Johnny Sauter’s been down this road before — leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings early in the season — so he knows exactly what he needs to do with his No. 98 Nextant Aerospace / Curb Records Toyota Tundra in Friday night’s SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway.
“That’s easy — winning takes care of just about everything,” Sauter said. “This season’s starting out a little bit different than last — we’re tied for the point lead instead of being out there all alone — but our two races this season have proven my ThorSport team hasn’t forgotten how to run up front.”
Sauter, whose ThorSport Racing team has finished third and fourth at Daytona and Martinsville, respectively — a pair of races he won last season, is currently tied with Timothy Peters atop the standings. With teammate, and defending Kansas race and NCWTS drivers’ championship winner Matt Crafton lurking in third, just four points back, the team based in Sandusky, Ohio, has a good chance to continue its front-runner’s role.
“We got our Nextant Tundra working pretty well when we tested at Charlotte a couple weeks ago,” Sauter said of a recent test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in which all three ThorSport Tundras participated. “Kansas, obviously is not that racetrack and really, since they just repaved it two years ago it actually races quite a bit different.
“You throw in the fact that this is a night race — and we’ve never raced trucks at Kansas at night — and who knows what we’re gonna get? I’ll tell you one thing — it’ll be fast, and I don’t mind that one bit.”
Five of Sauter’s nine career Truck Series victories have come on 1.5-mile speedways — including Kansas in 2010, his second win for ThorSport — so he has good reason to be optimistic about his chances Friday.
This is the first of 14 Kansas truck races to be held under the lights. In his five Kansas truck starts, Sauter has four top-nine finishes.
“We had to work to get our truck going last year and in the race, Matt ended up having everyone covered,” Sauter said. “This time around we’re practicing Thursday afternoon and racing Friday night, so that will be a challenge to get your truck working as good as it’s going to need to be.
“Qualifying will probably be a wide-open lap — at least in the first session if we’re finally able to get knockout qualifying in this weekend. That’ll be interesting, for sure.”
After opening inspection on Thursday morning the 32 entered trucks will have two practice sessions later that day, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET and from 4-5:30. Neither has TV coverage scheduled on FOX Sports 1.
The Truck Series’ inaugural — since qualifying sessions at both Daytona and Martinsville were rained-out — multi-segment, elimination-style group Keystone Light Pole Qualifying session to set the up-to 36-truck starting lineup is Friday at 4:40 p.m. ET, with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 4:30.
Friday evening’s 167-lap, 250.5-mile main event will be telecast live on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET, preceded by The Setup pre-race show at 8. The live broadcast on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio begins with pre-race coverage at 8. Live timing & scoring for the weekend’s events will be at www.nascar.com.
ABOUT NEXTANT AEROSPACE:
Nextant Aerospace is recognized as the first company in the world to introduce aircraft remanufacturing to the business jet market. The Nextant 400XTi is a completely-rebuilt Beechjet 400A/XP with Williams FJ44-3AP engines and the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21™ integrated avionics suite. The new aircraft also has major aerodynamic enhancements and an improved engine mounting configuration with redesigned nacelles and pylons. The 400XTi is delivered with a two-year full-aircraft warranty and after-sales support provided by a global network of owned and authorized service centers. Founded in 2007, Nextant is based in Cleveland, Ohio. Nextant is a Directional Aviation Capital company. For more information, please visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @NextantAero or join us on LinkedIn.
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 1,200 Billboard Top Ten records and charted just under 4,000 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 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. ThorSport, which has run in the Truck Series since 1996, in 2014 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by 2013 drivers’ champion Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra driven by Jeb Burton in the Truck Series and the No. 13 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.