Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nationwide - Sorenson Wins Wild One at Road America

Reed Sorenson, driver or the #41 Target Dodge ...Image by jerbec via Flickr

It took three green-white-checkered finishes, then it took NASCAR several minutes to review the mayhem, but they made the right call and awarded Saturday's Bucyrus 200 to Reed Sorenson.  Sorenson inherited the lead on the final lap under caution when Justin Allgaier ran out of gas on the way to the finish line.

It was Sorenson's fourth career Nationwide Series win, the first in 58 races dating back to July 2007 at Gateway International Raceway.

It was a pretty sedate road course race for most of the way.  The biggest excitement early on was the battle for the lead between Michael McDowell and Jacques Villeneuve.  But Villeneuve was penalized on a restart on Lap 25 (of 50) when he changed lanes before crossing the start/finish line. 

McDowell seemingly took the lead for good on Lap 43, passing Brian Scott and quickly pulling away from the field.  But Doug Harrington spun with four laps to go, bringing out the fourth caution of the day and setting up the first green-white-checkered finish.

Villeneuve made the bonehead move of the race on the restart, diving outside to try to get back into contention.  He got his right-side tires in the grass, then got into Scott and Max Papis, spinning them out into the gravel pits.

McDowell got a good jump on the second green-white-checkered restart, but slid off the track on Turn Five, giving the lead to Allgaier.  Moments later, he slid off again, ending any chance of winning, but starting a chain reaction wreck that brought out the caution again.

Allgaier got a good jump on the last green-white-checkered restart and took the white flag, but more bumping and banging left Aric Almirola in the gravel pit and brought out the final caution.  All Allgaier had to do was make it back around to the finish line to win, but he was out of gas and the win belonged to Sorenson.

Then there was confusion.  Apparently, Ron Fellows did not see the caution waving.  He blew past Sorenson and was still at race speed until the pace car pulled out in front of him.  Sorenson and Fellows crossed the finish line side-by-side behind the pace car.  Fellows was initially declared the winner, but NASCAR reviewed the tape and determined that Fellows had passed Sorenson after the caution came out.

Villeneuve finished third, followed by Elliott Sadler and Mike Wallace.  The race went seven laps beyond the regulation distance on the four-mile course.  (Race results)

The victory puts Sorenson back in the lead in the series points standings.  He's five points ahead of Sadler.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-7) drops two spots to third after finishing eighth.  Allgaier (-34) is fourth; Jason Leffler (-73) is fifth.

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