SOLID RUN ENDED EARLY AT HOME TRACK FOR REED SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM HAMPTON, Ga. (September 6, 2010) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series traveled to Reed Sorenson's home state this weekend for the Great Clips 300. After a solid lap...
SOLID RUN ENDED EARLY AT HOME TRACK FOR REED SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM
HAMPTON, Ga. (September 6, 2010) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series traveled to Reed Sorenson's home state this weekend for the Great Clips 300. After a solid lap that qualified the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota to start from the third position, the team was confident as they lined up for the Saturday night race under the lights of Atlanta Motor Speedway. With 19 laps remaining in the event, the Dollar General team's night ended early as the No. 32 made hard contact with the inside wall, relegating Sorenson to a 34th-place finish at his home track.
As the sun began to dip in the Georgia sky, the Peachtree City-native climbed into the Dollar General Toyota and prepared to start the 195-lap race. When the green flag dropped, the No. 32 began to slip back within the field. By lap 30, he was circling the track in the 10th position. The first yellow flag of the night was displayed on lap 42 for debris on the race track. Sorenson took advantage of the pause in racing to report on the car's condition to crew chief, Trent Owens.
"The back is definitely moving around a lot," Sorenson said.
"Is grip your biggest issue overall?" asked Owens.
"Yes," replied Sorenson. "We're a little tight in the center, but other than that, we are loose everywhere else."
Owens called his driver to pit road on lap 43. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires and packed the Toyota with fuel. They went two round down on the right-side track bar and made air pressure adjustments to help with the loose-handling condition. The crew's fast service gained Sorenson three positions on pit road and he lined up in the seventh spot for the restart on lap 47.
Sorenson immediately found himself in a three-wide battle for position around the 1.54-mile track.
"Please tell me that we did not leave a wheel loose," Sorenson suddenly said over the radio.
The team jumped onto the wall and prepared to service the car if Sorenson brought it to pit road.
Two laps later, and much to the relief of the team, Sorenson reported "The vibration has stayed the same. I do not think it is a loose wheel."
The yellow flag was displayed for the second time on lap 60 when the No. 81 spun in turn tw o.
"We do have a vibration of some sort; I just don't know what it is," Sorenson told Owens. "It's stayed the same throughout the run so I think we'll be ok to stay out, but it's your call."
"Ok," Owens said. "Be ready for four tires and I'll make the call when we see if anyone else comes in."
"Stay out," he said as the leaders passed the entrance to pit road.
"The back feels better," Sorenson told his crew chief. "If anything, we could use a little more front grip, especially in the center of the turns."
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 65 with the No. 32 car in the seventh spot. By lap 72, Sorenson fell to the 10th position after being overtaken by cars on newer tires.
"We're 15 laps from pitting," Owens told his driver. Hang on as best you "can."
When teams began to make green-flag pit stops, Owens called his driver to pit road on lap 105 for service. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires with an air pressure adjustment and packed the Camry with fuel. As the field circled through the green-flag stops, the Dollar General Toyota returned to the 10th position by lap 125.
When the No. 99 and No. 1 cars connected on the backstretch, the yellow flag was displayed once again. The field slowed behind the pace car and Sorenson, circling the track in the 11th spot, reported on the car's handling.
"We're a little bit better, but the handling feels like it did at the beginning of the race," Sorenson told the team. "We're tight in the center and loose on entry and exit."
When pit road was opened, Owens called his driver in for service. He instructed the crew to change the four tires with air pressure adjustments and to go one round down on the right-side track bar. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 153, the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was in the 13th position.
Sorenson quickly moved into the top-10 by lap 157. He continued to chase the No. 1 car around the track, working to overtake the ninth spot. On lap 167, as the No. 32 slid in front of the lap-down car of Ricky Stenhouse, the car suddenly slid sideways and made hard contact with the inside backstretch wall.
"What happened there, Tony?" Sorenson asked spotter, Tony Hirschman.
"I don't know," Hirschman replied. "I'm going to have to look at the replay myself. I couldn't tell if he made contact with you or not."
Sorenson climbed from the window and was taken to infield care where he was evaluated and released. The damage to the No. 32 Camry was beyond repair, relegating the Dollar General team to a 34th-place finish.
"It's unfortunate because I think we would have had a top-10 tonight," said Sorenson. "The Dollar General team did a great job today and the pit crew had fast stops. It is always great to be home in Georgia, but I'd hoped we'd have a much better finish here. I'll have to look at the tapes myself; I'm not sure exactly what happened there. I hate that we destroyed this car, though. It was a good one. We'll head to Richmond next weekend with the 'new car' again. The racing there should be really good and I'm looking forward to it."
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams heads to Richmond International Raceway next weekend with the Nationwide Series' "new car."
-source: braun racing