By AMANDA VINCENT
Reed Sorenson has a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride, at least for the Feb. 21 running of the Daytona 500 series season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Even though a press release and published reports in January had Hillman Racing being absorbed into Premium Motorsports, Hillman Racing distributed a press release on Tuesday that put Sorenson in its No. 40 Chevrolet for Daytona. Pat Tryson will be crew chief.
“When I first met with Reed a few weeks ago, I could see the fire in his eyes to get back into NASCAR’s premier series and compete with the best in the sport,” team owner Mike Hillman said. “He shares the same desire that we have as an organization and teaming with him with Pat Tryson gives us the best chance at securing a spot in the 40-car Daytona 500 field. With 36 cars already locked into the field before we even get to SpeedWeeks, I hope that the fans are able to find some excitement cheering for an underdog story like our as we battle for one of four open starting positions.”
Hillman Racing was not one of the teams receiving a charter under the NASCAR charter system announced for the Sprint Cup Series on Tuesday. Those charters guarantee the 36 recipients spots in a reduced 40-car starting field.
“While we are absolutely disappointed with our exclusion from the new charter system, we have sponsors, partners and friends that have stood behind us, and for that I am truly grateful,” Hillman said. “I’ve poured my heart and soul
– literally my blood, sweat and tears – into building a competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup team over the past three years, and to be told one week prior to the sport’s biggest event of a complete overhaul of the framework of the Series is disheartening. For the time being, I will instead focus on the positives and that we have a great partner like CRC Industries that will allow me to continue to realize my lifelong dream of fielding a car in the Daytona 500.”
Front row qualifying for the Daytona 500 will be Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. The rest of the field will be determined by Can-Am Duel races, scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 18.
Sorenson’s has six-career Daytona 500 starts that include two top-10 finishes (fifth and ninth). In all, Sorenson has 234-career Sprint Cup starts, resulting five five top-fives and 15 top-10 finishes. He competed part-time in the Sprint Cup Series last season. He last ran full-time in the series in 2014. Prior to that, his most recent full-time season at the Sprint Cup level was 2009.
“You always want to start the season with the opportunity to go to Daytona and have a chance to compete in the Daytona 500,” Sorenson said. “I’m confident in the equipment at Hillman Racing, and given the team’s performance on the superspeedways over the past two seasons, I’m looking forward to racing the CRC Brakleen Chevrolet into the Daytona 500 field.”
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