SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM TAKE FOURTH AT THE "MONSTER MILE" DOVER, Del. (September 27, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to the "Monster Mile" this weekend for the Dover 200. Despite battling a loose-handling...
SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM TAKE FOURTH AT THE "MONSTER MILE"
DOVER, Del. (September 27, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to the "Monster Mile" this weekend for the Dover 200. Despite battling a loose-handling condition during Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series event, Sorenson never fell outside of the top-10. The combination of solid driving and flawless pit stops during the 200-mile race earned the No. 32 team their second fourth-place finish at Dover International Speedway in 2010.
Sorenson fought a tight-handling car during the Friday afternoon practice session at the one-mile track. Adjustments by the Dollar General crew improved the car's balance and his 23.563-second lap in Saturday morning's time trials placed the No. 32 Camry in the sixth position to start the 200-lap race.
As he climbed into the Dollar General Toyota prior to the race, Sorenson was confident that the car would be strong under race conditions. As the green flag dropped to signal the start of the Dover 200, he quickly went to work, moving inside the top-five. Throughout the long green-flag run, he reported that he was battling a loose-handling condition in the rear of the car. While the No. 32 was running in the fourth position, an accident in turn four brought out the first caution of the day on lap 71. As the field slowed behind the pace car, he updated his crew chief, Trent Owens, on the car's balance.
"The car feels good," Sorenson told his team. "It's just a tick on the loose-side, but it felt really good during a long run."
Owens called his driver to pit road for four tires and adjustments. The Dollar General crew quickly put on four new Goodyear tires with an air pressure adjustment, made a track bar adjustment and packed the Camry with fuel. Sorenson restarted fifth as the race returned to green-flag conditions.
Sorenson immediately reported that the car's handling was extremely loose, slipping back to the sixth position.
"We are loose!" he bellowed. "Really, really loose!"
Owens replied, "Just do the best you can to hold on and we'll get you some help the next time in."
Sorenson settled into the seventh position as he continued to wrestle with the loose-handling car. 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 112 when NASCAR displayed the yellow flag for an accident on the backstretch.
Sorenson brought the Camry to pit road on lap 114. The Dollar General crew changed four tires, made air pressure and wedge adjustments and packed the car with fuel. The crew's quick service gained him a position as he drove off of pit road. Sorenson lined up in the sixth spot for the restart on lap 118.
With the car's handling much improved, Sorenson began to move forward. He had overtaken the fourth position when the caution flag flew on lap 135 for a multi-car accident in turn four. The intense impact of the No. 88 and No. 27 cars littered the track with debris, requiring NASCAR to display the red flag as the safety crews worked to remove the mess. As the field sat parked on the track, Owens and Sorenson discussed their pit strategy.
"If we come to pit road now, we'll be ok on fuel until the end," Owens told his driver. "If we don't, my concern is that the cars behind you will come and then you'll lose track position to them when we pit later. I think we need to come if the leaders come to pit road."
"I agree," Sorenson replied. "I'll follow the leaders."
"10-4," confirmed Owens.
Ten minutes later, the yellow flag was displayed and the cars began to circle the track once again. As the leaders drove to pit road, Sorenson followed suit. The crew quickly put four sticker tires on the Dollar General Toyota and topped it off with fuel. Their rapid service gained Sorenson another position on pit road; however, because the No. 1 car remained on track during the caution, the No. 32 was placed in the fourth position for the restart on lap 142.
Sorenson worked to gain ground but the persistent lack of rear grip continued to hinder his progress. He fought to pass the No. 1 car and keep the No. 60 behind him. The No. 60 made a sweep to the outside, moving the No. 32 to the fifth position. A two-car accident in turn two brought out the fourth and final caution of the afternoon on lap 161.
"I'm just too loose to pass anyone at the start of the run," Sorenson reported to the team. "The car's handling is better in the later laps."
Returning to green-flag racing on lap 166, Sorenson overtook the fourth position only five laps later. He continued to chase down the lead cars, gaining ground with each lap but unable to catch them before the checkered flag was displayed. The fourth-place finish gave the No. 32 Dollar General team their 11th top-five and 23rd top-10 finish of the season.
"We had a really smooth day here at Dover," said Sorenson. "We had a fast car and we qualified good. We ran well all day and were really consistent. We were just a bit too loose all day. We were able to make adjustments and got the car handling better, but it felt like we were just one more step away from making it perfect. We did everything we could and just needed a longer race. Everybody on the Dollar General team did a great job, the pit crew had their best day this year and we were able to get a nice top-five finish."
-source: braun racing