BUSCH: Chicagoland: Reed Sorenson preview

No. 41 Discount Tire Team Fast Facts: * Where They Stand Now: After falling out of the NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway this past weekend and finishing 40th, the No. 41 Discount Tire team is 21st in the Busch...

No. 41 Discount Tire Team Fast Facts:

* Where They Stand Now: After falling out of the NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway this past weekend and finishing 40th, the No. 41 Discount Tire team is 21st in the Busch Series championship standings with 1,749 points. The team is 23 points out of 20th and 99 outside the top 15. Sorenson is 20th in the driver championship standings with his current season tally adding up to equal 1,664. He is 108 points out of 15th.

* On the Cup Side of Things: Unfortunately, a cut tire handed Sorenson a dose of dejà vu at Daytona International Speedway this past weekend in the No. 41 Target Dodge. The team cut the tire in the closing laps just as it did in the season opener at the 2.5-mile Florida track this past February. The team finished 34th and dropped three positions--to 24th--in the overall standings. Sorenson and crew are now 83 points out of 20th heading into this weekend's NEXTEL Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, July 9.

* NEXTEL Rookie Ranks: Sorenson maintained his third-place position in the NEXTEL Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings. He has a total of 151 points and trails leader Denny Hamlin by 43.

* Meet Reed in Joliet: Reed Sorenson will stop by the Discount Tire store located at 1719 W. Jefferson in Joliet, Ill. to meet area race fans and sign autographs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. CT Thursday, July 6.

* CGRFS Busch Duo Returns: Casey Mears, carrying the number and logo of his NEXTEL Cup car--the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, will continue his limited run in the NASCAR Busch Series competition this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. The No. 42 CGRFS Busch car made its debut at California Speedway in late February, and has since also run at Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Lowe's Motor Speedway. This weekend will be the sixth time Sorenson and Mears have teamed up in Busch Series competition this season. The No. 42 Busch car is also scheduled to run at LMS again in the fall, along with Michigan in August and California in September.

* Chassis: The No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway is chassis #555, which is the same car the team raced at the Illinois track last year when Sorenson led the field for a total of 30 laps before finishing 10th (started 19th). The last time chassis #555 was on track this year was at Texas Motor Speedway this past April, when Sorenson and the No. 41 Busch team grabbed the outside pole and went on to finish 13th. In 2005, chassis #555 had a very busy season, running at both Charlotte races in addition to Las Vegas, Texas and Chicago. It helped Sorenson and team post two top-five and four top-10 finishes, with its best run being at Texas where the team started 15th and then wrapped up the day in third place.

Reed Sorenson looks ahead to Chicagoland Speedway: "I am looking forward to racing at Chicago in the Busch car. We had a pretty good run there last year, led a few laps and finished 10th. The car definitely favored the long, green-flag runs, but not the restarts. The motor kind of laid down on us, but we still managed to squeeze a top-10 finish out of it all and were pretty satisfied with that.

"We're taking back the same car we raced there last year, which is a great car that helped us land inside the top five and top 10 more than once in 2005. We've only run it two times so far this year and grabbed a top 15 with it at Texas, but fell out of contention at Atlanta due to engine problems. We did manage to grab the outside pole at Texas, as well, so hopefully we can improve on that just a bit this weekend.

"As we embark on the second half of the Busch Series season, I am really hoping we can all regroup and start getting some solid top-five finishes that I know we are capable of. It just hasn't been our year. At the beginning of the season, if someone would've told me this was the way we would be standing at this point in the year, I would've never believed it. But, I've had a lot of guys tell me this is the way it just seems to go sometimes. You feel like you just can't catch a break. Our overall goals may have changed a little, but we still go into every weekend looking to win just like everyone else. We are just taking different approaches now and making changes that we probably wouldn't have made if things were going differently for us right now."


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Drivers Casey Mears , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson