Reed Sorenson will return to Premium Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, fielding the second car for the two-car operation during the Daytona 500.
In the midst of a busy offseason that saw the organization move its race shop to Mooresville, North Carolina, team owner Jay Robinson confirmed to Frontstretch that Sorenson will pilot the No. 55 car beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 next month, with more races possible, dependent on sponsorship.
During the 2016 season, Sorenson competed in 28 races for Premium Motorsports in the Cup Series, with a best finish of 22nd at Daytona International Speedway in early July. The No. 55 car had a best starting position of 12th at Talladega Superspeedway in October after pacing the opening round of qualifying by 2 mph.
“Reed is dependable,” Robinson told Frontstretch. “We can count on him to do what is needed on the track. Reed is a good friend of mine and I enjoy racing with him. He’s knowledgeable and has done it all before. When you have a smaller organization with a smaller budget, it’s important to take care of the budget and Reed understands that side of it better than a lot of drivers.”
Though Sorenson will be competing in the No. 55 car, it is the No. 15 car that has a guaranteed starting position into all 36 races after Premium Motorsports’ purchase of the charter from HScott Motorsports, which shut down over the off-season. The organization decided to keep the number 15, getting rid of the No. 98, which attempted to qualify for 33 races in 2016, 29 with Cole Whitt.
Lee Leslie will sit atop the pit box of the No. 55 car. The NASCAR veteran has been around the sport for the better part of three decades, crew chiefing three Cup Series races back in 1997 with Ed Berrier.
No sponsors have been announced, but last season, Sorenson had sponsors in 19 races, with Vydox Plus contributing to the car for seven events.
“There have been years in the past when we did have reasonable funding and we did well with it ,” Robinson said. “Without funding, that is very difficult. We have finished in the top 10 in Cup, but it’s a hard deal to do if you don’t have any sponsorship of any kind. We’ve run a lot of races like that and we’re working hard to build a marketing department, hopefully turning that around.”
Premium Motorsports has 24 full-time employees putting it among the smallest teams in the Cup Series, and has produced 21 in-house chassis, building the bodies itself for Daytona.
Having no ties with any manufacture, the team will run Toyotas at the four superspeedway races in 2017, moving to Chevrolet in the other 32 events.
Robinson was hesitant in naming a full-time driver for the No. 15 car, but revealed he has found a driver for Daytona that will be released at a later date.