Sauter Settles for 16th in Texas

Nov 2, 2014

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Two-time Texas Motor Speedway winner, Johnny Sauter, showed promise for a third cowboy hat after posting the fastest times in both NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) practice sessions on Thursday at the 1.5-mile track. After a 12th-place qualifying effort on Friday, the ThorSport Racing driver was “haunted” with bad luck in Friday night’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 and credited with a 16th-place finish.

Sauter, who was making his 13th appearance in the Lone Star State, started the 147-lap event from the 12th position. The driver advanced to the sixth position on the opening lap and maintained his position until the first caution flag was displayed on lap 23. Crew chief Jeff Hensley brought the No. 98 Tundra to pit road for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment to aid in the “tight on exit” feel.

Restarting sixth, Sauter would lose two positions on the race track before complaining of a “vibration killing my speed.” Falling as far back as 10th in the running order, the ThorSport Racing driver would eventually relinquish his position on track to bring his Peach Smokey Snuff Tundra to pit road under green to aid in the vibration. Hensley would make the call for four tires and fuel, returning Sauter to the demanding, high-speed oval in the 20th position after learning the Necedah, Wisconsin driver had a broken right front wheel.

The ensuing run would give way to green flag pit stops. As the leaders began coming down pit road for scheduled stops, the second caution flag was displayed on lap 77 and the No. 98 Tundra was scored fifth. Opting to stay out under caution for track position, Sauter would restart fourth at lap 81. On old tires, Sauter would eventually fall back to the 11th position before an opportunity for relief came on lap 97 when the third caution flag was displayed. Hensley would call the ThorSport Racing driver to pit road for his final scheduled stop for four tires and fuel.

The Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff driver would maintain his position inside the top-10 over the next 36 circuits before going for a spin on the frontstretch at lap 137, bringing out the fifth caution of the afternoon. The crew would bring the No. 98 Tundra to pit road, under caution, twice to repair damage to the splitter. The ThorSport Racing driver would maintain a top-20 position in the final 10 laps to cross the stripe in the 16th position behind race winner Kyle Busch.

• Johnny Sauter made his 13th career start at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Friday night’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 350
• Sauter ran as high as fourth, but crossed the stripe after 152 laps in the 16th position
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Sauter ranked ninth in Average Running Position (9.50)
• In 13 starts at TMS, Sauter has two wins, two poles, 224 laps led, five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes
• In 20 starts in 2014, Sauter has one win, 154 laps led, eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes
• After a 16th-place finish at TMS, Sauter maintains the fourth position in the 2014 NCWTS driver point standings, 52 markers behind leader and ThorSport Racing teammate, Matt Crafton
• Kyle Busch won the WinStar World Casino 350k at TMS followed by Jeb Burton (second), Timothy Peters (third), Tyler Reddick (fourth) and Matt Crafton (fifth)
• Busch’s victory clinched the 2014 NCWTS Manufacturers’ Championship for Toyota
• Up next: Sauter will make his sixth career start at Phoenix International Raceway in the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday, November 7

Practice: 1st;29.981 seconds/180.114mph
Final Practice: 1st;29.969 seconds/180.186mph
Qualifying: 12th; 30.439 seconds/177.404mph

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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 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.