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Reed Sorenson No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Race Summary - Las Vegas Motor Speedway


Mar 11, 2013

Reed Sorenson made his first laps in the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Saturday morning as Friday's practice was cancelled due to rain. NASCAR Officials cancelled qualifying to allow the Nationwide series teams to practice Saturday morning, so Sorenson started the 300-mile race from the ninth position. He fell to the 11thposition by the first caution on Lap 4, called for fluid on the track. When the field went back to green-flag racing, the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford continued to fall back to the 18th position. Sorenson radioed that the Ford Mustang was not too bad in Turns Three and Four but felt like it was hitting the splitter on the bumps in Turns One and Two.

By the NASCAR Competition caution on Lap 35, the team discussed strategy to adjust the car to handle like it did earlier in the day in practice. Crew Chief Philippe Lopez called for a four-tire pit stop and chassis adjustment. Sorenson restarted in the 15th position on Lap 42 and once again feel back to the 18th spot when a two-car incident in Turn One brought out the caution on Lap 56. He told the crew that the last change hurt the car in Turns Three and Four.  Lopez called the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford down pit road for another four-tire pit stop and chassis adjustment.

The No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford restarted in the 22nd position on Lap 61 and held that spot until a single-car spin brought out the caution on Lap 83. Sorenson radioed that the No. 43 Mustang felt like it was hitting the splitter worse and losing the backend of the car. The Pilot Flying J team made a four-tire pit stop and a major chassis adjustment. The Georgia native restarted in the 21st position on Lap 87, but one lap later, the No. 6 Ford Mustang and No. 32 car were involved in an accident in Turn Four and the yellow flag waved again.

Sorenson restarted 19th and worked his way up to the 18th position when he radioed that he had to lift earlier than the leaders and was losing the frontend as well as the backend of the car. The No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford held the 18th spot, and Sorenson communicated that the Richard Petty Motorsports Mustang was getting tight into the corner and loose off the corner. By Lap 130, the team fell one lap down while racing in the 18th position. On Lap 139, NASCAR Officials called a debris caution, and Lopez asked for another four-tire pit stop and chassis adjustment. As the field restarted on Lap 145 with the Pilot Flying J Ford in the 17th position, Lopez told Sorenson that he was good to go to the finish on fuel.

Posting some of his best times, Sorenson drove the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford to the 15th position but fell back to 16th when a one-car spin in turn one brought out the caution on Lap 184. He continued to breakdown the Ford Mustang's handling to the Pilot Flying J crew and told them that the car was much better at the start but got worse as the run continued. With only a handful of cars a lap down, Lopez called the No. 43 Ford down pit road, and the RPM crew changed four tires and made another chassis adjustment.

Sorenson restarted in the 16th position on Lap 188, and one lap later, a three-car incident in turn two brought out the final caution. Sorenson held off the No. 19, 51 and 70 to cross the finish line in the 16th spot while posting his fastest lap times of the day. The top-20 finish gave the No. 43 Pilot Flying J team the 16th position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner Points.

"Today was not the finish we wanted," said Sorenson. "We had limited practice, but felt we were really good at the end of practice this morning. We were set up for the long run and made some great race runs in practice. Unfortunately, the track changed when we started the race, and our car did not handle well. The Pilot Flying J team worked really hard on adjustments during almost every caution period to try to find the handling we had in practice. We got the car a little better but not to where we hoped. We finished 16th and now have one race under our belts working together.  We can now hit the ground running in Bristol."

Richard Petty Motorsports will now prepare for next Saturday's Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. ET.

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