Last weekend’s Chevrolet Silverado 250, the Truck Series’ first road race in 13 years and the inaugural event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, was a tough pill for Sauter and his team to swallow.
A baffling issue that primarily affected the fuel system last Sunday ended Sauter’s race before it really got started, ultimately resulting in Sauter’s second DNF of the season.
After several long pit stops — the first of which came shortly after the 10-lap mark, though the problem was apparent when Sauter made his first pit stop, timed perfectly as the race’s first caution flew at lap six — Sauter was scored 28th in the final rundown.
“Unbelieveable — I don’t know what else can happen to us this season,” Sauter said. “I hate if we ruined anyone’s day by bringing out that last caution but there was nothing we could do. We were just trying to make something out of a strange day.”
Sauter’s truck’s indecipherable condition, which the team was unable to diagnose in the first day back at the shop, before they had to set it aside to concentrate on the Iowa truck, caused it to stop on the racetrack several times, before quickly refiring.
Once, it caused a local yellow on the backstretch when the truck momentarily stopped, then refired and continued. And that’s what happened in the closing laps, which was enough to bring out a caution and set up a mayhem-filled last lap that enabled Sauter’s ThorSport Racing teammate Crafton to grab a 10th-place finish.
After the race, it had Connor beside himself.
“We quite literally changed everything on the fuel system except the main fuel line and the fuel cell — and there can be nothing wrong with the fuel cell because it just holds gas,” Connor said after the race. “Logically there can be nothing wrong with the fuel line so we’re all pretty much at a loss.
“We worked so hard on it all day long to try to identify the problem so it never catches us again, but unfortunately we were unable to do so.”
Sauter had improved his performance on high speed and technical road course over two days of practice, but that didn’t make he or Connor feel any better.
“The frustrating thing is, we practiced for two days and ran two complete cells of fuel out of the truck and had no problem whatsoever,” Connor said. “And then the race starts (Sunday) and we don’t even run six laps and we’re having conditions like we’re out of fuel. We weren’t out of fuel but we weren’t picking up any fuel so it’s frustrating.”
It was the latest case of what could have been for Sauter and his team.
“I think we had a pretty good truck and we would have had a good finish if we hadn’t had that problem,” Connor said. “But I can’t say it’s anything that anybody did wrong — it’s just one of those things that gets you, and we’ll have to find out exactly what it was and come back stronger next week.”