BRISTOL, Tenn. – Reed Sorenson appears headed to Gillett Evernham Motorsports to drive the No. 10 car next year, according to Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates.
Sorenson, in his third year in Sprint Cup with the Ganassi team, said Friday that he did not have anything done yet for 2009, and Chip Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said in a phone interview earlier in the day that they were still in talks with Sorenson.
Sorenson was 24th in points in 2006, 22nd in points in 2007 and 30th this year entering the Saturday race at Bristol. He was replaced for the road-racing event in Sonoma, Calif., earlier this year.
“From my point of view, his contract is over,” Sabates said. “I think Reed is today as good as he’s ever going to be. If somebody else wants to put him in a car, fine with us.
“We have a pretty good idea that he’s going to drive the 10 car. I wish him good luck.”
A spokesman for Gillett Evernham Motorsports said the team had no comment. Patrick Carpentier currently is the driver of the No. 10 car. Gillett Evernham also fields Cup cars for drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler.
Sorenson’s departure would mean the team must replace a driver for the No. 41 car that has sponsorship from Target. The organization also must find a sponsor to fill 18 races for Juan Pablo Montoya, who found out this week that Texaco is leaving the sport.
“Texaco was a great sponsor for a long time, but for the last year they really have been disconnected with the sport,” Sabates said. “They have focused on other things. We really didn’t get much support from them. The money wasn’t all that great.
“For us, it was a blessing that we can go out and find somebody who can pay us some real money.”
Sabates said he had confidence that the organization will find a sponsor.
“Texaco was a liability for us because out of loyalty to them, we weren’t aggressively looking to replace them,” Sabates said. “We kept hoping they maybe would wake up one of these days and decide they need to be in NASCAR. The company, I feel bad for them, they only made $6 billion last quarter.
“The Texaco management is disconnected from racing. All the new people don’t know what a race car looks like.”
The outspoken owner also indicated that people shouldn’t think that NASCAR should do more to keep sponsors. Chevron, in making its announcement, said it was leaving the sport to focus monies on more local and regional marketing efforts.
“We didn’t try very hard,” Sabates said. “If we had really thought that we wanted them to stay with us, I would have had [NASCAR President] Mike Helton and [NASCAR CEO] Brian France on an airplane flying out to San Francisco to meet with them. To me personally, it’s not a big loss.” - scenedaily.com