Sorenson currently racing for FREE When Richard Petty Motorsports announced last week a merger with Yates Racing, most considered #43-Reed Sorenson the big loser, since it appeared he was left out of the 2010 driver lineup as a result. He in fact wasn't. He was already gone by that point. Multiple RPM sources confirmed to ESPN.com that team executives approached Sorenson during the summer with a pair of options: (1) Race the remainder of the season for no salary; or (2) take a buyout and go away. Conflicted, frustrated, shocked and confused, Sorenson chose the former. In NASCAR, out of sight is out of mind. And out of mind is out of work.
"The decision I made was to keep racing. The reason I did that is I thought it would help me find a job next year," Sorenson said. "And any race car driver that has the choice to sit at home or race is probably going to choose to race, unless they're at the end of their career. I'm 23 years old. I want to have a long future in the sport. I didn't figure sitting at home was a good option to do that." Sorenson would not divulge specifics of his agreement with RPM but did say he was never given a true reason for the development. "They didn't really have much justification for it," he said. "They basically just said, 'This is the deal we have, but you've done nothing wrong. We feel bad.' But it sucked. I don't really get it. It never made sense when it was going down, and it doesn't make sense now. I definitely didn't envision them coming to me halfway through this year and saying this. I felt like I was moving to a team where I could make a home and work with new teammates and maybe be there for five years or whatever it might be. I didn't even get halfway through the year, and this comes up. Then I was told I haven't done anything wrong at the same time. So that's the most sickening thing about it." Sorenson's agent, Jeff Dickerson from Mooresville, N.C.-based Motorsports Management, also would neither confirm nor deny that Sorenson was given an ultimatum. He did agree, though, that when he speaks with other team owners and managers about Sorenson's future, the driver's level of desire to compete is often broached. "If people knew the sacrifices he has made to stay on the racetrack, they wouldn't ask that question anymore," Dickerson said. "He's been a great teammate both on and off the track. He stood up for the guys that work on these cars and their families and refuses to let that team be shut down. People think a guy that drafts with you is a good teammate. I think Reed rewrote that definition in this situation."
Asked for comment for this story, RPM spokesman Drew Brown wrote in an e-mail that "it wouldn't be fair to comment on internal matters relating to Reed's contract. I will say that all of us have had a blast with Reed this season and wish he could be part of us next season, but it's a numbers game." Sorenson will use the final 10 races of the season as an audition for 2010. There are few Sprint Cup rides available, so the hope for Sorenson is a part-time Cup program to supplement a full-time Nationwide ride. "If I have to run full-time Nationwide and part-time Cup to wait until the economy gets better and I get a good full-time ride again, then that would be the best-case scenario," he said. "I just want to race. I don't want to sit around and wait." More at ESPN.com
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