Contender again Driving the No. 32, Sorenson concentrates on the win
By RICK MINTER / Cox Newspapers
Reed Sorenson appears to be doing exactly what he said he would do when he stepped back to a partial Nationwide Series schedule after losing his Sprint Cup ride at Richard Petty Motorsports. He said in the preseason that he looked at his 23-race deal with Braun Racing as taking a career step back as part of a plan to eventually make a bigger step forward.
He figured that he could use his time in the No. 32 Toyota to recapture the feeling of being a contender every time out, of racing for wins instead of being mired in mid-pack. In the process he’d make himself more attractive to a Cup team owner, and he expects the job market to offer more opportunities in 2011 than it did this year.
On Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway, where in 2005 he got his first major NASCAR win, Sorenson almost got back to Victory Lane in just his second time out this season. He finished second to race winner Kevin Harvick and appeared to be gaining on the leader when the laps ran out.
“Even when there were 10 laps to go, I thought we could get [Harvick], and with five laps to go, I still thought we could,” Sorenson told reporters after the race. “I could taste it. That was a feeling that I felt in this car a few times last year, and the second time this year we’ve already felt it again.
“These guys do a great job, and I can’t wait till next weekend.”
The one-time Legends racing star was back to talking about winning, and it’s realistic, unlike many of his days on the Cup side of the garage, where his odds of winning often were slim. In four full seasons in Cup, he went winless with five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes and an average finish of 25.3. On the other hand, in his four career starts in Braun’s No. 32 Toyota, his average finish is 3.5.
“When we ran this car last year, we had a second and a third the two times I ran it,” he said. “Now I have another second. Every time I get in this car, we’re fast. These guys do a good job, and we’re going back to Phoenix next week and I’m in the car again. I look forward to that.”
The Nashville success comes at a good time for him, heading into Phoenix where he finished third last year.
“Today proved that we could do it, so we just have to keep working hard so we can get a little bit better so we can win,” he said.
And he said he’ll be in better shape when he returns to Nashville in June for the track’s second Nationwide race of the season.
“We just have to go back and look at where our problems were because we kind of fought the same problems in the race that we did in practice, so that’s a good thing,” he said. “It stayed pretty consistent …
“If we can fix those two little things that we have a problem with then we can apply it to the June race.”