SORENSON BATTLES THE HEAT AND TAKES A TOP-FIVE FINISH AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 27, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to the Indianapolis-based O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP) for the Kroger 200 ...
SORENSON BATTLES THE HEAT AND TAKES A TOP-FIVE FINISH AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 27, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to the Indianapolis-based O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP) for the Kroger 200 benefiting Riley Hospital for Children. As the sun fell in the night sky, the temperatures and intensity around the 0.686-mile track did not. Sorenson wheeled the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota to a solid fifth-place finish, advancing the team into the fifth spot in the Owner's Point standings.
It was a long and hot weekend in the heart of Indiana. With heat indexes soaring into the triple digits, drivers and crew members had to be very careful of the extreme temperatures. With double-duty responsibilities, Sorenson traveled between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ORP throughout the day in order to log as much time on the short track as possible. He participated in the final practice session and returned in time to qualify the Dollar General Toyota for the 200-lap short track battle under the lights of ORP.
Sorenson strapped into the Dollar General Toyota and lined up for the start in the 15th position. He went to work to quickly move the Dollar General Toyota into the top-10 by lap 16. He continued to pick positions off one by one and had overtaken the eighth spot when the first caution of the night came out on lap 76 for a spinning car on the frontstretch. He reported to crew chief, Trent Owens, on the car's handling.
"I need some help with the front," he said. "We just cannot lose rear grip. It can't be any looser than it is now. We're a little tight in the center and I have a slight chatter in the right front."
On lap 79, Owens called his driver to pit road for service and adjustments. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires, packed the car with fuel and made air pressure and wedge adjustments. The stop gained Sorenson two positions on pit road, placing the Dollar General Toyota in the sixth position for the lap 83 restart.
As green-flag racing resumed, it was evident that Sorenson had his hands full. As he slipped back to the 10th position, he reported to Owens that the car's handling had gotten dramatically loose following the last set of adjustments.
"We just don't have any rear grip," he explained.
"10-4," replied Owens. "We'll take out the half round of wedge that we put in as soon as we pit again. Just do your best in the meantime."
On lap 119, the caution was displayed for debris in turn four, giving the Dollar General team the opportunity to work on the car's handling. Sorenson drove the No. 32 to pit road for service on lap 122. The crew changed four tires, added fuel, made an air pressure adjustment and took a half round of wedge out of the left rear of the car.
As he returned to the track to prepare for the restart, he asked Owens how close was the pending rain.
"About thirty minutes," reported Owens. "At least, that's what they're telling me."
The field returned to green-flag racing on lap 126 with the Dollar General Toyota in the 12th position. Sorenson had quickly moved the No. 32 up to the ninth position when the third caution of the night came only one lap later as two cars collided in turn one.
The field returned to green-flag conditions on lap 133. On lap 141, an accident in turn two brought out the yellow flag once again. Sorenson reported to Owens that the car's handling was much improved. He restarted in the ninth position on lap 146. As cars went three-wide around the short track, hard contact was made in Sorenson's left rear quarter panel, sending the Dollar General Toyota slightly sideways. He kept the car pointed forward and quickly regained control, losing only one position. In only a few laps he took over the ninth spot once again.
On lap 162, an accident in turn three brought out the fifth caution of the night. "The car is definitely better than at the beginning of the race," Sorenson informed the team. He brought the car to pit road on lap 166 for his final pit stop and the Dollar General crew changed four tires and topped the car off with fuel. During the pit stop, the jack man was tripped up by a team member who was cleaning debris off of the grill. The time-costing stumble put the No. 32 back in the 16th position for the lap 173 restart.
Sorenson wasted no time moving the Dollar General Toyota back inside the top-10. In only 10 laps he was running in eighth and in a four-car battle to gain positions. He was just taking over the sixth spot on lap 195 when the final caution of the night was displayed for a spinning car in turn four. This set the stage for a green-white-checkered finish. On lap 200, the field returned to green-flag racing and in the final two-lap shootout, Sorenson climbed to a fifth-place finish.
"This heat made it an incredibly draining day, especially flying between the two tracks," said Sorenson. "The Dollar General Toyota started out the night needing a little more front grip. After our first stop we missed the adjustment and lost the rear grip as well. After the second adjustment, the car's handling was a lot more balanced. Unfortunately on that last stop, the jack man got tripped up and it cost us a lot of spots. Thankfully, we were able to make it back up to fifth. Next weekend will be another crazy travel weekend. I'll fly between Pocono and Iowa on Friday and Saturday. I've never raced at Iowa, but I did test there a few years ago, so it's not completely unfamiliar."
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams head to Iowa Speedway next weekend for the U.S. Cellular 250.
-source: braun racing