Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records/Carrier.com Chevrolet Silverado, makes his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in as many years for ThorSport Racing at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, June 4th. Sitting second in overall driver points after a triumphant battle to sixth place in Charlotte in May, Sauter is ready to return to the track where he won with flair in 2010. After a skirmish with Ron Hornaday that resulted in one of the fan-voted “best finishes of 2010” on SPEED Channel, Sauter went on to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250.
Last year’s win at Kansas gave Sauter the momentum to catapult into a winning stretch. He vaulted into the top 10 in points, posted 12 top-fives in the next 20 races, including five second-place and four third-place finishes; and ended the year third in overall driver points at banquet time.
“For sure, that put us back on the map,” SafeAuto Racing Driver Sauter said. “There are just so many things we look back on last season, and said, ‘OK, we finished second here, what do we need to do differently?’ I think we have addressed a lot of those issues, and here we are kind of picking up where we left off last year. Let’s face it, confidence is everything. When you can pull into a racetrack and have a solid weekend and win a race, that just makes you feel like you can go to the next one and you can win. You know the old saying: ‘Winning fixes everything’ and it’s contagious.”
Sauter has one win under his belt this season, at Martinsville, making him the only non-Sprint Cup driver to win in either the Nationwide or truck series until Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won a Nationwide event on May 22 at Iowa.
“That speaks volumes about our program,” Sauter said. “The Cup guys coming into the series doesn’t bother me. It brings a lot more attention to the truck series. Let’s face it: Those guys come down and they are almost expected to win. But we went to Texas and Homestead and a lot of those places, and we had trucks capable of outrunning Kyle (Busch) and Kevin (Harvick). So I feel like we can beat them, and if we beat those guys, obviously we have beat the best, and that’s a huge accomplishment for ThorSport Racing.”
The NCWTS will celebrate its 400th race in Kansas, and ThorSport Racing’s own David Pepper, Team Manager, participated in 329 of those races consecutively. Pepper also happens to be Sauter’s spotter on race day. “Pep and I have a very unique relationship, and most folks in racing know all about it. I’m glad he can keep me out of trouble, and it’s neat to see the history of this sport in the making as we reach the 400 mark. I’m proud to be a part of it.”