Silly Season Update: The Reed for Speed

Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) signed Reed Sorenson to a contract this week. It’s one more blow for Ganassi Racing, although on the bright side they now have two cars for their two remaining drivers. For Sorenson and GEM it could be a nice reclamation project. Sorenson is only 22, has three years of Cup experience and will now get better cars than Ganassi could offer. For GEM it’s like getting a quality prospect at a bargain price. Sorenson still has upside, but GEM needs to surround him with a strong team.

Shedding the Past

Through 24 races Sorenson sits in 31st place in the points and has mustered only two top 10’s and has twelve sub-30 finishes. Despite the struggles, and they are not all Sorenson’s fault, he is still only 22 and talent doesn’t evaporate. The biggest point of emphasis is Sorenson needs to cut down on the number of wrecks. Pairing him with a veteran crew chief might be a good combination to a) find a comfortable setup and b) ensure that Sorenson doesn’t try to do too much in the car. The other challenge for Sorenson is qualifying for races in 2009. Whether he takes over Patrick Carpentier’s #10 car or a 4th GEM car, he will enter the season without a top 35 spot in the owner points. How he fares in the first five races will dictate his short term success.

What is the Reasonable Expectation?

In almost three full seasons (97 starts) Sorenson has 5 top 5’s, 13 top 10’s and one pole. His final point finishes are 24th, 22nd and he currently sits 31st. Not exactly numbers that indicate stardom, but they should improve with GEM’s better cars. Someone currently driving these better cars is Elliott Sadler. Through 24 races has 2 top 5’s, 6 top 10’s and sits 20th in the standings. Sorenson is good enough to match Sadler and eventually challenge for the occasional win. While this year has been a complete disaster for Sorenson, keep reminding yourself that he’s still only 22. Not every top prospect will take off like Kyle Busch. Sorenson might just take a little longer to run at the front of the pack.

Other Silly Season Posts

[Logano’s Run]
[Penske for your Thoughts?]
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