Sorenson Motors to a Fifth-Place Finish, Jumps to Second in Points ONTARIO, Calif. (February 26, 2005) --- Reed Sorenson spent the entire 150-lap race running in the top 10 before taking the checkered flag for the Stater Brothers 300 in fifth...
Sorenson Motors to a Fifth-Place Finish, Jumps to Second in Points
ONTARIO, Calif. (February 26, 2005) --- Reed Sorenson spent the entire 150-lap race running in the top 10 before taking the checkered flag for the Stater Brothers 300 in fifth place at California Speedway. This is Sorenson's first top-five finish of the 2005 season.
"We tested well here and at Las Vegas," Sorenson said. "In the closing laps we were down on straightaway speed so I knew we had to go on the high side and get a lot of momentum up. I came up on a lap car there and I just drove it off in there pretty deep and got on the outside of Carl Edwards. Once we got in front of him I was kind of worried that he'd get back by me but we kept him behind us. The track did not change much in after the rain delay, it was in the shade pretty much all day so it stayed about the same. My car was pretty good there at the end. One time we didn't take tires and that kind of hurt us a little bit. We were on about 10-lap older tires but other than that it was fine."
On Saturday morning, Sorenson made his way around the 2.0-mile track in 38.842 seconds to qualify fourth for the Stater Brothers 300. Due to the new NASCAR rules, the Busch Series cars practiced twice on Friday and then qualified the morning of the race on Saturday. Following the qualifying lap, the Discount Tire Dodge was impounded until the race later that afternoon.
The Discount Tire Dodge was running fifth on lap 11 when Sorenson reported that the car was running hot. The team discovered that the grill of the Discount Tire Dodge had picked up some trash on the track which caused the temperatures to rise. Using the No. 21 of Kevin Harvick, Sorenson was able to scrape the paper off and cool the car down.
When the first caution came out on lap 29, Sorenson had moved up a spot to fourth. He brought the car down pit road and the Discount Tire crew put on four fresh tires, added fuel and made a slight air pressure adjustment. When racing resumed, Sorenson took off from the fifth spot.
Sorenson quickly shot up through the field and had gained two spots within seven laps. During the second caution on lap 49 Sorenson reported that the car had once again collected some paper on the grill. Crew chief Brian Pattie decided that since the race had only been green for about 10 laps, to gain track position and get clean air the Discount Tire Team would make a quick pit stop for gas only.
The Discount Tire Dodge returned to the track on lap 53 for the restart in the second spot behind No. 32 Shane Hmiel. Hmiel did not pit with the others but stayed out for track position. Sorenson continued to run in the second spot until lap 55, when several teams who took on fresh tires began to pass him. Five laps later Sorenson was running sixth and told the crew that the "car was starting to get bad off turn 2."
The yellow came out again on lap 80 and Sorenson told the Discount Tire crew that they needed to loosen the car up some. Pattie made the call for a slight air pressure adjustment, four stickers and fuel. The Discount Tire Dodge restarted fifth on lap 84.
Sorenson continued to shuffle between running as high as fifth and as far back as eighth over the next 38 laps. When the yellow flag waved on lap 122 for light rain, Sorenson reported that the car was dragging a little bit on long runs. Pattie told him that due to the earlier overheating problems the motor lost a little power but it was still a strong car.
The race was red-flagged on lap 129 as the rain started to come down harder. After a 30 minute delay, racing resumed and Sorenson was sitting seventh with 20 laps remaining. Sorenson mounted a charge for a top-five finish and was able to pass two cars to meet that goal when he crossed the start/finish line at the end of the race in fifth. Sorenson was also the top finishing rookie of the race for the second week in a row.
Sorenson's fifth-place finish following a top-10 finish last week at Daytona, jumped him up eight spots to second in the NASCAR Busch Series championship points standings behind Cup regular Harvick. In the chase for the rookie of the year title, Sorenson is on top, just four points ahead of Carl Edwards.
The Discount Tire Dodge goes international next weekend when the team travels to Mexico City for the Telcel-Motorola 300 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The road course race will be broadcast live on FOX television on Sunday, March 6th at 3:00 p.m. EST.