Gilliland, Sorenson find last minute rides for Daytona 500

By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor

Just days away from qualifying for the 2016 Daytona 500, the entry list continues to grow. David Gilliland and Reed Sorenson, who appeared to be out of luck on having a car to drive in The Great American Race, have found rides just before the clock struck midnight on Speedweeks 2016.

Sorenson will pilot the No. 40 for Hillman Racing, which sold assets to Premium Motorsports in the off season. Now the team appears ready to make a run at the Daytona 500 with a new driver and a new crew chief. Pat Tryson, who has eight career victories as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief, will now turn the wrenches for the No. 40 Chevrolet. Hillman Racing will have sponsorship from CRC BRAKLEEN.

The team will fight for one of the four open spots in the field after NASCAR’s new charter system was announced on Tuesday.

Hillman released a statement on the charter system:

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 and that 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.

Sorenson’s best Daytona 500 finish was a fifth place effort in 2008.

Gilliland, was an odd man out when Front Row Motorsports shuffled their driver line up for the 2016 season. Now after a tweet from Front Row Motorsports on Wednesday we learned that Gilliland will actually drive a third entry for the team in the Daytona 500.

The No. 35 Ford Fusion will be Gilliland’s car for the season’s biggest event, and sponsorship will be announced at a later time.

Gilliland has been a mainstay in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since the mid-way point of the 2006 season. Gilliland has four top five finishes in 330-career starts, including a third-place finish in the 2011 Daytona 500.

Image: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR

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Toby Christie is a contributing writer for Motorsports Tribune. He has been watching stock cars turn left since 1993, and has covered NASCAR as an accredited media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, sub-par guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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