Top-10 Finish for Sauter in the Desert

Nov 8, 2014

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Johnny Sauter started the race-shortened Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR) from the 14th position after getting loose in final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) practice on Thursday and making contact with the Turn 3 wall. Forced to make repairs to the primary truck instead of bringing out a back-up, Sauter struggled with a Toyota Tundra that was tight throughout the caution-plagued event on Friday. After a delayed start due to a power outage in the area’s West Valley region, 48 caution laps, and one red flag, the ThorSport Racing driver crossed the stripe ninth, his fifth top-10 result in six starts at the 1-mile oval.

Starting from the inside of row four, Sauter would work his way up to the seventh position early, fighting a “tight” condition through the races first 91 laps before bringing his No. 98 Tundra to pit road for a scheduled stop under green for four tires and fuel, including a trackbar adjustment to aid in the handling. Sauter would return to the track in the 11th position, one lap down to the race leaders, who had not made their scheduled stops. Unfortunately, the races fifth caution flag was displayed at lap 101 for an accident in Turn 4 before pit stops cycled through, and Sauter was forced to take the “wave around,” placing him back on the lead lap.

Restarting 11th, one of the last trucks on the lead lap, Sauter would immediately complain that his Tundra was “plowing.” With nothing to lose, crew chief Jeff Hensley would bring the No. 98 machine back down pit road on the races sixth caution for four tires, a trackbar adjustment and to remove some tape, in an effort to improve the handling. The ThorSport Racing driver would restart eighth at lap 118 and lose one position to Austin Dillon in the races final eight laps, before NASCAR stopped the field 24 laps shy of the scheduled distance for another power outage around the 1-mile oval. Sauter would be credited with a ninth-place finish behind race winner Erik Jones, his 15th top-10 finish of 2014.

• Johnny Sauter made his sixth start at PIR in Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150
• The ThorSport Racing driver got loose in Turn 3 in final practice on Thursday, making hard contact with the wall. The No. 98 ThorSport Racing team would make repairs to the right rear and tail of the No. 98 Tundra before qualifying on Friday afternoon
• Sauter started 14th, ran as high as third, and crossed the stripe ninth in Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 – his fifth top-10 finish in six starts at PIR
• After a top-10 run at PIR, Sauter remains fourth in the 2014 NCWTS driver point standings, 59 markers behind leader and ThorSport Racing teammate, Matt Crafton
• In 21 starts in 2014, Sauter has one win, eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes
• Erik Jones won the 20th annual Lucas Oil 150 at PIR followed by Matt Crafton (second), Cole Custer (third), Ryan Blaney (fourth) and Ben Rhodes (fifth)
• Friday night’s victory was the 17th of the season for Tundra drivers in NCWTS competition – marking the 128th win for Tundra drivers since Toyota joined the series in 2004
• Up next: The NCWTS heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the series final on Friday, November 14

Practice: 8th; 27.576 seconds/130.548mph
2nd Practice: 15th; 27.418 seconds/131.301mph
Qualifying: 14th; 27.049 seconds/133.092mph

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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.