The face of the little team is changing in NASCAR. Gone are the days of start and park cars clogging up the bottom third of the field.
“The way the points are and the way qualifying is you want to make sure you run every race and you’ve got to make sure you make that commitment to run every race,” said Reed Sorenson. “It seems like all the smaller teams that are here now have made that commitment and run the whole season.”
Tommy Baldwin racing, the team Sorenson drives for is a perfect example of that. They have expanded to two cars this season, adding rookie Michael Annett. But that doesn’t mean that they just fire up the engines and all the sudden they are contenders. Being a small team in NASCAR still has all of the same old challenges.
“The biggest thing is money,” said Annett. “Money buys speed and some of these bigger teams have a lot more than one primary sponsor, they have a bunch of them. More money means more people, more engineers, more test time, more wind tunnel time. Everything like that just makes your car go faster on the weekend.”
But Sorenson, who has been around the sport for a while now, racing for big teams, small teams and start and parks, says there are some advantages to being with a small team, too.
“Anytime we achieve something everyone on the team appreciated the hard work each other has put in,” said Sorenson. “We just appreciate everything we get.”
And this team has been able to collect some small victories on the road to its growth this season. Sorenson finished 16th in the Daytona 500 and Annett was 19th, Sorenson 21 at California. Plus the team feels like they have had some pretty good runs at some tracks, where bad luck has jumped up and bit them.
“The last three weeks have been kind of rough,” said Sorenson. “We caught on fire. Last week we got into a wreck and we’ve blown a motor. So we’ve had three bad weekends in a row, but up until that point I was happy with the progression of the team.”
Adds Annett, “We tried to go into the season managing our expectations and setting goals that we can reach and when we do it just makes it that much more special.”