Sorenson Perseveres At Road America

Elkhart Lake, Wis. – Reed Sorenson and Ron Fellows each thought they won the BUCYRUS 200 at Road America late Saturday afternoon but after a brief period of uncertainty, NASCAR official ruled Sorenson as winner of the Nationwide Series race. Three green-white-checkered restarts spiced the late-race action, adding seven extra laps to the event. A wreck on the final restart ended the race when the yellow flag was unfurled with both drivers believing they were the benefactors.

Sorenson led just one lap but it was the final one, which earned him a win for the first time in four years and the fourth of his Nationwide career. He drove the Dollar General Chevrolet.

Nationwide races on road courses tend to be exciting and this event will go down as a classic. Throughout the Saturday’s 50-lap race around the 14-turn, four-mile road course, the competitors battled fiercely, which led to considerable fender rubbing, off-course excursions and a few wrecks.

Said the winner, “This is not a place that I thought I would win, but at the end of these races, it is easy for everyone to get bundled up and wreck. We were able to capitalize on that and on the last caution, Justin (Allgaier) and I were first and second until he ran out of gas. I knew it was going to be close, but I had enough (fuel) to do donuts at the end.”

With Michael McDowell holding a commanding lead as the race neared the end, a series of wrecks took place, which led to the extra laps. During the first of the overtime restarts, three of the top challengers – Jacques Villeneuve, Max Papis and Brian Scott – were involved in a first-turn accident. It started when Villeneuve got sideways and jammed the other two cars, damaging their cars.

McDowell and Fellows once again headed the field for the second restart. Moments after the restart, many drivers initiated aggressive moves with several of them ending up off course, triggering another yellow flag.

Allgaier had the lead on the final restart with Fellows and Sorenson in close pursuit. When the leader ran out of fuel, Sorenson and Fellows scrambled for the point position and according to officials, Sorenson had the lead when the race was slowed. At that point, the running positions were frozen with Fellows scored second and Jacques Villeneuve third.

Regarding the controversial finish, Sorenson said, “I don’t know why there was any controversy. When the caution comes out, you don’t keep racing which is what the No. 7 (Ron Fellows) was doing. I slowed down when the flag came out, but he (Fellows) blew past me. He never lifted until he got to the pace car seven or eight turns later. He was gassing it like he was still racing. I don’t know what the officials were waiting for (in declaring the winner).”

Fellows and his AER Chevrolet team were miffed with the results, even though the Canadian got his second consecutive runner-up finish in the event.

“Obviously, everyone with the JR Motorsports team is disappointed with the results,” Fellows said with dejection registering on his face. “We had plenty of fuel and the two cars ahead of us ran out. We got ourselves into a little bit of trouble on the restarts at the end, as I couldn’t get any forward traction. I tried everything but nothing worked, so I was a sitting duck.

“The first yellow flag I saw was in turn three, and the No. 32 car (Sorenson) was out of fuel, so I went past him. The pace car was in the kink, so I pulled in behind him. He (Sorenson) pulled to the left and started wiggling. I don’t agree with the ruling, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t bad. NASCAR is entertaining. You don’t have to like it sometimes, but it is entertaining.”

Villeneuve survived a series of incidents to finish third in the Discount Tire Dodge of Penske Racing. “These road course races always have crazy finishes,” the Canadian said. “I had my crazy moments before the last restart. My car was very fast, but the No. 18 (McDowell) was very quick, and we seemed to have the two fastest cars.”

A penalty for jumping a restart midway through the race dropped Villeneuve to 23rd, but he rebounded quickly, taking advantage of every passing opportunity that he could.

“On the restart where I took several cars out, there were cars on my right and left, so I pulled to the right and hit the brakes and got into the grass, causing problems for others,” he stated. “I didn’t feel too proud of that, and even though my car was bent up, I kept going. Then at the end, everyone kept going off, and I made up a lot of places. I didn’t expect to finish third today, so all in all it was a very good result, although we came here to win.”

Elliott Sadler put the KHI Chevrolet into fourth place ahead of Mike Wallace in the Davis Chevrolet.

Rounding out the top-10 finishers were Andrew Ranger, Michael Annett, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ricky Carmichael and J. R. Fitzpatrick.

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