By Anthony Rhoads
It was not the kind of homecoming weekend Reed Sorenson wanted to have.
Sorenson, the 18-year-old from Peachtree City, showed signs of brilliance Saturday in the NASCAR Busch Aaron's 312 but a late-race crash relegated him to 29th place.
Sorenson was in 11th with three laps to go but he and Clint Bowyer wrecked, sending Sorenson into the garage early.
Sorenson started the race in sixth place and was in the top five for much of the day.
He took his first lead at lap 98 after a solid pit stop during a caution.
Sorenson went on to lead 47 laps, a race high.
"He gained a lot of experience and gained a lot or respect," Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark said. "He had a good run and impressed a lot of people."
Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Nextel Cup champion and winner of Saturday's Busch race, also praised Sorenson.
"He's the best I've seen in a long time," he said.
On Friday, Sorenson also competed in the American Speed Association's World Financial 150. He entered the race in second place in the points standings and missed out on a chance to go for the points title.
On lap 27, Sorenson got caught up in an accident which ruined his shot at winning at his home track.
Sorenson was able to continue the race but finished 21st.
Sorenson made his Busch Series debut Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, starting third and finishing 13th.
On Oct. 20, he finished 10th in the Busch race at Memphis Motorsports Park.
He plans on racing in two more Busch events this year, including Darlington on Nov. 13 and Homestead.
Sorenson is a former AMS Thursday Thunder competitor, winning three points championships in three different divisions.
In 2002, Sorenson raced in a few ASA events and last year, ran a full ASA schedule in his way a fifth-place finish in the points and a rookie of the year award. This year, Sorenson won his first ASA race and finished the final points standings in the top five.
Sorenson has also raced in some ARCA events this year, winning one race in Michigan.