Sunday’s group qualifying was a nightmare for @ReedSorenson36 and Team Xtreme Racing.
After sustaining damage while entering the track, Sorenson made a move to block @ClintBowyer in order to keep his car in a pack to put up a fast time. The two cars then made contact and crashed hard into the Turn 1 wall as other frantically attempted to avoid them.
Disappointment couldn’t accurately describe what Sorenson felt as he walked through the garage area. His only car for Speedweeks was in a heaping mess and drivers were sounding off about the outrageous events of qualifying. How could a driver and his team possibly feel any sort of optimism after the events that had transpired?
After all, Team Xtreme Racing had never made it into the Daytona 500.
Yes, it’s a young team trying to slip through the cracks and make their presence known in the Sprint Cup Series. Since the team debuted in late 2012, it’s been nothing but struggle and misfortune. Time and time again, the team has been knocked down yet they still manage to find a way to stand back up.
This was supposed to be the year that they could shine, with group qualifying making the field as competitive as ever. Now, the team was in desperation mode to get a car ready to race in Thursday’s Duels.
It took a lot of long hours in their Mooresville, North Carolina shop to get ready for the Duel. All the team strived for was for the chance to race for the Daytona 500 – one of America’s biggest sporting events.
The No. 44 Golden Corral Chevrolet would have to start near the back of the field for the second Duel with no guarantee that their newly built back-up car would be coming back in one piece. 60 laps would decide their fate and could possibly set the tone for the rest of their season. Sorensen avoided getting caught up in several accidents and managed to find himself at the front of the pack at the end of the race. His car crossed the line in seventh, meaning he was locked into the Daytona 500.
It didn’t matter that Hendrick Motorsports had just dominated the evening, and it definitely didn’t matter that @DanicaPatrick and @DennyHamlin were feuding on pit road. Team Xtreme Racing and Reed Sorensen will be getting to compete for the race of their life and team owner John Cohen will get to go to Daytona.
Cohen has never been to a Daytona 500 in his life. He wanted to go to the race when he knew his team would be locked into the show. Today, it’s in the hands of Reed Sorensen to complete his dream.
The dream hasn’t gone exactly like Cohen would have wanted it to. Regardless of the adversity, his car is in the biggest race of the season and is competitive enough to race for the win. It won’t be an easy task but the bar has been set high for the team and they’re willing to do what they have to in order to come away from The Great American Race victorious.
Given everything that’s happened to the team in less than a week, it’s the true underdog story of the Daytona 500. From destroyed and knocked down to racing into the Daytona 500, Team Xtreme Racing has done everything necessary to prove they can do big things on Sunday.
A win in the Daytona 500 for Team Xtreme Racing would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of American sports. The story would rank with the New York Giants ending the New England Patriots’ undefeated season in Super Bowl 42. It would even rank with a low seeded team upsetting the University of Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament this season.
Regardless of what happens in the 500 mile race, Team Xtreme Racing has already done something that most small teams would struggle to do. Coming to Daytona and displaying the unity and tenacity they have is something that few teams have the strength to do.
Sorensen will have a major task on his hands, though veteran spotter and POPULAR SPEED visionary Mike Calinoff will do his best to guide him to victory lane. Calinoff has previously been on the spotters’ stand for two Daytona 500 wins in 2009 and 2012 with @MattKenseth.
Everything is in place for Sorensen to pull off the upset of a lifetime. The only problem is that 42 other drivers are trying to achieve the same goal that he is. Today, the words and the stories won’t matter; it’ll all lie in the hands of Sorensen to see if the glass slipper still fits.