built over the winter, and it was a lot better, but it blew up. That's what tests are for. They...

REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON THE DAYTONA TEST SO FAR "We blew a motor and it was a good one, too. It was a new motor they built over the winter, and it was a lot better, but it blew up. That's what tests are for. They came and got it this morning and took it back to see if they could find out what happened to it and get it fixed for the Daytona 500."

ARE BOTH CHARGERS CLOSE? "We switched motors in them yesterday before the good motor blew up and they ran about the same, so we feel like the cars are pretty close. If anything happens to one of them the other one will be just as good."

WHAT DO YOU TRY TO ACCOMPLISH AT THIS TEST? "We ran a decent time yesterday, and we were pretty far off on the speedway stuff last year. We were just trying to come down here expecting to get better. We're not trying to challenge for a pole or anything. We just wanted to get better and we are. The new motor was a lot better and the new Dodge nose helped out a little bit. We just wanted to put ourselves on the other side of the field. We feel like we're going to have a little bit better shot this year."

IS THERE A VETERAN DRIVER IN THE GARAGE YOU COULD GO TO FOR ADVICE? "I still consider Casey Mears a good friend of mine and any time I need to talk about something I can talk to him. I could go to Jimmie Johnson. A driver has to learn most of the stuff out there on his own. You can sit down and talk about this stuff all you want, but when you go out on the track a lot of stuff changes. I feel like I learned a lot of stuff last year, and I feel like I'm going into this year as a smarter driver and a better driver. I'm going to try not to make as many mistakes and see if we can't come out a little better."

DO YOU LIKE SUPERSPEEDWAY RACING? "It's fun. It's pretty stressful at times. The body shop guys have done a great job on our bodies. We've just been off a little bit on motors. The motor guys have been working really hard all winter to make up for that. They've done a great job and if they can give us something like they gave us here for the test and we can make all 500 miles it will be great."

HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK YOU'VE IMPROVED FROM LAST YEAR? "We've got so many races through the season you've just got to stay on track with what you're doing and not worry about what anybody else is doing. As soon as you do that you get off schedule of what your goals are. We've set our goals for this year, and we're going to try to points race this year and make sure we don't do anything to make ourselves fall out of any races. We're going to try to be a top 15 or top 10 car every weekend and that's all we can do."

IS MAKING THE CHASE A GOAL THIS SEASON? "We're going to points race. Wherever that puts us we can talk about it from there. We'd like to win a race, get a pole and we're going to points race. How well we run is where we'll be in the points."

WHEN DID YOU TURN IT AROUND LAST SEASON? "We had some good races. Then we had a month when we couldn't finish a race. We were passing people in points and then we went the other way. That's what we've got to make sure doesn't happen this year. When we gain momentum, we've got to make sure we don't get off track. The team stayed together, and Jimmy (Elledge) and I worked well together last year. I think now we've got a better understanding of what kind of cars we need to bring to the track. I think we can work a lot better together planning on races coming up. I think our communication is just fine."

WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE LIKE WITH JUAN PABLO MONTOYA AS A TEAMMATE? "I haven't really hung out with him too much. He raced a lot at the end of last season and he's a good guy to hang out with. I think he'll be a good teammate."

DO YOU THINK CHIP GANASSI WILL EXPECT MORE OUT OF YOU THIS SEASON? "He expects more out of everybody and we expect more out of him as well. We expect more out of each other. We don't want to be a bunch of losers just hanging out having a good time. We want to be winners. We're going to feed off each other. He pushes us, and we're going to push him so we can get better as a team. It's hard to be a car owner in two different series. His Indy cars didn't run good two years ago and he turned that program around and got them back up front winning races. He's open for whatever it takes to get our cars better and keep them running up front. He's been really good making sure we've got everything we need to win races. If we can keep doing that we'll be all right."

LOOKING BACK WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST HURDLE TO OVERCOME AS A ROOKIE? "Starting out with a new team and going to some tracks I hadn't been to was big. I think we have a little better understanding of what we need this season."

WILL THE COT PRESENT A MAJOR CHALLENGE THIS SEASON? "It will. What it boils down to it'll be a huge part of who runs well in the points. Who has the best development of those cars over the winter will be in the drivers' seat. Hopefully we'll be up to par with that stuff, but we won't know until we get there. I tested one last year at Bristol and Nashville. At Bristol I couldn't tell a lot of difference. It was just slower. At Nashville it was tight and didn't turn very good."

PERSONALLY WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO SATISFY YOU THIS SEASON? "I don't know what they're going to do with The Chase. I've heard they're expanding it a little bit. The 41 team would like to be the one to break that four-year winless streak. We'd like to get one win at least and a pole. One each would be nice. We want to be competitive every weekend. We don't have to go out and set the world on fire. We just want to be competitive. If we're not in the top five we want to be in the top 10. If we can do that we'll be up there in the points, and that's our goal.. We want to be consistent, win a race and get a pole. I think we can do that. I think there will be times during the year we don't run as well as we need to, but I think at times we'll be good and consistent. If we can come out of those tracks where we didn't run well last season with a decent finish then we can capitalize on some of the places we ran well last season and get a win there."

WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU CAN WIN? "I felt like last year at Dover we had a top three car and ran out of gas running fourth with a lap to go. If we can go back there and get that car as good as it was we'll definitely have a shot at a place like that. If we get our car right on a mile and a half track, I think we'd have a shot at any of those."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Casey Mears