Sorenson and Hill race their way into Daytona 500

Tim Packman

By Tim Packman

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When the entry list came out for the 2020 Daytona 500, it showed only four openings available to make the Great American Race and seven drivers vying for them.

After qualifying took place last Sunday, half of the four spots were filled by two non-charter teams logging laps fast enough to get in on speed. That left two positions open for five drivers to race their way in for the 500, meaning three were going home.

When the first 60 laps were over, a very happy Reed Sorenson had made the Daytona 500 based on his finish of 18th place in the No. 27 Chevrolet for Premium Motorsports. The second Duel ended with Timmy Hill making the race in the No. 66 Ford of Motorsports Business Management by finishing 16th .

Some bad luck by others benefitted both drivers.

In the first Duel, Daniel Suarez made contact with Ryan Blaney and ended up in the outside wall before coming to stop on the infield grass. With Suarez out, the door opened for Sorenson. Hill benefited from JJ Yeley’s misfortune when he got pushed from behind, spun into the wall and ended his chances to make the 500.

Sorenson has 15 years of Cup experience to his credit and will be making his 330th start on Sunday. The essence of making the race was obvious as he got a little emotional in the Media Center afterwards.

“Well, it is a big deal,” Sorenson said. “Just proud of all these guys at Premium Motorsports for putting this car together. They’ve been nervous for a couple weeks now. A lot of work gets put into these things.

“So proud of them that we made the race, and this kind of gets the ball rolling for a small race team. So got a pretty blue car and maybe we can put some decals on it now with sponsors.

“Just really happy to be in the 500, and everything that happens from this point on is icing on the cake. We’re looking forward to having a little fun on Sunday.

Sorenson was also bolstered by the fact they have a great motor from ECR Engines.

“This is probably the best motor I’ve had to try to race my way in,” he said. So, I was excited we were able to put the effort in to have an engine here.

“I’m just proud of everybody and I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

For Hill, the native of Port Tobacco, MD made his first Daytona 500, after failing to qualify on one other attempt in 2017 because of blown motor. This will be his 93rd Cup Series start on Sunday.

“During the Duel we were up, we were down, we were in and we were out,” Hill said. “It was definitely a run of emotions during the race. I knew the cars we were racing against and there wasn’t many of us.

“Those guys put on a great battle and it was nerve wracking the whole time. I can’t thank this team and Carl Long enough, and to have the support of the new sponsors is just tremendous.”

Hill has made starts in the Xfinity and Truck Series driving for his self-owned team. He earned his first Truck top-five finish last year, doing so at Martinsville Speedway in the Fall.

Showing that he’s able to earn results with less than others is nothing new to him.

“Many people don’t know this,” he said. “I only have one full-time employee at my shop besides me. So making the 500 like we did with the MBM team is pretty special.”

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  1. Pingback: What You Need To Know Today (02/15): Daytona 500 Starting Lineup · Kickin' The Tires

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