The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ latest two-week break couldn’t come at a better time for ThorSport Racing’s Johnny Sauter, who endured an abysmally frustrating night Thursday at Kentucky Speedway that resulted in a 12th-place finish in the UNOH 225.
“We just struggled getting the truck to work like we needed it to,” Sauter said. “We tried a lot of things to get it down into the racetrack, but it ended up being a frustrating night for our Carolina Nut / Curb Records Toyota team.”
From the time his No. 98 ThorSport Racing Toyota shut off on the pre-race pace laps to the 150th lap — through which his crew was never able to solve his truck’s handling woes — Sauter kept trying but finally had to admit he was out of ideas to make their vehicle better.
“This track has definitely been a feast-or-famine deal for us,” Sauter said. “Thursday wasn’t a good day for us, that’s for sure.”
Along with the shutoff issue, Sauter said on his in-truck radio his truck wasn’t running well down the straights, but that might have been handling-related as well.
Sauter’s day was marked by being oh-so-close to being a contender, only to never quite make the key adjustment to race out front. Sauter was 13th in opening practice, .5 seconds behind session leader Darrell Wallace Jr.
In Happy Hour, Sauter fell to 21st on the time sheet and was .7 seconds off fast man Cale Gale. Ironically, Sauter outran both Wallace and Gale in the race.
After qualifying 17th Sauter’s truck made it off pit road but shut off on the pace laps and had to be pushed back to pit road, where the truck re-fired.
Sauter took 50 laps to get up to 13th, enduring a pit-road penalty for an out-of-control tire in the process, but that was the best he was able to do until the final run, where he made it to 12th at the finish.
Sauter, who came into the race fourth in the Truck Series’ standings, 43 points behind ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton, unofficially fell into a tie for fifth with Ryan Blaney, 47 points behind Crafton as ThorSport’s lead driver finished just two spots ahead of Sauter, in 10th.
Sauter’s scheduled to race his Super Late Model in the July 9 ARCA Midwest Tour Howie Lettow Memorial 150 at The Milwaukee Mile. The next Camping World Truck Series race is at Iowa Speedway on July 13.