2013 Daytona 500: Reed Sorenson returns to Nationwide Series, focused on future

Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Reed Sorenson doesn’t like to talk about the situation that unfolded in 2011 when he was removed from his Nationwide Series ride with just a handful of races remaining. At the time, he was third in the championship battle, just 49 points out of first place when Steve Turner suddenly fired him on October, 4.

Sorenson spent the remainder of the season looking for one-off rides and ultimately finished the season in fifth, 160 points behind champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. While he’s still confused about what happened, Sorenson would rather look towards the future as he returns to the Nationwide Series full-time for The Motorsports Group in 2013 after stringing together several different Sprint Cup rides last season.

The deal came together pretty quickly. In fact, Sorenson hadn’t even met his crew chief (Gary Showalter) until Speedweeks since the team didn’t test at all during the off-season. Sorenson says he and team owner Curtis Key had been talking for a while and once both sides expressed an interest, a deal was struck fairly quicker.

“Curtis is just a racer at heart,” Sorenson said of what drew him to Key. “He’s been around for a while and he wants to win. We’re running up against Cup Series teams, and their resources, but he’s a guy that wants to keep making his cars better.

The team expects to run the full-schedule and is hopeful about their Daytona chances. The restrictor plate levels the field, and Sorenson hopes, makes the race come down to talent and strategy rather than horsepower. That said, Sorenson knows that luck will have to be on his side in the tandem draft as well.

“These races are all about timing,” Sorenson told SB Nation before the race. “You have to miss the wrecks, the big one is always looming, and hopefully you’ll be there at the end.”

Last year’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona was decided on a last turn, last lap accident that took out the first seven cars. James Buescher who was running eighth at the time, surged through the melee and scored a fairly improbable victory. Sorenson knows that circumstances could easily favor him in today’s Drive4COPD300. He expects the intensity of the race to really increase with about 10 laps to go followed by general unpredictability.

“If you have a shot with 10 laps to go, you don’t have a chance but to go all out for the win,” Sorenson said. “If you made through all the other wrecks and 290 miles, you never know when you’ll get another chance to win one of these races so we’re going to.

Sorenson plans on working with the no. 51 of Jeremy Clements but acknowledged that over the course of a race anything could happen and circumstances could pair you with any of the other 39 cars.

Sorenson hopes to someday return to the Sprint Cup Series in a full-time role but acknowledged that it’s more important that he just have a chance to win. Sorenson started off in the grassroots and ran several seasons in the Sprint Cup Series for Chip Ganassi and he wants to get back to being competitive on a week-to-week basis.

For Sorenson, the journey to arrive full circle starts today at Daytona.

“This is a big opportunity for us to run well and get a good,” Sorenson said. “I enjoy racing here in February and I just want to get out there and race so we can work on the rest of the season.”

Sorenson drives the no. 40 e-Swisher Chevrolet for The Motorsports Group and will start the DRIVE4COPD300 in 39th place.

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