2008 NASCAR Fantasy Draft Kit: Reed Sorenson

An in-depth look at Reed Sorenson and how he might work on your fantasy NASCAR team for 2008.

Reed Sorenson

Reed Sorenson’s official website touts him as “a star of the future”. That’s a pretty accurate description and “future” also keeps things in the right perspective. Sorenson is entering his third full time season in Cup, and while it might be easy to say it’s a critical season, it’s easy to forget a few things.

Sorenson celebrates his 22nd birthday two weeks before the Daytona 500. Most drivers don’t make it to the top level of NASCAR until their mid 20’s. That sets up the second point. His fellow 2006 rookies, Martin Truex, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and even JJ Yeley are all older and had more racing experience prior to Cup. To compare Sorenson against their progress and accomplishments is a little unfair. One is a project while the other is closer to a finished product. It would be like expecting a rookie quarterback to have as much immediate success as a running back or linebacker. It’s not a fair comparison. Last year no one expected David Ragan to be Juan Pablo Montoya’s equal, so why would Sorenson be any match initially for a two-time Busch champion like Truex or drivers like Hamlin and Bowyer that had 5 or 6 more years of experience? The other factor is harder to gauge, but the cars Sorenson drives at Ganassi are typically inferior to the ones at Gibbs, DEI or RCR.

Another important point is that almost every young driver has other veteran drivers to lean on for advice and guidance. Last year Sorenson had David Stremme and Montoya as teammates, both inexperienced at the Cup level. Sorenson has never had an elder driver on his team.

With all of that said, it is fair to measure Sorenson’s progress and see if he is actually improving. The answer to that question does not hold much hope. His point position improved, but his overall numbers didn’t improve very much. He had fewer laps led, fewer laps completed, more DNF’s and a higher average finish than 2007. He had some nice moments like his pole win at Indy and his three top five finishes, but typically Sorenson was struggling with wrecks and finishing races. His consistency was a major problem. He had consecutive top 20 finishes twice last year. Otherwise the season looked like a graph of a volatile stock with huge peaks and valleys.

Team Ganassi posted improvements in their speedway program in 2007, which Sorenson took advantage of at places like Atlanta and especially Indianapolis. At the Brickyard 400, Sorenson won the pole, ran in the top 10 all day and finished 5th. Teammate Montoya also finished 2nd. Intermediate tracks are Sorenson’s obvious strength.

If the Sprint Cup only ran at Atlanta Sorenson might be a champ. The Peachtree, Georgia native has three top tens and one top five in four career races. He finished 9th and 3rd in the 2007 races.

Ganassi’s gains on speedways did not translate to the CoT. Sorenson had one top ten finish (fall Talladega) in 17 CoT races. Part of this can relate to Sorenson’s weakness at road courses and short tracks, but equipment is also a factor. The equipment quality is one of the biggest questions for Sorenson and Ganassi entering 2008. Manufacturer Dodge is in flux, and the level of support it can offer its teams is the lowest of the four NASCAR manufacturers.

Whether the equipment improves or not, Sorenson must display better skill in avoiding accidents. He had seven finishes of 40th or worse. That’s an indication of not only wrecking (13 crashes and 4 crash-induced DNF’s) but wrecking early. Think about this for a second: JJ Yeley is known for crashing, and his 17 wrecks in 2006 were most in Cup. In Yeley’s second season he reduced that number to a respectable 9. Sorenson’s numbers have stayed high over the same period (mind you Sorenson is 9 years younger than Yeley). This is the biggest weakness for Sorenson and if it doesn’t improve, the quality of his cars is a non-issue.

Sorenson is also still looking for his first top ten finish at a track one mile and under. He has had some decent runs at places like Dover and Loudon, but didn’t score the finishes.

All of this is not to say Sorenson is a bust or will never make it at the Cup level. He has an excellent chance to be a good driver for a long time. The point is more to temper expectations and show that his breakthrough might still be a few years away. Not every young driver will be Kyle Busch and instantly ascend to elite driver status.

So what does this mean for 2008? Improving his overall consistency is priority number one. Reducing his crashes to 9 or 10 opens the door for a huge gain in points. If he took four sub-40th place finishes and turned them into three 20th place finishes, that’s an increase of at least 240 points. It doesn’t sound like much, but that was the difference between Sorenson’s 22nd place finish and 18th place. The other areas that need tuning, like short tracks and road courses, will come with more experience. He has run well at these kinds of tracks in the Busch Series, so it’s only a matter of time and comfort. Sorenson is a talented driver and could have a breakout season. The Chase is out of reach, but cracking double digit top tens and a top 20 points finish are two good goals. It might not show up this year, but Sorenson is someone to keep an eye on in the future.

See our complete Reed Sorenson NASCAR Statistics.

Reed Sorenson 2007 NASCAR Season Statistics
Race Start Finish Pts Laps Status Winnings
Daytona 500 33rd 13th 124 202/202 Running $296,815
Auto Club 500 20th 43rd 34 7/250 Out of Race $86,963
UAW-Diamler Chrysler 400 7th 31st 70 263/267 Running $100,533
Kobalt Tools 500 11th 9th 143 325/325 Running $104,433
Food City 500 39th 43rd 34 21/504 Accident $86,932
Goody’s Cool Orange 500 28th 18th 109 500/500 Running $100,083
Samsung 500 26th 40th 48 197/334 Running $89,075
Subway Fresh Fit 500 27th 15th 118 312/312 Running $93,208
Aaron’s 499 29th 25th 88 192/192 Running $101,947
Crown Royal 400 37th 21st 100 400/400 Running $92,083
Dodge Avenger 500 16th 40th 43 310/367 Running $75,750
Coca-Cola 600 34th 4th 160 400/400 Running $177,783
Autism Speaks 400 28th 27th 82 397/400 Running $101,958
Pocono 500 22nd 24th 91 106/106 Running $91,408
Citizens Bank 400 29th 23rd 94 198/200 Running $94,072
Toyota / Save Mart 350 29th 40th 43 105/110 Running $85,797
Lenox Industrial Tools 300 3rd 26th 85 300/300 Running $98,833
Pepsi 400 28th 42nd 37 103/200 Running $90,055
USG Sheetrock 400 22nd 12th 127 267/267 Running $123,233
Allstate 400 1st 5th 160 160/160 Running $282,408
Pennsylvania 500 10th 28th 84 199/200 Off Track $88,533
Centurion Boats at the Glen 24th 28th 79 90/90 Running $85,658
3M Peformance 400 33rd 38th 49 200/200 Running $87,422
Sharpie 500 29th 15th 118 500/500 Running $123,558
Sharp AQUOS 500 31st 21st 100 249/250 Running $119,083
Chevy Rock-n-Roll 400 25th 32nd 67 393/400 Running $90,033
Sylvania 300 13th 14th 126 300/300 Running $106,308
Dodge Dealers 400 33rd 30th 78 384/400 Running $91,833
LifeLock 400 14th 7th 146 210/210 Running $134,458
UAW-Ford 500 28th 10th 134 188/188 Running $114,358
Bank of America 500 26th 30th 73 333/400 Running $83,972
Subway 500 28th 41st 40 259/506 Out of Race $67,930
Pep Boys Auto 500 32nd 3rd 165 329/325 Running $203,533
Dickies 500 31st 40th 43 143/334 Accident $116,558
Checker Auto Parts 500 25th 19th 111 312/312 Running $95,258
Ford 400 27th 22nd 97 266/267 Running $92,933