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Head2Head: More surprising win: Sorenson or Busch?

June 27, 2011, ,

The fenders were flying at Road America and Infineon this past weekend and when the dust settled, Reed Sorenson and Kurt Busch were the two drivers standing in Victory Lane. Sorenson earned his first Nationwide victory since 2007 and Busch ended a 38-race skid in the Cup Series.

More surprising winner this past weekend: Sorenson or Busch?


There was one person in Saturday's Bucyrus 200 who thought Reed Sorenson was the winner when the checkered flag fell at Road America: Reed Sorenson.

Sorenson had seen his teammate, Justin Allgaier, run out of fuel on the final lap under caution. He knew he had limited resources himself, so he backed out of the gas to save what he could. In the meantime, Ron Fellows went motoring right on past and circled the track as the first car.

Only after a review by NASCAR officials was Sorenson named the winner, but he never had a doubt. He crossed the start/finish line next to Fellows, who also finished second last season.

Where did Sorenson finish at Road America last year? He didn't. He'd never seen the course before. His career average finish in 11 previous road-course races in both Cup and Nationwide: 30th. He hasn't cracked the top 15 on a road course since running 12th at Watkins Glen in Cup in 2006.

This is nothing against Kurt Busch, who has come on like gangbusters in the past month on the Cup side. His victory at Sonoma was a dominant one, and somewhat unexpected.

But for Sorenson to come in on a course he'd never seen in his first year with Turner Motorsports, work the fuel mileage to his advantage, challenge a road-course expert like Fellows and come away with the victory? That's easily the biggest, and best, surprise of the weekend.

Jill Erwin, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Sure, Reed Sorenson's victory was a surprise in the Nationwide Series -- but he was in a race that saw one Cup driver make the commute to Wisconsin and a few road ringers that no one wanted in their Cup cars. What Kurt Busch did Sunday at Infineon was the third-biggest surprise of the season, behind Trevor Bayne at Daytona and Regan Smith at Darlington.

Busch is not the first -- or 10th -- driver that comes to mind when it comes to skill on a road course and he will be the first to admit it. Sure, Busch has shown some progress on road courses, but an average finish of 18.1 puts road courses dead last on track type for Busch's career.

But it's not just about Busch being a surprise winner, it's the way it was accomplished. Busch flat-out owned Sunday's Infineon race. There was no one better and by Lap 30, it was clear that barring an unforeseen circumstance, Busch was taking home the trophy.

The No. 22 was out front for 76 of the 110 laps. In Busch's 10 previous races at Infineon, he hadn't led that many laps combined. Busch displayed a talent he has never shown on road courses -- and that ultimately was the biggest surprise.

Sorenson got lucky, so yes that could be considered the most surprising. But Busch's total domination at Infineon -- a victory no one saw coming -- will be remembered for quite some time.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

But which victory was more surprising? Jill Erwin is still scratching her head at Sorenson's victory while Bill Kimm can't believe Busch's domination. Read their arguments and post yours in the comments below. And don't forget to vote in the poll at the right.