BUSCH: Darlington: Reed Sorenson preview

* Busch Points Update: It was another strong weekend run by the No. 41 Discount Tire team and Reed Sorenson at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) last Friday, as they practiced, qualified and raced inside the top 10 all day and night.

* Busch Points Update: It was another strong weekend run by the No. 41 Discount Tire team and Reed Sorenson at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) last Friday, as they practiced, qualified and raced inside the top 10 all day and night. Unfortunately, a late hit from another car on lap 229 sent the No. 41 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) Dodge slamming into the outside wall and out of the race the remainder of the night. The hit concluded the team's night just 21 laps short of the finish line in 36th place. The late-race hit relegated the Discount Tire team to 13th in driver points and 16th in owner points.

* Racing Preparations: The No. 41 CGRFS Busch team tested at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) yesterday (May 8) and today (May 9) to prepare for the upcoming Carquest Auto Parts 300 at LMS on May 27.

* A Salute to Mothers: With Mother's Day being Sunday, May 14, NASCAR is planning to honor our favorite ladies during Saturday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pre-race festivities. Sorenson's mother, Becky Sorenson, will take part in the special driver introductions at Darlington Raceway this weekend, leading into the Dodge Charger 500.

* Meet Reed in Concord Next Week: On Thursday, May 18, Reed Sorenson will stop by the Discount Tire Store located at 575 Dickens Place NE in Concord, N.C. to meet fans and sign autographs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET. For more information, call (704) 786-2001.

* Meet Pruett, too, in Two Weeks: Scott Pruett, co-driver of the #01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus-Riley, will be at the CGRFS Concord, N.C. shop Thursday, May 25, to meet area fans and sign autographs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Copies of his three children's books, "Twelve Little Race Cars," "Twelve More Little Race Cars" and "Rookie Racer," will also be available for purchase and signing, so bring the kids to meet the 2004 Rolex Series Champion.

* CGRFS NEXTEL News & Updates: Sorenson and the No. 41 Target team had their hands full for 400 laps battling handling issues in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond last Saturday. As a result, Sorenson wasn't able to mount a serious charge for a top-10 finish. Still, he and team made it through the event unscathed, which can be a victory itself at a short track event on the NEXTEL Cup Circuit. Sorenson took the checkered flag in 23rd under the lights at the .75-mile raceway. The Target team now sits 26th in the overall standings, just 76 points out of 20th and 164 points out of 15th place. Casey Mears and the Texaco/Havoline team battled back from the 38th position on lap 125 to finish 17th at RIR. The top-20 finish boosted Mears back inside the top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings. With 16 races remaining before the "Chase for the Nextel Cup," Mears now sits 353 points out of first place. Rookie David Stremme fought the handling of the Coors Light Dodge for much of the 400-lap event as well on Saturday night at RIR. When the checkered flag waved signaling the end of the Crown Royal 400, Stremme was 33rd. He remains 37th in the NASCAR championship points standings, 323 points out of the top 20 and 492 points behind teammate Mears who is 10th.

* Rookie Ranks: Sorenson still sits fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings with 83 points. He is only 24 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.

* Chassis: It will be Chassis #451 again carrying the Discount Tire colors at Darlington Raceway this weekend in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200. The team ran the same chassis at Darlington last year (started 18th, finished 12th). It most recently ran at Bristol Motor Speedway this past March, when a late-race bump from another competitor pushed Sorenson outside the top 10 and into 30th place. The team eventually finished 27th. The same car helped the No. 41 team post a third-place and 11th-place finish at both Bristol Busch races last year. In between those two runs, it also helped Sorenson and team add another pole to their 2005 stats, grabbing the top seat at Indianapolis Raceway Park in August (finished third).

Sorenson comments on racing at Darlington Raceway:

"We had a pretty good run at Darlington last year. It was my second start there and we thought we could lock in another top 10, but the car was really tight early on and so it took multiple stops and adjustments to get the car to come around. It did improve as the night went on and we were able to get a top-15 finish out of it.

"Probably the toughest thing about racing at Darlington is you are most likely going to make contact with the wall there at some point, but the cool thing is you can just keep on trucking most of the time, as well. Racing there is just like any other track as far as how good your car is. Darlington does have a big drop off on tires so it may be extra critical that you have your car dialed in there than at some other tracks, because there's a big difference between the guys who run up front and the mid-pack. Tires fall off about a tenth every lap. It's definitely a big tire wear place."

We also reminded Reed Sunday is Mother's Day and then he talked briefly about his mom and her involvement with his racing career: "My mom took care of a lot of the business side of my racing career. All of the paper work the team needed to have done, my mom had a hand in it. She did all of that stuff and then worked for my dad, too. Both of them did a lot for me, but dad and I joked sometimes that she liked racing so much that she liked it even more than we did.

"As far as my racing goes now, it's nice my parents don't have to work so much anymore because up to this point they worked a lot. It was a lot of hard work to get me where I am today and they have been there through all of that. Now, they can just sit back and enjoy the racing.

"I think everybody whose parents have helped them pursue a dream or goal, want to give back to them everything they've given to us. I am sure one day when I have kids I'll be the same way they were with me. I don't know if you can ever really pay your parents back though. You would like to, but there is probably nothing you could ever do to match what they did for 15 years when I was growing up racing. A lot of money was spent and time taken to help me through it all. I'll definitely never forget everything they did and still do for me."

What would Becky Sorenson like to get from Reed this Mother's Day? "He [Reed] is pretty good about getting me stuff throughout the year and I like it when he gets me stuff out of the blue. He got me a guitar signed by George Strait out of the blue one time during a concert he went to. So, I am not really expecting anything this weekend, except a win on Friday or Saturday would be nice. He won his first and only ARCA race on Father's Day two years ago, so he owes me," she says jokingly.


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Drivers Casey Mears , Scott Pruett , Chip Ganassi , David Stremme , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing