Chicagoland: Reed Sorenson race report

SORENSON FINISHES EIGHTH UNDER THE LIGHTS OF CHICAGOLAND IN THE DOLLAR GENERAL 300 POWERED BY COCA-COLA JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2010) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) returned to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend for the annual battle under...


JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2010) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) returned to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend for the annual battle under the Joliet, Illinois night sky. As the sun dipped behind the grandstands, Reed Sorenson strapped into the No. 32 Dollar General Camry and focused on charging to the front from his 20th-place starting position. Sorenson drove to an eighth-place finish in Friday night's Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola, marking his 10th top-10 finish of the season.

Friday was a busy day for NNS teams, packed with two practice sessions, qualifying and the 200-lap event. As the race began, drivers were not exactly sure what handling to expect of their cars as the sun set on the warm and humid evening. As the green flag flew, Sorenson went to work to advance his Camry through the field. He climbed into the top-15 in only 14 laps.

As he circled the track, he reported to crew chief, Trent Owens, that the car felt like it had a loose wheel. As he powered around the 1.5-mimle speedway, he reported that the unidentifiable condition continued. Owens told his driver that they would come to pit road earlier than planned to evaluate the situation.

As the long run progressed, Sorenson remained in the 14th position and reported that the condition was resulting in a lack of front grip, especially going into the center of the turns. On lap 54, Owens called him to pit road where the Dollar General crew serviced the No. 32 with four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. As the pit stop cycled through, Sorenson found himself in the 13th spot by lap 59. He reported to Owens that the car's handling felt "darty," especially down the straightaways.

The first caution of the night came at lap 70 for an accident in turn three. Running in 13th when the yellow flag was displayed, Sorenson updated Owens on the car's handling. "The balance is good," he said. "We are about as free as we can have it, though."

Sorenson came to pit road on lap 71 for four tires, an air pressure adjustment and fuel. The Dollar General crew took extra time to examine the front suspension, looking for the cause of the "darty" sensation that their driver continued to experience. Confirming that both tie rods were tight, they returned the Toyota to the track for the restart in the 15thposition.

By lap 91, Sorenson drove the Dollar General Camry into the top-10. He reported that the he was now experiencing a tight-handling condition. He continued to climb through the field, advancing to the seventh position on lap 126. As the run progressed, the car's handling loosened again.

As leaders began making their next round of pit stops under green-flag conditions, Sorenson came to pit road on lap 133 for four new tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. As the stops cycled through, he returned to the 10th position on lap 136.

The second caution of the night came on lap 142 for debris on the racetrack. Owens called his driver to pit road on lap 143. He instructed the crew that it would be a fuel-only pit stop, electing to save their final set of Goodyear tires for a final stop. The team also pulled a piece of tape from the front grill to combat the rising water temperature that Sorenson had reported. He restarted from the 10th spot on lap 148.

Sorenson battled against cars with fresher tires and maintained his position of 10th until the yellow flag was displayed again on lap 186 for debris. Owens called him to pit road for service on lap 186. The crew quickly changed four tires and topped the car off with fuel. The No. 32 lined up in the 12th spot for the restart on lap 191.

With new tires, Sorenson quickly drove up to the 10th position again. A multi-car accident that littered the front stretch with wreckage brought out the fifth and final caution of the night on lap 197, setting the stage for a green-white-checkered finish. On lap 201, the field returned to green-flag racing. In the final two-lap shootout, Sorenson climbed to an eighth-place finish.

"It was a frustrating evening for everyone on the Dollar General team tonight," said Sorenson. "We had a fast car, but some unexplainable handling issues prevented us from getting the finish we deserved. Thank you to everyone at Dollar General. This was a special night for them being the title sponsor of the Nationwide race here at Chicagoland. I had hoped we'd be able to celebrate with them in their victory lane. We'll take the car back to the shop and see what we can find. We'll move onto Gateway, which has been a good track to me in the past. I had a great run with this team last year, too. Hopefully we can get the monkey off our back and bring home some hardware."

Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams heads to Gateway International Raceway next weekend for the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250.

-source: braun racing

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Drivers Trent Owens , Reed Sorenson