REED SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM FINISH EIGHTH AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY CONCORD, N.C. (May 31, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team did not have far to travel this weekend as the NASCAR Nationwide Series headed to the...
REED SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM FINISH EIGHTH AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
CONCORD, N.C. (May 31, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team did not have far to travel this weekend as the NASCAR Nationwide Series headed to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Sorenson seldom fell out of the top-10 once he charged there from his 20th-place starting position. As the 200-lap event was extended three laps for a green-white-checkered finale in a caution-filled conclusion, Sorenson drove the No. 32 Toyota to an eighth-place finish in the TECH-NET Auto Service 300.
Despite wrestling a loose-handling car during the Saturday morning time trials, Sorenson was confident that the Dollar General Toyota would be strong under race conditions at the 1.5-mile speedway. As the green flag flew, starting the race, Sorenson quickly advanced forward. He had already moved into the 15th spot when the first caution of the afternoon occurred on lap three.
As the No. 7 car spun just ahead of the Dollar General Camry, spotter Tony Hirschman instructed his driver, "Stay down, down, down, good! The caution is out."
As the field slowed, Sorenson took the opportunity to report on the car's handling to crew chief, Trent Owens.
"It feels good, just a little squirrelly right now" he said.
Sorenson lined the No. 32 in the 13th position for the restart on lap eight. As the field drove to the start-finish line, cars began wrecking on the frontstretch, quickly bringing out the second yellow flag of the day. Owens instructed his driver to remain out on the race track. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 13 with the Dollar General Toyota restarting from the 10th spot.
As he circled the track, racing three-wide at times, Sorenson remained in the top-10. He told Owens that the car was loose in its handling, sliding a little at both ends of the race track.
"I'm going to start running the bottom in [turns] three and four to see if that helps," Sorenson said.
Owens replied, "Yeah, that lap was a lot better. Two tenths better actually!"
As the long green-flag run ensued, Owens began to instruct his team on the adjustments he wanted made on the first pit stop while Sorenson continued to update him on the car's handling.
Running in the ninth position on lap 48, Sorenson reported to his crew chief, "We lose front grip as we go. The back doesn't slide as much, but when I get aggressive on the throttle I slide the nose in the center of the turns."
As the field began to make their first pit stops under green-flag conditions, Owens called his driver to pit road on lap 56 for service and adjustments. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires, made air pressure and track bar adjustments and packed the car with fuel. As the field cycled through the green-flag stops, Sorenson returned to the ninth position by lap 70.
Sorenson reported that the car's handling had not changed much with the adjustments. "We're still loose in the middle."
Owens replied, "10-4. We'll get some air out of your left front on the next stop and see if that helps." As the run progressed and the field spread out, he continued to encourage his driver as he drove the No. 32 past lapped cars. "Just keep doing what you're doing. We're a couple of tenths faster than the No. 60 in front of you. He's your next position."
"The front definitely needs to turn better," he said. I get really "squirrelly when I get on the gas hard."
While battling the loose-handling condition, Sorenson continued to drive hard, making the pass for the eighth spot on lap 87. Owens readied his crew on the adjustments he wanted made to the Dollar General Toyota when they had the next chance to pit. That opportunity would come on lap 103 when NASCAR displayed the yellow flag for debris in turn three.
"We definitely need more front grip," he told Owens. "It feels like we are sliding the right front tire too much. I just don't want to lose too much from the rear of the car. It's handling ok."
Sorenson brought the Camry to pit road on lap 104. The Dollar General crew changed four tires with air pressure adjustments and removed a spring rubber into the right rear spring. Sorenson lined up in the 10th spot for the restart on lap 109.
He fought for position, slipping to the 11th position on lap 113. "This thing is a handful in traffic," he reported to the team.
Hirschman continued to encourage him, "Just keep picking at it. You'll get back up there."
Sorenson went to work to move the Dollar General Toyota forward through the field. On lap 119, he took over the tenth spot. He focused his sights on the ninth position, which was occupied by the No. 1 car. They battled side-by-side for a couple of laps, with the No. 32 staying tight on the low-side of the track. On lap 121, he made the pass and began to drive away.
As the Dollar General Camry circled the track, Hirschman told Sorenson to keep a close eye on his gauges. "You hit a baggie or something." As he drove past the spotter's stand again, Hirschman updated him on the bag's location. "Your grill is clear; it's over the brake opening."
As the No. 99 spun in turn four, NASCAR displayed the yellow flag again on lap 138. As he slowed the car, Sorenson reported on the car's handling following adjustments made during the previous pit stop.
"That definitely helped the front a little," he said. We did hurt the "back just a little."
Owens instructed the Dollar General crew to change four tires with air pressure adjustments made to the two front tires. Sorenson brought the Toyota to pit road for service on lap 140. With some teams electing to not come to pit road, he lined up in the 11th position for the lap 143 restart.
Sorenson went to work again to gain ground, moving up to the ninth position by lap 150. When an accident on lap 186 brought out the fifth caution of the day, the No. 32 was in the 10th spot.
"That was a lot better," Sorenson told the team. "Right now I'm just looking for a little more rear grip."
Owens instructed his team, "We're going to take four tires when we come in. Four tires and three seconds of fuel."
Owens called his driver to pit road on lap 188. The team quickly put on four sticker tires and added fuel. As he returned to the race track, Sorenson praised the Dollar General crew on their pit stop.
"Good job guys! I think if everyone had taken four tires we would have gained a spot or two!"
With some teams taking only two tires, Sorenson lined up in the 11th spot for the restart on lap 192. Before the field could complete one green-flag lap, a multi-car accident would bring out the yellow flag once again.
"Well, that's not what we wanted to see happen," Sorenson commented. "We needed it to stay green so we could use these four tires to get to the front. If we'd know they'd be wrecking again we could've gone with two."
With the Dollar General car in the 12th position, the field took the green-flag for the restart on lap 197 and was slowed less than one lap later for another accident in turn four. This caution would set the stage for a green-white-checkered finish.
Sorenson lined up in the 10th spot for the final restart on lap 201. In the final dash to the checkered flag, Sorenson charged to an eighth-place finish, marking his sixth top-10 finish in only seven starts behind the wheel of the Dollar General Toyota this season. The Dollar General team remains in the fifth position in the Nationwide Series Owner's Championship point standings.
"We had a decent car today," said Sorenson. "The team did a good job adjusting on it and had great pit stops. Eighth place isn't where we want to be though. This team is a lot better than eighth and we'll just work on figuring out what we need to do better. Now we'll focus on getting it done in Nashville. I know we are all looking forward to heading back there next weekend."
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will return to Nashville Superspeedway next weekend for the Federated Auto Parts 300.
-source: braun racing