SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM CHARGE TO A TOP-FIVE FINSIH UNDER THE LIGHTS OF RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Richmond, Va. (September 13, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team made their second annual visit to Richmond ...
SORENSON AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM CHARGE TO A TOP-FIVE FINSIH UNDER THE LIGHTS OF RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Richmond, Va. (September 13, 2010) -- Reed Sorenson and the Dollar General team made their second annual visit to Richmond International Raceway this weekend. Highlighting the weekend was the third appearance of the series' "new car." Battling a loose-handling condition during qualifying, Sorenson started the 250-lap race from the 18th position. With fierce determination, he was running fifth when the checkered flag fell, earning the No. 32 Dollar General team their 10th top-five finish this season.
As the sun set in the Virginia sky, Nationwide Series teams prepared for the battle under the lights at Richmond International Raceway. When the green flag dropped, Sorenson immediately went to work to move towards the front. The first yellow flag was displayed early in the race for an accident in turn two on lap 10. Sorenson, who had already moved inside of the top-15, took advantage of the pause in racing to report on the car's condition to crew chief, Trent Owens.
"We're still a little loose," Sorenson said. "Also, the splitter is scraping with the low tire pressures. We need a few more laps to see if it's going to keep it up."
"Ok," replied Owens. "We're going to stay out; it's still too early to come in."
The No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was in the 14th position when the field returned to green-flag racing. Sorenson continued to overtake positions and was running in 11th when a spinning car brought on the next caution on lap 35. While the field slowed behind the pace car, he updated Owens on the Camry's handling.
"We don't' have very good forward bite and we're a little tight in the center of the turn," he said. "I just don't want to hurt the center too much. Can we make small changes each time instead? Also, the splitter is still hitting pretty bad on the right side."
"10-4," replied Owens. "We'll go one round down on the track bar and take a half pound out of the left rear if we come in. Let's see what the leaders do."
A moment later, Owens instructed his driver to remain on the track. The race restarted on lap 41 with Sorenson in the 10th position. He held strong to the position until the No. 88 came charging through the field on new tires. As the long green-flag run continued, he was also passed by the No. 7 and No. 6 cars, both on fresh tires.
As teams began to make green-flag pit stops, Sorenson moved into the ninth spot by lap 108. The following lap, Owens called his driver to pit road for service. The Dollar General crew quickly changed four tires made air pressure, track bar and wedge adjustments and packed the Camry with fuel. With part of the field on a different pit sequence, it took longer for teams to cycle through the green-flag stops. It was lap 132 when the Dollar General Toyota was back on the lead lap and returned to a position inside of the top-10.
Sorenson continued to pick off positions and was running sixth when NASCAR officials displayed the yellow flag again on lap 143 for oil on the race track.
"We're free in and a little snug in the center," Sorenson told Owens. "The car felt a little better with those changes. If I had to put it to scale, I'd say we're a 'five' loose-in and a 'three' tight-center. I felt like we were faster that run and more balanced."
"10-4," said Owens. He then instructed the team to take a half pound out of the right rear tire, change four tires and add fuel when Sorenson came to pit road. He called Sorenson in on lap 144. The Dollar General crew quickly serviced the car, making the changes that Owens had ordered. Sorenson lined up in the eighth spot for the restart on lap 149.
Sorenson immediately found himself battling for position around the 0.75-mile track. He had slipped back to the 11th position when the No. 21 had a tire explode while driving in turn four, bringing out the fourth caution of the night on lap 156.
"I don't think we were as good that time," he told the team. "We felt looser going into the turns."
"We took a half pound out of the right rear," replied Owens. "We'll put that back in and see if that was the culprit."
"I don't know what caused it," said Sorenson. "It could have just been because it was such a short run. One thing in have noticed is that it's hard to get going on new tires. When I try to go hard, I just don't have any grip. We're definitely hitting that splitter pretty good, too."
The race returned to green-flag conditions on lap 162 with the Dollar General Toyota restarting from the 10th position. The yellow flag was quickly displayed for the fifth time on lap 165 for an accident in turn two.
"Man, I'm so sorry," Sorenson told Owens. "I just can't get going on the restart. The outside just isn't good for us."
"No problem," Owens said. "You'll get the inside for this restart so that should help."
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 170 with the No. 32 car in the 11th spot. Sorenson found himself in a three-wide battle and charged forward into the eighth position by lap 175. As he circled the track, he reported to Owens that there was a significant chatter in the nose of the car.
"Keep doing what you're doing," Owens told him. "The cars in front of you are starting to come back to you now."
An accident in turn two caused the yellow flag to be displayed once again. The field slowed and Sorenson, circling the track in eighth, reported on the car's handling.
"We're ok, we just have some front end chatter," Sorenson told the team. "The brakes are still working well, they just shake pretty bad."
When pit road was opened, Owens called his driver in for service. He instructed the crew to change the four tires with air pressure adjustments, to go one round down on the right-side track bar and to put one round of wedge into the left rear. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 211, the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was in the ninth position.
Sorenson quickly moved through the field and was inside of the top-five by lap 212. He continued to chase down the lead cars, but as the laps wound down, he took the checkered flag in the fifth position. The finish gave the No. 32 Dollar General team their 10th top-five and 22nd top-10 finish of the season.
"We had a solid car tonight," said Sorenson. "The Dollar General team did a great job and the pit crew had a good night. We were able to get up into the top-10 pretty quick and then we just kept working on the car's handling each time we came to pit road. I think if we could have had one more caution at the very end, we might have nosed our way to the front. That last run was definitely our best and the car was really fast. We learned a lot here this weekend, but like everyone, we have a lot to still learn about these 'new cars.'"
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will enjoy a weekend off before heading to Dover International Speedway in two weeks.
-source: braun racing