Sorenson Returns To Home Track For ASA Test
Thursday, April 29, 2004
The last time Reed Sorenson raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he was in a Legends car circling the tight quarter-mile track in front of a local crowd of about 2,000.
Thursday, Sorenson took his first laps around the 1.54-mile quad-oval track in a race car at about 170 mph preparing for the Oct. 29 ASA 150, which could draw upwards of 75,000 fans.
My, how times change.
¿It¿s a whole lot different being on the big track,¿ said Sorenson, 18 and a senior at Woodward Academy in Atlanta. ¿This is pretty exciting for me to be back at my home track, testing a full-size race car.¿
Sorenson posted the sixth-fastest lap of the day ¿ and the fastest speed of the day¿s third session ¿ recording a lap at 169.869 mph (32.637 seconds). He tested with 27 other American Speed Association (ASA) racers, including Travis Kittleson, who posted the quick lap of the day at 171.386 mph (32.348 seconds).
¿We¿ve been waiting a long time for this,¿ said Becky Sorenson, Reed¿s mom. ¿It¿s so good to see him racing on the big track. He¿s logged thousands of miles on the quarter-mile track, but nothing on the 1½-mile track.¿
And for a young racer with little experience on superspeedways, Thursday¿s test was especially impressive. It¿s that kind of natural talent that Chip Ganassi saw when he signed Sorenson as a development driver.
Sorenson will make his ARCA debut with Ganassi Racing at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway on May 27, but it¿s the ASA 150 at Atlanta Motor Speedway that he¿s most looking forward to. And for good reason ¿ not only will he be racing at his home track, he will also likely be a favorite to win.
So will his former Legends racing competitor, Doug Stevens. Stevens, 27, spent many summers battling Sorenson on the quarter-mile track during Atlanta¿s summer racing series, Thursday Thunder.
In the 2001 season, Sorenson bested Stevens ¿ a four-time Thursday Thunder champion ¿ by just six points for his first Pro division championship. It was the only time Stevens ran the full 10-week summer racing schedule and did not win a championship.
Stevens was 11th fastest Thursday, posting a lap at 167.939 mph (33.012 seconds). Another Georgia resident, Jimmy Henderson of Conyers, was third quickest with a lap of 170.911 mph (32.438 seconds).
Teams spent the majority of Thursday getting used to the effects of the ¿donut,¿ or engine restrictor, which will be utilized at the races at Atlanta and Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The ASA teams will return Oct. 29 for their 100-lap event, part of the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend. The ASA 150 will take place immediately following NEXTEL Cup qualifying on Friday¿s Georgia-Pacific Qualifying Night.
ASA, a late model national touring division, has a history of cultivating future NASCAR champions. Darrell Waltrip, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Matt Kenseth, Johnny Benson and Jimmie Johnson all raced in ASA early in their careers.
Tickets for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend start at $69 for a three-day weekend package and are on sale through the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office and Ticketmaster.