Bristol: Reed Sorenson race report

Sorenson kicks off 2010 Nationwide Series season with a seventh-place finish at Bristol Bristol, Tenn. (March 22, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson kicked off his 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season in the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota this weekend at ...

Sorenson kicks off 2010 Nationwide Series season with a seventh-place finish at Bristol

Bristol, Tenn. (March 22, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson kicked off his 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season in the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Sorenson started the Scotts Turf Builder 300 from the eighth position, the best start for the No. 32 team at "Thunder Valley." Battling a slightly loose condition for the majority of the afternoon, Sorenson finished in the seventh spot, the best finish for the No. 32 team at the 0.533-mile track. The team is currently fifth in the Owner's Point standings.

As the green flag dropped to signal the start of the 300-lap race, cars quickly scrambled for position. By lap 15, Sorenson had settled the Dollar General Toyota into the ninth position. When an accident in turn three brought out the first caution of the day on lap 30, the No. 32 car had slipped to the 10th spot. As he slowed the car under the yellow flag, Sorenson reported on the handling to crew chief Trent Owens.

"It is pretty loose going into the corners," he said. "The exit is good, just the entry. It seems like the track is a lot looser than it was before. I almost lost it there on lap five. I thought the car was going to snap around!"

Owens replied that they would make some adjustments as soon as they could, but to only come to pit road if the leaders did. As the cars in front of Sorenson remained on the track, so did the No. 32 Camry. After restarting from the tenth spot on lap 36, he immediately began the charge forward, picking off positions one by one.

On lap 53, the yellow flag flew once again, this time for debris on the race track. Sorenson had moved the Dollar General Toyota up to the eighth position during the last run. Again, Owens told his driver to only come to pit road if the lead cars did. As they waited to see who would come in for service, Sorenson updated him on the car's handling.

"It isn't as loose now," he said. "Let's not adjust it too much. My biggest worry is that it will tighten up. The car works the best in the middle of the track. When I move to the top, I slide a lot more."

The front-running cars remained on the track so the No. 32 followed suit. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 60. Sorenson immediately jumped out to take over the sixth position, but the continued loose condition caused him to drop back to the ninth spot by lap 82. A big wreck in turns one and two brought out the third caution of the afternoon. As clean-up crews worked to remove the damaged cars and debris, the red flag was displayed for 12 minutes. Parked on the race track, Sorenson and Owens took the opportunity to discuss the race and the car's handling.

"I'm still just too loose to turn well," Sorenson reported. "The car slides on entry but it does rotate good in the center. Also, it is loose on exit. The loose-in condition has gotten a little better from the start of the race, but it is still there. It's worse when I am on the brakes and trying to get around the lapped cars."

Owens instructed the Dollar General crew on what adjustments to make when the car came to pit road. When the clean-up was completed, the red flag was lifted and Sorenson brought the car to his team for service. The crew quickly changed four tires and made track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustments. With the car packed with fuel, the Dollar General Toyota returned to the track in the 13th position.

Nearly immediately after the lap 95 restart, Sorenson exclaimed "it feels like I have a flat or something!" The team jumped onto pit wall, ready to spring into action. Spotter Tony Hirschman quickly calmed his driver. "The left tires look good," he said. "The right sides look good, too. Feel it out for a few laps." Sorenson continued to circle the track.

Running in the 14th spot on lap 124, a multi-car accident in turn two brought out the next caution. "Sorry about that, guys," said Sorenson. "I really thought the right rear was going down at the start of that run. The car feels really good right now." The No. 32 restarted from the 11th position on lap 133.

By the time the next caution flag flew on lap 145, Sorenson had moved back inside the top-10. On lap 148, Owens called him to pit road for service. The Dollar General team quickly changed four tires with air pressure adjustments, went another round down on the track bar and added fuel. With some teams choosing not to come to pit road, the No. 32 restarted in the 21st spot when green-flag racing resumed on lap 151.

With four fresh tires, Sorenson began to climb through the field. He took over the 12th spot by lap 177; however, on lap 182 he uttered two words to the team as he struggled to maintain his position. "Too loose!"

An accident in turn two on lap 187 brought out the sixth caution of the afternoon. The yellow flag gave Sorenson the opportunity he needed to come to pit road for adjustments. Owens instructed the Dollar General team to put the last set of sticker tires on the Camry and to save the set of scuffed tires if they needed to make an additional stop before the end of the race. On lap 192, he called his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.

The race restarted on lap 197 with the Dollar General Toyota in the 15th spot. The yellow flag was quickly displayed again on lap 199 for debris on the race track.

"I'm just stuck behind these guys," said Sorenson. "I could've gone three-wide but figured it was better to be safe."

His spotter agreed with him. "Don't worry about it; we'll pick our way forward. Just be patient and keep the fenders on."

When the race restarted on lap 203, Sorenson went to work to move the No. 32 Camry towards the front. By the time a spin in turn four brought out the caution again, he had secured the 13th spot. During the next green-flag run, he continued to move forward and was running 11th when the ninth caution of the day occurred on lap 227.

Sorenson reported that the car was experiencing a slightly tight condition when he drove on the bottom of the track. Owens called him to pit road for service, instructing the Dollar General team to change four tires with air pressure adjustments and fill the car with fuel. This would be the final stop for the No. 32 team. Sorenson returned to the track for the restart but found himself deep in the field in the 19th position.

Having his work cut out for him, Sorenson began to work his way back to the front of the pack. He maneuvered his way through traffic. When the yellow flag was displayed on lap 251, the Dollar General machine was in the 14th position.

"The car feels really good now," he told the team. "I got really loose when the No. 6 was just off my bumper and took the air off me. Once I got around him it was fine."

With the No. 7 coming to pit road during the caution, Sorenson lined the No. 32 Toyota in the 13th spot for the restart. He continued to battle his way through traffic, taking over the 11th position by the time the yellow flag was displayed on lap 266.

In the closing laps, Sorenson drove his way inside of the top-10, finishing the Scotts Turf Builder 300 in the seventh position! The finish marked the best yet for the No. 32 team at the "World's Fastest Half Mile," placing them fifth in the 2010 Owner's Point standings.

"Overall, it was a long but decent day," said Sorenson. "We knew that we didn't have a great car, but we were able to walk away with a good finish, and at Bristol, that isn't a bad day. I'm really excited to be back in the car and working with the Dollar General team. We're definitely looking forward to the upcoming races at Nashville and Phoenix, two really good tracks for us."

Next Stop: Following a week hiatus, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will travel to Nashville Superspeedway April 2-3.

-source: braun racing

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Drivers Trent Owens , Reed Sorenson