Sauter Looking for Victory Lane in the Desert

Nov 5, 2014

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For Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, racing has been in his blood since he was born. With strong family ties to the motorsports world, the Necedah, Wis. native has made 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts, won 10 races, claimed five poles, led 1159 laps and produced 56 top-five and 84 top-10 finishes. In fact, in the last five NCWTS races on the 2014 schedule, Sauter has a win at four of those tracks; Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR), site of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150, is the only track the series veteran has not claimed a win at.

In only five NCWTS starts at the one-mile tri-oval, Sauter has one pole (2009), has led 11 laps (2009) and produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes. After two strong runs in the series last two stops at Martinsville and Texas, in which the ThorSport Racing driver didn’t have the finishes to back it up, Sauter couldn’t think of a better place to get back on track and into victory lane than Friday night’s 150-lap event at PIR. A win this week would be a great tribute to Sauter’s dad, Jim, who passed away last week at the age of 71. Jim, a former NASCAR driver, made two career Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix (1988, and 1999) and earned a career-best fifth starting position in the 1988 event in the desert.

The ThorSport Racing team will be racing with heavy hearts on Friday night, as the No. 98 Tundra will carry an “In Memory Jim Sauter” decal – a tribute to the racer, father of 12, grandfather of 51 and great grandfather of nine.

Sounding off – Johnny Sauter:
“The old configuration was a pretty racy place — like short-track racing — and it was a lot of fun, it reminded me a lot of Milwaukee. The new configuration is obviously a little bit faster, but it still races real similar to what it was before. I don’t really know what it is that I like about it, I guess it’s just the uniqueness of it. Turn 1 is really a hard-braking turn, though now it’s a little bit different — it’s a real momentum corner because you have so much runoff room going down to the dogleg. Turns 3 and 4 are such a long, sweeping corner, so I guess it’s just got a lot more character than some of the other places we go. I don’t think you can sacrifice at all on one end to gain on the other — not if you’re going to win the race. I think whoever gets it right on both ends is going to be the guy to beat, so even though there are some racetracks that you have to sacrifice one end to be better on the other, I think Phoenix has enough grip and it’s new enough pavement that you’re going to have to be right on both ends to win the race.”

Sauter’s PIR Stats:
• Five NCWTS starts since 2009 including three top-five and four top-10 finishes
• One pole (2009)
• 11 Laps Led (2009)
• 705 of 754 laps completed (93.5%)
• Best finish: 3rd (2010)
• Average start: 7.4
• Average finish: 9.0
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Sauter ranks:
  º Fourth in Laps in the Top 15 (664)
  º Fourth in Fastest Laps Run (36)
  º Seventh in Driver Rating (100.9)
  º Ninth in Average Running Position (8.722)

Johnny Sauter at Phoenix

Series Races wins Top-5 Top-10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
NCWTS 5 0 3 4 0 705/754 11 7.4 9.0
NNS 10 0 0 2 0 1793/1995 0 16.9 19.9
NSCS 8 0 0 2 0 2027/2566 0 32.8 28.2

Sauter’s Phoenix International Raceway NCWTS Performance Profile:

Date Start Finish Laps Status Led
2009 1 5 151/151 Running 11
2010 5 3 150/150 Running 0
2011 8 4 150/150 Running 0
2012 16 25 104/153 Running 0
2013 7 8 150/150 Running 0

Johnny Sauter 2014:
• After a 16th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Sauter remains fourth in the NCWTS driver point standings, 52 markers behind series point leader and teammate Matt Crafton
• Was victorious for the first time in 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (8/15/14)
• Recorded a season-best first-place start at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet when qualifying was cancelled due to weather and the field was set based on the 2014 NCWTS rule book (9/12/14)
• In 20 starts this season, Sauter has one win, eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes
• Has led 154 laps
• Has completed 2873 of 3030 laps attempted (94.8%)
• Average start: 8.6
• Average finish: 9.2
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Sauter ranks:
  º Third in Laps in Top 15 (2690)
  º Fourth in Average Running Position (8.842)
  º Fourth in Driver Rating (95.4)
  º Sixth Laps Led (154)
  º Eighth in Fastest Laps Run (97)

Sauter’s Career Truck Series Stats:
• 150 starts since 2003
• 10 wins
• 56 top-five finishes
• 84 top-10 finishes
• Five poles
• 22,625 laps completed
• 1159 laps led
• Average start: 10.6
• Average finish: 11.0

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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

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.