Countdown to Daytona: Owner Point Style No. 22 (Reed Sorenson, Again)

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IJanuary 16, 2009

It’s Day 14, and things are still as crazy as they were 13 days ago when I began this journey.

Today we take a look at the No. 43 car. I’m not sure if I should call it a Gillett-Evernham Dodge…or a Petty Enterprises Dodge?

Maybe I’ll just go with Gillett-Evernham-Motorsports-Petty-Enterprises Dodge?

If teams keep merging and/or selling majority or even minority ownership to these business men, we are going to have 15 names to say before every teams.

It appears that Reed Sorenson will in fact take over the No. 43 for 2009. Sorenson makes the move from Ganassi Racing, and will be part of a three full-time stable of Dodges.

Sorenson showed extreme potential when he raced in what was then the Busch Series, but his Cup career has stalled.

He’ll be looking to jump-start that career with his new team in 2009.

Here is a look at the No. 43 team:

Today’s Spotlight: No. 43

Team: Gillett-EvernhamPetty Enterprises

Driver: Reed Sorenson (We think!)

Sponsor: U.S. Air Force (four races)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (two races)

(I’m not sure if these are still on, but according to several sites they are?)

Driver 2008 Stats: Sorenson finished 2008 ranked 32nd in points. He managed two top-10s, one top-five and led 15 laps. Sorenson brought home $4.2 million and averaged a 26th place finish. This team, however, finished 22nd in points with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel.

News: This team went from being fully-sponsored with a past-champion Labonte driving the car, to a semi-sponsored team with a driver entering his fourth season in the Cup Series. A driver who has also has a career best of 22nd in the points and has recorded only five top-fives in his three years in the Series.

The other two news issues with this team is the fact that GEM will merge with the sport’s most historic name—Petty Enterprises.

With the merge, Robby Loomis, will serve as executive director for the new team.

My Prediction for 2009: How many teams can I really call middle of the pack teams? I think this one could (notice I said could) be an upper middle of the packer. Before struggling last year, Sorenson showed that he could run in the top-25 almost every weekend.

This team also showed it could run in the top-25, so I would have to say this team will finish in the 20th to 25th range in the points for 2009. Sorry Sorenson fans…no Chase for you anytime soon!

Will this team remain in top-35: With more and more teams looking like they may not compete full-time and it sounding like some (if not most) races won’t have 43 cars show up, this team should have no problem remaining in the top-35. I don’t think there are going to be many changes in and out of the top-35 like there have been in recent years, the teams just aren’t there.

Up Tomorrow: No. 5 Mark Martin (Finally a team that is official!)

This story also appears on my blog: Sports 101

Reminder: Only 22 days until the Budweiser Shootout!