Aaron's 99 a Homecoming for ASA's Sorenson
Now in his second season of ASA competition, Sorenson started competing in Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at age 12. The Hardee¿s Summer Shootout is a 10-week series of Tuesday night races run each summer on the track¿s frontstretch quarter-mile oval where Sorenson claimed two Legends Car Pro division championships before advancing to the ASA circuit.
¿I used to absolutely love coming to the Legends races on Tuesday nights at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway,¿ said the Forest Park, Ga., racer. ¿I¿d look forward to coming up to Charlotte all weekend long. We were on live television and there were honestly 10 or 12 guys that were capable of winning each and every race.¿
In addition to countless laps on Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s quarter-mile oval, Sorenson also made his first superspeedway start in the Quaker Steak & Lube 100 ARCA RE/MAX Series race here in May.
¿I qualified third and led a lot of laps until I ran over a piece of debris and ended up fourth,¿ Sorenson said about his ARCA debut. ¿We had a good car and it was pretty neat to be able to race on the big track for the first time. Of all the tracks I¿ve run on this year, I¿d have to say Charlotte has been my favorite. It¿s a hard track to get around because of the bumps in turns three and four, but to me that¿s what makes it so much fun. This is a place where if you miss the set-up or have problems, it can cost you a lot.
¿One of the biggest things about racing at Charlotte is how much the track changes from day to night. We were testing here not too long ago and one part of the track was in the shade and the other half was in the sun. It was like a totally different track at each end.¿
Much like four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, Sorenson¿s racing career has been carefully crafted from a very young age.
¿I¿ve been racing since I was 6 years old so it¿s really all I know,¿ he said. ¿I¿ve always known that driving stock cars was something I wanted to do for a living. From the time I was 6, we were traveling all over the country racing. I¿ve raced all the way from California to Vancouver.¿
Even though Sorenson¿s parents, Brad and Becky, guided his racing career and wanted him to succeed, they also made sure his schoolwork came first.
¿I got lucky because most of the racing I did was either in the summer or on the weekends so it didn¿t bother my schoolwork,¿ explained Sorenson. ¿Once I started running with the American Speed Association, I was in the 11th grade, heading into the 12th grade and that made it a little tough. I had to make sure my schoolwork was getting done. The last year of high school was by far the hardest on me because I was traveling and doing so much racing.¿
The only thing truly bothering Sorenson is that he¿s yet to win an ASA race.
¿We¿ve been close so many times,¿ Sorenson said in a pained voice. ¿The first year we ran in ASA we only had one car because it was a family-run team. Our goal was to post top-10 finishes and win the rookie-of-the-year title. We ended up doing all that and we finished fourth in the standings. We did not win a race, but that was a good season for us.
¿This year, I¿ve had my share of bad luck and I¿m sitting sixth in the points. All the leaders have had some bad luck, but I¿ve had a little more than those guys sitting in front of me.¿
Sorenson¿s accomplishments at such a young age caught the eye of many top NASCAR team owners, but it was Chip Ganassi who signed him to a contract that called for a limited schedule in ARCA and Busch this season in addition to a full-time effort in ASA with backing from Target and Havoline.
Sorenson made the most of his Busch Series debut in August at Indianapolis Raceway Park, starting third and finishing 13th. He scored his first ARCA victory in only his second career start at Michigan during June and he plans to run the entire 2005 NASCAR Busch Series schedule for Chip Ganassi Racing.
¿I¿ve always dreamed of getting an opportunity like this, now it¿s to the point where I¿ve got to produce and show I¿ve got the talent to get the job done,¿ said Sorenson. ¿Hopefully, I'll have a pretty good showing in the next year or two. As far as pressure, I think every driver feels the same as I do. Chip Ganassi has given me a tremendous opportunity and I¿m going to make the most of it.
¿There¿s no doubt NEXTEL Cup is my primary goal,¿ Sorenson continued. ¿I think Chip and all the guys back at our shop have a timetable set up for me. I¿m probably going to run two years in Busch and hopefully move up to NEXTEL Cup after that.
¿I¿ve really had to focus on my goals even though I know there are going to be times when I struggle. It¿s going to be how I make it through the tough times that make a difference in my career.¿
However, entering the Oct. 14 Aaron's 99, Sorenson¿s goal is simple¿he wants to erase his ASA winless streak at what he considers one of his favorite tracks.
¿That would be pretty cool and it would seem like the good old days when I was growing up racing here,¿ said Sorenson. ¿There¿s always a ton of people that come out for the NEXTEL Cup qualifying under the lights and we race right after they get finished. It would be pretty neat for me to have a good run at Charlotte.¿
Bojangles¿ Pole Night is an action-packed tripleheader. The card includes qualifying for the Oct. 15 Lowe¿s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 Busch Series race; qualifying for the Oct. 16 UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event; and the 148.5-mile Aaron's 99. Adult tickets start at $12 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS.