Bristol II: Reed Sorenson race report

REED SORENSON DRIVES TO AN EIGHTH-PLACE FINISH UNDER THE FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OF BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 23, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to Bristol, Tennessee to do battle under the lights ...


BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 23, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to Bristol, Tennessee to do battle under the lights of Bristol Motor Speedway. Returning for the second time this season, the team was confident as they unloaded the No. 32 Toyota. During their previous visit, they earned their best finish to date of seventh at the "World's Fastest Half Mile." This weekend, Sorenson drove a solid race and, despite sustaining damage in the final 25 laps, brought the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota home with an eighth-place finish.

As the sun began to set in the Tennessee sky, Sorenson climbed into the Dollar General Toyota and prepared to start the 250-lap Food City 250 from the 11th position. In true short-track fashion, when the green flag dropped, 43 cars scrambled for position. Knowing that patience is extremely valuable in such a race, the veteran driver slipped back to the 15th spot and allowed the field to stabilize.

The first yellow flag of the night was displayed on lap 55 for debris on the race track. Sorenson took advantage of the break in racing to report on the car's handling to crew chief, Trent Owens.

"We're a little tight in the center," Sorenson said. "The entry and exit are a little loose. Also, If we could get some right rear grip when we come in, that would be great."

He drove the No. 32 Camry to pit road on lap 58 for service. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires, made a slight air pressure adjustment, removed a strip of tape from the front grill and packed the car full of fuel. The rapid pit stop gained him a position despite being held up by another car as he exited pit road. Sorenson lined the Dollar General Toyota up in the 14th position for the restart on lap 62.

Sorenson began to pick off positions, one by one. He had moved up to the 12th spot when the second caution of the night was brought out as Braun Racing teammate, Kasey Kahne, was involved in a scary situation that left the No. 38 sliding sideways around the track. Fortunately, Kahne emerged from the car unharmed. When pit road was opened, Owens called his driver in for service. He instructed the crew to change the two right-side tires with air pressure adjustments. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 90, the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was in the 13th position.

Sorenson quickly advanced into the 11th position. On lap 117, an accident in turn two brought out the next caution of the night.

"That last adjustment didn't help the handling," Sorenson informed Owens. "The run before that was better. I just didn't feel like we gained any front grip."

"10-4," replied Owens. "Let's put the air back in that front tire. We'll come in for four tires this time."

On lap 119, Sorenson brought the Dollar General Toyota back down pit road for fresh tires, an air pressure adjustment and fuel. With some teams choosing to remain on the track, he lined the No. 32 up in the 15th position for the restart on lap 124.

Taking over one position at a time, Sorenson found himself in the 11th spot on lap 133. He continued to battle in a tight pack with several cars and broke into the top-10 on lap 139 as he drove past the No. 42. He worked diligently to defend his position against Trevor Bayne in the No. 99 car. He maintained the 10th spot, and was there when the fourth caution of the night came as a result of a multi-car accident on the frontstretch on lap 158.

"That run was a little better," reported Sorenson as the field slowed behind the pace car. "It's ok, but we are still a little snug in the center and I get loose getting in and out of the corners. We still don't have any front grip either."

"Let's put a half pound into the left rear [tire]," Owens instructed the crew. "Also, take a half pound out of each of the fronts and give me three seconds of fuel."

On lap 162, Sorenson drove the No. 32 to pit road for four sticker tires, fuel and adjustments. The quick service by the Dollar General crew put him in the eighth position for the restart on lap 166. He drove the car into the seventh spot before a spinning car in turn four brought out the next caution on lap 187.

"It looks like the cars ahead of us are throwing off sparks and we're not," Sorenson told Owens. "I'm not sure if we're low enough. We still seem to be lacking front grip."

Green-flag racing resumed on lap 193 with the Dollar General car in the seventh position. Sorenson focused intently on driving around the 0.533-mile track while his spotter, Tony Hirschman, continued to encourage him.

"Keep plugging away," Hirschman said. "The leaders are using up their equipment while you're gaining ground. You're doing great."

As the No. 18 and No. 22 cars battled for position on lap 219, they made contact in turn four. The yellow flag was displayed when the No. 22 car went spinning. Sorenson restarted the Dollar General Camry from the sixth spot on lap 224. The green-flag racing was short-lived. Tightly packed coming down the frontstretch on lap 225, the No. 20 car snapped loose and the No. 10 car inadvertently made contact with him. Unable to slow the Dollar General Toyota enough, Sorenson drove into the back of his teammate, Jason Leffler, who was driving the No. 10 Camry. Paul Menard in the No. 98 entry made contact with the rear of the No. 32 car.

"How's our nose look, Trent?" Sorenson asked.

"It's good," Owens replied. "It's definitely good enough to stay out."

Hirschman echoed his agreement, "The nose looks good. There is some damage to the right front of the hood, but it doesn't look like it pushed the fender in enough to rub."

Green-flag racing resumed on lap 234 with the Dollar General Toyota in the fifth spot. As the outside line moved forward faster than the inside line, Sorenson had slipped to the eighth spot when the final caution of the night came out that same lap. The race restarted on lap 235 with the No. 32 still in eighth.

Sorenson advanced to the sixth position, but then fell back to eighth in the closing laps, to take home his 14th top-10 finish in 18 starts in the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota this season.

"We worked hard to get this top-10 tonight," said Sorenson. "The car's handling was average and was its best during the middle of the race. I think we could have worked our way up inside the top-five, but that the damage we got in those last 25 laps really hurt our chances. The Dollar General team did a great job today. I will be off next week as the team heads to Montreal with Jacques [Villeneuve] in the car. Hopefully they can get the win there. They've had great races on the road courses with him this year in the car and that's his hometown. We go to my home track the next weekend [Atlanta Motor Speedway] so I can understand wanting to get that win at home."

Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams head north of the U.S. border as they travel to Montreal, Canada and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve next weekend for the Napa Auto Parts 200.

-source: braun racing

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Drivers Jason Leffler , Trevor Bayne , Gilles Villeneuve , Kasey Kahne , Trent Owens , Reed Sorenson