Sorenson's Top-five Weekend at Gateway Comes to Screeching Halt on Lap 116
MADISON, Ill. (July 19, 2008) – Reed Sorenson and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team came to Gateway International Raceway this past weekend to defend their 2007 victory at the 1.25-mile oval. After grabbing the outside pole position earlier in the day Saturday, it looked like they were well on their way to having a repeat performance. Unfortunately, a multi-car accident on lap 116 left Sorenson literally with no where to run, damaging his car beyond repair and forcing the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) crew to say good night at Gateway way too early in 29th place.
Sorenson and team practiced, qualified and raced inside the top 10 during their entire visit to the St. Louis, Mo., area track. In the first NNS practice of the weekend, Sorenson was eighth fastest and then he closed out his pre-race preparations late Friday night with the fourth fastest speed, lapping the 1.25-mile speedway at 133.20 mph in 33.78 seconds. The top-five practice speed was just a prelude to the Fastenal Team’s qualifying effort as the blue crew grabbed the outside pole position early Saturday evening completing a 33.812-second circuit at 133.9 mph. Sorenson barely missed the top spot, as pole sitter Jamie McMurray grabbed the first-place starting position by completing a 33.809-second lap.
As the 200-lap competition got underway, it looked like history could repeat itself. Although the CGRFS NNS team was looking for more grip, they stood their ground inside the top five the majority of the first half. It was on lap 116 when everything turned around on the Fastenal Team. The first sign of trouble was as Sorenson was going into turn two and received unexpected contact from the No. 99 Toyota driven by David Reutimann. The contact almost spun the No.40 Dodge but Sorenson managed to keep his car on the track, but gave up some track position in the process of keeping his car clean. Just when he thought he was in the clear, he proceeded to turns three and four where the No. 5 Chevrolet driven by Landon Cassill made contact with the No. 29 Chevrolet driven by Scott Wimmer. The hit sent the No. 29 car directly into Sorenson’s path and left him with no way to escape as both cars crashed against the outside wall.
Sorenson climbed from his wrecked car unscathed. At first, the Fastenal Team thought they could repair the car but quickly realized after more review they would have to say good night with a disappointing 29th-place finish.
The No. 40 Fastenal team dropped two spots in the NNS owner standings—to 19th. With a current tally of 2,255, the CGRFS NASCAR Nationwide team is 180 points away from 15th.
The NNS teams head to O’Reilly Raceway Park next Saturday, July 26, to run the 22nd race of the season. The 200-lap competition is scheduled to go green at 8 p.m. ET with live coverage starting at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN.