Hillman Racing was not awarded one of NASCAR’s 36 charters, and thus will attempt to qualify for one of the four starting sports available to “open” drivers. Team owner Mike Hillman minced no words in commenting on that move, saying, “While we are absolutely disappointed with our exclusion from the new charter system, we have sponsors, partners and friends that have stood behind us, and for that I am truly grateful.
"I've poured my heart and soul -- literally my blood, sweat and tears -- into building a competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup team over the past three years, and to be told one week prior to the sport's biggest event of a complete overhaul of the framework of the Series is disheartening. For the time being, I will instead focus on the positives. We have a great partner like CRC Industries that will allow me to continue to realize my lifelong dream of fielding a car in the Daytona 500."
The team has secured the driving services of 30-year-old Sorenson, who last season raced his way into the Daytona 500 by earning a transfer spot in his150-mile qualifying race. The team has tapped race-winning crew chief Pat Tryson to lead the No. 40 CRC Brakleen team. Sorenson, who celebrated his 30th birthday last Friday, will attempt to race his way into the Daytona 500 for the seventh time in his career. He has recorded fifth- and ninth-place finishes in NASCAR's biggest race.