Loudon: Reed Sorenson race report

REED SORENSON FINSIHES EIGHTH IN THE DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY LOUDON, N.H. (June 28, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend for Saturday's New England 200.


LOUDON, N.H. (June 28, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team traveled to Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend for Saturday's New England 200. Turning in a solid performance, Sorenson earned his ninth top-10 of the season with his eighth-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). The No. 32 team is credited with a total of 14 top-10 finishes this year and is currently sixth in the Nationwide Series Owner's Championship point standings.

Despite the threat of approaching rain on Saturday afternoon, the NASCAR Nationwide Series teams prepared for the 200-lap race at NHMS. Confident that the car would be solid in race trim, Sorenson climbed into his Dollar General Toyota and lined up in the 12th position. As soon as the green flag dropped, he immediately went to work and advanced the No. 32 inside the top-10 by lap six. On lap seven, the first caution of the day was brought out by an accident in turn one. Running in the 10th spot, Sorenson took the pause in green-flag racing to report on the car's handling to his crew chief, Trent Owens.

"The car feels good," he said. "It is just a little bit free, but overall pretty good."

"10-4," replied Owens. "Pit road is open but we're staying out."

The race resumed on lap 11 with the Dollar General Toyota in the 10th position. Sorenson continued to work his way forward, taking over the seventh spot on lap 20. As the race remained under green-flag conditions and it became apparent that the first pit stop of the afternoon would not occur during a caution, Owens asked his driver what he would like changed in the car's handling.

"We're sliding the nose too much right now," Sorenson told him. "I don't think we can afford to free the rear of the car any more than it already is, but we need to gain some front grip somehow."

"We'll get you some help," said Owens. "We'll pit about lap 74."

As the cars continued to battle it out around the flat, 1.058-mile track, Sorenson held strong to the seventh position but came on the radio and told his team, "I don't think I have front tires left."

On lap 74, Owens called his driver to pit road for service and adjustments. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires, making air pressure and wedge adjustments and packing the car with fuel. Because the rear window strap had become loose while racing, NASCAR officials required the team to fix it before returning the car to the race track. The extra time on pit road was costly. As teams cycled through the green-flag pit stops, the No. 32 team found itself in the 14th position.

Sorenson had charged up to 12th when the second yellow flag was displayed for an accident in turn two on lap 94. As the field slowed behind the pace car, he updated Owens on the car's handling.

"It's a lot better after those changes but still a little too loose," he said. "I just can't get any looser in the back of the car."

Owens called him to pit road as he instructed the crew on the next set of adjustments. "Put one round of wedge into the left rear and go one round down on the track bar," he told them. Sorenson came down pit road on lap 95 and the team quickly put on four scuffed tires, made the adjustments and topped the Toyota off with fuel before returning it to the track. Their performance put the No. 32 in the 11th spot for the restart on lap 100.

As they returned to green-flag racing, drivers battled for position. Sorenson drove the Dollar General Toyota to the inside of two cars, making it a three-wide battle for 10th. As he overtook the position, he reported to his team that the car's handling was now incredibly loose. Spotter, Tony Hirschman, calmed his driver as he circled the track, reassuring him that the car's handling would change within a few laps.

"Keep running smart here," said Hirschman. "Let's see what direction it goes in."

On lap 108, Sorenson came on the radio and updated his team on the car's handling. "It is definitely a LOT looser in both the back and the front now, especially when I get back on the gas."

"We'll take some of those changes back out as soon as we can," Owens replied.

He continued to hold onto both the car and the 10th position as the green-flag run progressed. Oil on the track brought out the yellow flag on lap 147, giving the Dollar General team the opportunity to pit and make additional adjustments. As predicted, the car's handling had changed during the course of the 40 laps.

"We tightened up on that long run," Sorenson told Owens. "I put some front and rear brake back in, but it's about as free as I can handle it. Right now we're free on entry and exit, but tight in the center."

On lap 147, he brought the Dollar General Camry to pit road. The No. 32 crew changed four tires with air pressure adjustments, put a spring rubber into the left rear, took one round of wedge out and filled the car with fuel. As he drove off of pit road, he was forced to dodge a car exiting its pit stall. Sorenson restarted from the 11th position on lap 152. He quickly went to work and regained the lost ground, moving into the ninth spot by lap 164.

With 25 laps remaining in the race, Sorenson told the team that the car's balance was a lot better. The final caution of the afternoon was brought out on lap 178 for another accident in turn two. Owens instructed his driver to remain on the track, confident that the leaders would as well. On lap 183, the No. 32 remained in the ninth spot as the field returned to green-flag racing.

In the final laps, Sorenson gained an additional position to bring the No. 32 home in eighth. The finish is the No. 32 Dollar General team's 14th top-10 of the season.

"That last run was the best the car felt all day," said Sorenson after the conclusion of the race. "We battled a tight condition on exit. Trent and the Dollar General guys did a great job adjusting on the car and improving the balance by the end. We definitely expected to run better here today, but will take what we learned with this set-up and apply it to our next flat track, which is Gateway in a few weeks. That's one of my favorite tracks, so I'm really looking forward to getting back there with this team."

Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams heads to Daytona International Speedway next weekend for the SUBWAY Jalapeño 250 Powered by Coca-Cola. LIVE coverage for the Friday night race begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and on MRN Radio affiliates. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 8:00 p.m.

-source: braun racing

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Drivers Trent Owens , Reed Sorenson