Johnny Sauter, team show championship resilience at Kansas SpeedwayPress Release
Sauter’s fifth-place finish Saturday in the SFP 250 in his No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota, behind race-winning teammate Matt Crafton’s No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Tundra, put ThorSport into a one-two position in the championship for the first time in the organization’s 18-year history — with Sauter currently 12 points clear of Crafton.
The likelihood of Sauter contending looked bleak when he missed a shift leaving pit road on his sixth lap in Happy Hour Friday, over-revving the engine and breaking a valve spring. The breakage necessitated an engine change and on account of that, Sauter’s first lap on the racetrack with the new Triad Engine Technologies powerplant was in qualifying — less than three hours before the green flag.
“We struggled all day and it’s probably a product of not getting any practice when I missed that shift,” Sauter said after persevering into fifth — despite falling a lap down when a caution flew during a green-flag pit cycle just before halfway. “Getting a top-five finish at the end of it all is a real credit to ThorSport and my guys — we’ll take it.”
As qualifying opened on a sunny, but crisp morning that outcome didn’t look likely. But Sauter’s lap as the 32nd of 36 trucks on the racetrack established a track record and momentarily put Sauter on the pole. After James Buescher took the pole as the last truck out, Sauter lined up fourth.
Through the early stages of the race, Sauter battled a loose truck and, although he said he was having a hard time in traffic, was repeatedly able to drive toward the front.
“We just had a mechanical problem and I was loose just by myself,” Sauter said. “When there’s only one-and-a-half grooves and the trucks are wider than that then it can get hairy. It takes a lot of give-and-take and there wasn’t a lot of that (Saturday).”
With 11 cautions during the race, Sauter both dodged a few close calls and was involved in one when another competitor changed lanes and hit Sauter, much like what had occurred in his winning effort at Martinsville.
During the pit cycle midway through the race, which initially left both Sauter and Crafton a lap down until they were able to take a “wave-around” before a restart to get back on the lead lap, crew chief Joe Shear Jr. continued to make adjustments until he made his final critical adjustments on their last stop, with 59 laps remaining.
On that restart Crafton was 11th and Sauter, 12th. They both were able to move forward — particularly Crafton, who capped a great restart at lap 137, which prompted Sauter to say on his in-truck radio, “helluva restart by Crafton — how was he able to do that?” by making a stunning third-to-first move to take the lead one lap later.
On the final restart, with 25 laps left, Crafton was leading and Sauter was fifth, which he maintained to the finish to ensure he’d remain in the championship lead.
The series is off until round five, at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 17 as part of the Sprint All-Star Race weekend. Sauter has won five of his eight Truck Series victories on 1.5-mile racetracks, such as Charlotte is.
ABOUT THE CAROLINA NUT CO.:
Using unique handcrafted family recipes, The Carolina Nut Co. creates gourmet snacks and flavored nuts that are sure to please every nut lover. The Carolina Nut Co. is family-owned and located in Henderson, N.C. We have been creating delicious gourmet nuts and flavored nuts for more than 60 years. Our unique flavors and high-quality products are making their way across the country. Please keep an eye out for us at your local retailer!
ABOUT CURB RECORDS:
Curb Records is one of the world’s leading independent music companies. Owned and operated by Mike Curb since 1962, Curb Records has achieved 375 Billboard number one records, nearly twelve hundred Billboard Top Ten records and charted just under four thousand Billboard Records. Today’s roster includes some of the top names in Country, Christian and Pop/Rock music. Curb Records was honored as Billboard Magazine’s 2001 Country Music Label of the Year and Radio & Records Magazine’s 2005 Overall Gold Label of the Year. For more information, visit www.curb.com.
ABOUT THORSPORT RACING:
ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured active NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. Thorsport, which has run full-season Truck Series schedules annually beginning in 1998, in 2013 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by Matt Crafton, the No, 98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 SealMaster Toyota Tundra driven by Todd Bodine in the Truck Series and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota Camry driven by Frank Kimmel in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Source: ThorSport Racing Press Release
Article Tags: Johnny Sauter, Kansas Speedway, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NCWTS, No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota Tundra, SFP 250, ThorSport Racing