In typical Daytona fashion, restrictor-plate racing served up a super-sized portion of carnage, but Reed Sorenson and Scott Speed still managed to earn top-ten finishes.
With the restrictor plates keeping the cars door-to-door and bumper-to-bumper at the 2.5-mile, tri-oval Daytona International Speedway, Sorenson was running ninth with 30 of 400 miles left when Jeff Burton got loose at the front and started a chain reaction wreck. The demolition derby that followed involved 19 cars and brought out a red flag for almost 20 minutes.
Front and center in the carnage was the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, which immediately checked up as the accident unfolded only to be tapped from behind by Brad Keselowski. The Red Bull Toyota spun and bounced off several cars as it got swallowed up by the tire smoke that enveloped the wreck. Sorenson ended the ordeal heading backwards down the track in tandem with Juan Pablo Montoya, who was also turned the wrong way.
Amazingly, the car slid down the banking to the infield without sustaining major damage, allowing Sorenson to restart 16th after the red flag period.
From there he stayed out of trouble and gained eight spots in the final few laps to deliver the best result for the No. 83 since Brian Vickers’ sixth place at Martinsville in late March. It was the third-best finish for Red Bull this season, slotting in after Vickers’ seventh in Atlanta.
Sorenson did it all in his back-up car after having to switch rides following a nasty practice crash that took his primary car out of the equation.
"It's definitely the best back-up car I've ever had." –Sorenson
“I’ve had really bad luck this weekend. Finally at the end, some doors opened in front of us right there on the last lap,” Sorenson said. “Daytona is different than a lot of places you go. Just the fact that we pulled out a back-up car and it was that good – it's pretty amazing."
The No. 83 started from 24th after qualifying was rained out, which meant the grid was determined by owner points. Although there was a short slump after a change took the car in the wrong direction, Sorenson spent most of the day in the top-15 before getting in a position to challenge for a top-10 spot when the “Big One” arrived.
Teammate Scott Speed started 27th and avoided the carnage to cross the line two spots behind the No. 83, delivering his second top-10 of the season. It was a welcome result for Speed, who struggled to keep pace with the frontrunners but still found himself in a position for a top finish when the checkered flag came out.
“Honestly, I was just lucky having what we had out there and staying out of everything because we weren't good enough to be in the front,” said Speed, who moved up two spots overall in points to 24th and closed to within 165 points of the top-20.
“Somehow we got through the last one – I don't know how. It was all smoke and I just kind of went the right place at the right time, I guess. It was great for both of the Red Bull cars because Reed was running good all day and he got wrecked there at the end. So for both of us to come back and get top-10s, it's good for Red Bull.”
For more on the Red Bull Toyotas go to redbullracingusa.com.