SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM FINISH 22ND AFTER A WILD RIDE IN DAYTONA DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team ventured to Daytona Beach for the NASCAR Nationwide Series' second appearance this...
SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM FINISH 22ND AFTER A WILD RIDE IN DAYTONA
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team ventured to Daytona Beach for the NASCAR Nationwide Series' second appearance this season at Daytona International Speedway. Highlighting the return was the series' historical debut of the "new car." After qualifying 32nd in a back-up car, Sorenson dropped to the 42nd position for the start of the Jalapeño 250 because the team had to make repairs to the No. 32 Camry following the time trials. He had driven the Dollar General Toyota up to the 13th position when the right front tire exploded in the final laps, relegating him to a 22nd --place finish.
Having led the Wednesday test session, the No. 32 team went into Thursday's second practice with confidence. Their resolution was short-lived as the Dollar General Camry fell victim to a blown left rear tire after running over a block of lead that another car had lost from its frame rail on the track. The damage to the car was devastating and the team was forced to unload the backup. They worked feverishly throughout the remainder of the practice session to prepare the car. Only able to make a limited number of laps during final practice, the team headed into Friday's qualifying session not knowing what to expect.
As the Dollar General team arrived early Friday morning, they were welcomed by a steady rain. As the drops subsided, cars lined up to begin the afternoon time trials. Sorenson logged a fast lap in 50.209 seconds, securing the 32nd position for the start of the evening's race. During the two laps, the bottom of the car made contact with the track's surface and sustained damage that required the team's attention before the race.
Due to NASCAR's impound rules, the No. 32 was placed to the back of the field and Sorenson prepared to take the green flag from the 42nd position. He thanked his crew for all of their hard work during the past couple of days and then set his sights on getting a finish that would make their efforts worthwhile. Within the first five laps under the lights, Sorenson drove up to the 30th spot. As the car circled the track, sparks continued to fly out from underneath. Crew chief, Trent Owens, assured his driver that they were working on a plan of action for the first pit stop. That opportunity came on lap seven for a multicar accident in turn four.
On lap eight, Sorenson brought the No. 32 down pit road for adjustments. Owens instructed the Dollar General crew to add fuel and make aggressive wedge adjustments in both the front and the rear of the car. Sorenson lined his Camry up in the 37th position for the restart on lap 11. He began his charge once again, gaining 10 spots in only four laps.
Running 26th on lap 32, Sorenson reported that the car's handling was a little loose. Running alone, he was determined to catch the pack in front of him.
"There you go," Owens told him. "You are starting to narrow the gap to that next group."
By lap 30, Sorenson caught the next pack and made the pass for the 25th position. He had moved up to 24th when the next caution was brought out on lap 32 by a spinning car on the frontstretch. As the field slowed behind the pace car, Sorenson reported on the car's balance.
"We're turning good right now," he said. "A little too good, actually. We need to tighten up the outside just a little."
He brought the Dollar General Toyota to pit road on lap 35. The crew quickly changed four tires with air pressure adjustments, went one round down on the track bar and packed the car with fuel. Their fast work gained Sorenson valuable track position.
He praised the crew on their solid pit stop, "Good job guys!"
He lined up 20th for the restart on lap 37. After a few laps, Sorenson came on the radio and reported on the changed handling of the car.
"We're really loose," he said. "I can't run the top at all."
He continued to climb through the field, taking over the 16th spot on lap 56. As he continued to work to maintain control over the car, he slipped back to 18th.
"We're all over the place," he reported. "I feel out of control. Every time I hit a bump, it travels on the right front and feels like we gain about three degrees of camber. Then it takes off to the left."
When the yellow flag was displayed again on lap 69, Sorenson also reported that the car's balance felt different event under the caution speed.
"It's riding a lot rougher," he said. "It's bouncing a lot more under caution than it did at the beginning of the race."
"Does it feel like something broke?" asked Owens. "We'll take a look at the suspension when you come in for the next pit stop."
Sorenson brought the car to his pit stall on lap 71 for service. The Dollar General crew changed four tires with an air pressure adjustment, added multiple rounds of wedge on both sides in the rear of the car and packed the car with fuel. The team confirmed that the suspension was intact, but some blistering on the right front tire may have contributed to the handling issues reported by Sorenson. He restarted on in 19th on lap 75.
With the car's handling much improved, Sorenson climbed into the top-15. On lap 93, he was running in the 13th position when NASCAR officials began talking about possible debris on the race track. Suddenly the No. 98 blew a right front tire. Just as the caution flag was displayed, Hirschman reported that the No. 32 also suffered the same fate in turn three.
"I'm coming to pit road row," Sorenson said. "We had no warning with that one. It just blew."
He quickly drove the car to his pit stall where the crew quickly changed the four tires. Because he came down pit road before it was open, NASCAR rules mandate that he restart from the tail end of the longest line. He was placed in the 27th position for the restart. As he circled the track and prepared for the green-white-checkered finish, he and Owens discussed their evening.
"The car was good that last run," Sorenson said.
"It helped getting that spoiler up in the air," said Owens. "These cars are aero-loose so we have to set them up to be mechanically tight. That's abusive on those right front tires."
"Where were we right before the tire blew?" Sorenson asked.
"13th," answered Owens. "Almost a top-15 out of this crazy week."
On lap 100, the field returned to green-flag racing. In the final two-lap shootout, Sorenson climbed to a 22nd-place finish.
"Well, we definitely had our share of bad luck this weekend at Daytona," said Sorenson. "Having to go to a back-up Dollar General Toyota cost us a lot of practice time. Fortunately Nationwide qualifying didn't rain out and we were able to run two laps. We were bottoming out really bad. So bad that we made repairs to the car and started from the back of the field. Trent and the guys did a great job adjusting on the car and with our pit stops. We were really good in the final runs. We were running 13th when the right front tire just exploded. We almost had a good finish despite everything but the tire pretty much ended that. Still, we learned a lot here this week and will be a lot further along when we race these new cars at Michigan."
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams heads to Chicagoland Speedway next weekend for the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola.
-source: braun racing