Sauter Persevers After Early Damage to Finish 10th at Daytona

Feb 21, 2015

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Started: 19th
Finished: 10th
Laps: 100/100
Status: Running
Driver Points: 7th (-14)
Owner Points: 10th (-14)

Daytona Beach, FL (February 21, 2015) – The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) kicked-off it’s 2015 season at the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (DIS) on Friday night. Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 98 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, showed speed through both practice sessions, posting the fastest time in final practice on Thursday afternoon.

The Necedah, Wisc. native started the 100 lap/250 mile race from the 19th position after making it to the second round of NASCAR’s unique group, knock-out pole qualifying on Friday afternoon. Starting from the inside of row 10, Sauter quickly made his way through the field and was scored inside the top-10 when the first caution flag was displayed on lap 15 for a 10-truck accident in Turn 1. Crew chief Doug George brought the No. 98 machine to pit road for four tires and fuel under caution, lining Sauter up ninth for the lap 19 restart.

The ThorSport Racing driver maintained a position inside the top-10 for the next 25 circuits, running as high as fourth, before fading back to the 14th position on lap 40 due to no drafting help. Unfortunately, 10 laps later the “Big One,” broke out in Turn 3 and Sauter’s Tundra was a victim of circumstance in the 12-truck pile-up. The ThorSport Racing machine made several trips down pit road to fix the damage to the hood and fell as far back as 21st in the running order at the race’s half-way mark.

Sauter made several trips down pit road to repair the damage to his Toyota Tundra, even losing a lap late in the race, but perseverance allowed the ThorSport Racing driver to get back on the lead lap and fight for a solid finish in his seventh NCWTS start at DIS. Sauter would cross the stripe in the 10th position behind race winner Tyler Reddick, his third top-10 finish at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

“I probably made some poor choices early on, but in hindsight it probably worked out to my benefit tonight. I thought I could make a run on the outside like I did early in the race and people would go with me, but it was really hard to get the outside line going. I kept peeking out and losing a couple spots and ultimately it probably got me through that crash a little better than we did. I don’t really know what caused the wreck, but all the guys on this Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Curb Records Toyota Tundra did a phenomenal job fixing this Tundra tonight. At one point we were a lap down and the hood was flying off the thing and we persevered. I’m proud of everyone at ThorSport Racing; it’s a top-10 finish, which I’ve come out of here a lot worse before, so I’ll take it.”

  • In seven NCWTS starts at DIS, Johnny Sauter has one win (2013), two top-five and three top-10 finishes
  • According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Sauter ranked first in Green Flag Passes with 123
  • Tyler Reddick won the 16th annual NextEra Energy Resources 250 at DIS followed by Erik Jones (second), Scott Lagasse Jr. (third), Austin Theriault (fourth), and Ty Dillon (fifth)
Practice 1: 21st
Practice 2: 1st
Qualifying: 19th

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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 competed in the NCWTS since 1996, will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by two-time NCWTS drivers’ champion Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter, and the No. 13 Cabinets by Hayley Toyota Tundra driven by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cameron Hayley in 2015.