SORENSON DRIVES FOR A CAUSE AND BRINGS HOME ANOTHER TOP-10 FINISH CONCORD, N.C. (October 18, 2010) -- It was a different look this weekend for Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General Toyota at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). Trading in its ...
SORENSON DRIVES FOR A CAUSE AND BRINGS HOME ANOTHER TOP-10 FINISH
CONCORD, N.C. (October 18, 2010) -- It was a different look this weekend for Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General Toyota at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). Trading in its traditional black and yellow colors, the No. 32 Camry sported a special pink paint scheme to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Also highlighting Friday night's spectacle under the lights was the fourth and final appearance of the Nationwide Series "new car." Sorenson powered the No. 32 Toyota to a seventh-place finish, his 18th top-10 in 23 starts with the Dollar General team.
Armed only with the data from the "new car's" performance at Daytona International Speedway in July, Michigan International Speedway in August and Richmond International Raceway in September, the Dollar General team was confident as they unloaded the No. 32 Toyota on Wednesday morning. As Sorenson turned laps around the 1.5-mile track during the Wednesday and Thursday practice sessions, the team continued to make adjustments on the car, learning with each change, how the new car would react. Sorenson turned a solid qualifying lap on Friday afternoon, reporting to crew chief, Trent Owens, that the car's handling was just a little loose. The 29.953-second lap placed him in the seventh position to start the Dollar General 300.
When the green flag dropped on the Friday night event at CMS, Sorenson found himself in the slower of the two lanes of cars. When first yellow flag of the night was displayed on lap two for an accident in turn four, he found himself in the 10th position.
"We got hung up in that bottom line on the start," Sorenson commented over the radio.
"10-4," replied crew chief, Trent Owens. "You should have a better line for this restart."
Green-flag racing resumed on lap six and as cars continued to battle for territory on the race track, Sorenson fought to maintain the 10th spot. A multi-car accident in turn two brought out the second caution of the race. AS the field slowed behind the pace car, he took the opportunity to update Owens on the car's handling.
"We're a little free," he said. "It feels like it did during practice."
The No. 32 car restarted from the 10th position on lap 16. By lap 37, Sorenson had climbed up to the eighth spot; however, he informed Owens that the car's balance was still too loose.
"We are still sliding a good bit," he said. "The back does get a lot better as we go, but overall we are just way too loose."
On lap 52, the leaders began to come to pit road for green-flag stops. Sorenson followed suit and came to pit road for fresh tires and adjustments on lap 55. The Dollar General team quickly changed the four tires, added fuel, went a half of a round down on the track bar and made air pressure adjustments. As the field cycled through the green-flag stops, the Dollar General Toyota was running in the 11th position on lap 64 when the caution flag was displayed once again.
"We're not any tighter," Sorenson told his crew chief. "The back end is all over the place. I think we need to put the track bar back in and try something different."
"10-4," replied Owens. "We'll work on a plan for our next stop."
Because the cars that did not complete green-flag pit stops came in for service during the caution, Sorenson lined the Dollar General Toyota up in the eighth position for the restart on lap 71.
Sorenson quickly overtook the seventh spot but the green-flag run was short lived. On lap 72, an accident in turn two slowed the field for the fourth time. Racing resumed on lap 77 and the No. 32 Camry moved into the sixth position on the following lap.
The green-flag run was interrupted a short time later, when NASCAR officials displayed the yellow flag on lap 81 for debris on the race track.
"Darn!" exclaimed Sorenson. "We needed that to stay green. We actually had some momentum there. The car seemed a little tighter that time."
"I agree," Owens said. "We're going to stay out here."
When the race returned to green-flag conditions on lap 86, the Dollar General Toyota was in the sixth position.
Sorenson drove up to the fifth spot, but then began to slide backwards through the field. On lap 92, the Dollar General car was in the tenth position. Sorenson keyed the radio and updated his team on the car's condition.
"The rear is as bad as the front now," he said. "We're sliding all over the place. I don't have enough rear grip to go any faster. I don't want to push it and end up backing into the wall."
"10-4," replied Owens. "We're going to get you in here soon."
While Sorenson was running in the ninth position, Owens called him to pit road for service on lap 120. The Dollar General team leapt off pit wall and changed four tires, made air pressure and wedge adjustments and packed the car with fuel. As the field cycled through the green-flag stops, the Dollar General Toyota was running in the 11th position by lap 142. As he continued to circle the track, Sorenson updated the team on the car's handling following the changes.
"We're still sliding sideways," he said. I'm really, really loose."
On lap 155, the sixth yellow flag of the night was displayed, providing the Dollar General team the needed opportunity to return to pit road for additional adjustments. Owens called for more wedge to be put into the rear of the car, air pressure adjustments and a spring rubber to be put into the left rear.
"There are only 15 cars on the lead lap," Owens reminded his crew. "Let's be sure to get all the adjustments in."
Sorenson drove the Dollar General Toyota to pit road on lap 157 for service. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires, made the adjustments and packed the Camry with fuel. Sorenson returned the No. 32 car to the track and lined up in the 12th spot for the lap 161 restart.
Sorenson powered the Dollar General Toyota up to the eighth spot by lap 170. As green-flag racing continued, he slipped back to the 10th spot once again. An accident on the frontstretch brought out the next caution of the night, gathering the field behind the pace car on lap 182. He took the break in racing to update Owens on the results of the previous adjustments.
"We start out ok and then get looser as we go," he said.
Owens prepared the team for their final pit stop, instructing them to change four tires, make a track bar adjustment and to adjust the rear shock. He called his driver to pit road on lap 183 and the Dollar General crew quickly serviced the No. 32 Camry. Because three teams chose to remain on the track, Sorenson restarted from the 13th position on lap 187.
With cars racing three-wide around the speedway, it did not take long for the caution to be displayed again on lap 188, this time for an accident on the backstretch. Sorenson restarted from the 13th position on lap 193. In the final shootout, he got up on the wheel and drove the Dollar General Toyota up to the seventh position before the checkered flag flew. The finish marked Sorenson's 18th top-10 finish and the 25th for the Dollar General team in 2010.
"The Dollar General car was really good in that last run. We battled a consistently loose-handling car for the majority of the race. Trent [Owens, crew chief] and the team worked really hard to make adjustments but no matter what we did, it wouldn't tighten up. The last run we were able to really power forward and get a solid top-10 finish. This was a great weekend for Dollar General. Not only was it their title race, but we had a lot of fun sporting the pink paint scheme in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. I want to thank them for their continued support of not only our team, but their involvement as a race title sponsor."
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams travel to Gateway International Raceway next weekend for the final NASCAR race at the Madison, IL-based track.
-source: braun racing