Reed Sorenson returns to Sprint Cup to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing

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Reed Sorenson got a heck of a birthday present when it was announced Tuesday, one day before he turns 28, that the journeyman Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver will be back full-time in the Cup ranks this season.

Sorenson will drive the No. 36 Chevrolet of Tommy Baldwin Racing, the team announced, just days after revealing that veteran Todd Parrott — who was newly-inducted NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett’s crew chief during Jarrett’s 1999 Winston Cup championship season — would be the team’s crew chief in 2014, as well.

“I will give them everything I’ve got to perform well,” Sorenson said in a statement. “I’m confident with Todd’s winning resume along with Tommy’s accomplishments; it’s going to lead to great things for this team.

“I’m thankful for TBR and all of their partners for allowing me to be their driver. I’m looking forward to helping TBR build on what they have already achieved and to help make the team better than they ever have been.”

It will be Sorenson’s first full season in Sprint Cup since 2009, when he finished 29th while driving the fabled No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports. His last full season in the Nationwide Series was 2011, when he finished fifth and won a race for Turner Motorsports.

The Peachtree City, Ga., native’s best overall season in NASCAR was in 2005, when he finished fourth in the Nationwide Series, winning two races and compiling 19 top-10 finishes in 35 starts, all at the young age of 19.

“It’s cool to have Reed on board driving the 36,” Baldwin said in a statement. “I’ve looked at his statistics and was really surprised at how well he’s done.

“It’s taken six years to get where we are now and the 36 car is only two or three years into it so, we’re slowly building that and we’re excited to have Reed on board with his experience at such a young age and ability to provide sound feedback to help us do that.”

Sorenson finished 18th in the Nationwide Series last season for Key Motorsports, competing in only 28 of 33 races, with a best finish of 10th at Richmond.

He also drove six Sprint Cup races last season for Leavine Family Racing and failed to complete any of them. His best finish was 37th in the fall race at Phoenix.

Ricciardo: Red Bull has ‘decent chance’ of Abu Dhabi F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.

“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.

“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.

“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.

“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”

Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.