Many Atlanta race fans probably remember Reed Sorenson as the adorable chubby-cheeked 12-year-old he was when he first started winning Legends car races at Atlanta Motor Speedway seven years ago.

 They may be surprised to realize that the same fresh-faced kid is now 19 and getting top praise from some of the best drivers in NASCAR.

¿He¿s got a lot of good car control and he¿s got a lot of talent. He doesn¿t do anything stupid,¿ Dale Earnhardt Jr.¿s said of the Peachtree City native after Saturday¿s Busch race in Daytona. ¿He did a good job today.¿

Sorenson raced alongside Earnhardt Jr. during much of his 9th-place finish at last weekend¿s Busch race, earning the respect of many of the same drivers he once idolized from afar.

¿I thought it was great; I followed him most of the day,¿ Kevin Harvick said. ¿I don¿t know if you guys watched him drive last year at all, but he¿s going to win a lot of races. He drove around Atlanta with the right rear tire smoking for most of the day running second or third, so I think he¿s going to do real good.¿

During the Atlanta race Harvick mentioned, Sorenson led 47 laps Atlanta and was in position to win his first Busch race at his home track until an accident with seven laps to go relegated him to 29th place.

Unbelievably, that was one of his ¿worst¿ performances during a five-race debut in 2004, which included two top-5s and three top-10s.

For Sorenson, the whole experience has been a little surreal.

¿It¿s a lot different than what you think it is on TV watching it,¿ Sorenson said. ¿I¿ve learned a lot.¿

And on Saturday, even after a phenomenal debut performance at Daytona, running in the top five most of the day, like any good racer, Sorenson wasn¿t quite satisfied.

¿I was kind of upset there at the end, but then I realized that all of those guys are Cup guys and they are pretty smart,¿ Sorenson said. ¿It was a lot of fun. I wish I could have finished top-three, but it was a good run.¿

Next month, Sorenson will return home for the March 19 Aaron¿s 312. Along with his family and friends, Sorenson will have a crowd full of locals who remember him from way back when cheering for him.

Don¿t miss your chance to see local sensation Reed Sorenson as he returns home looking for his first NASCAR win. Great seats are available for the March 19 Aaron¿s 312 starting at just $15. For more information call Ticketmaster or the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.