21st For Sauter; Country Joe Racing In Pocono "Tire Problem Takes Pocono Toll In Sauter's Pocono Debut" LONG POND, PA (June 11, 2007) - - After flittering with the top-10 for much of Saturday's Pocono 200, Johnny Sauter in his ARCA RE/MAX Series...
21st For Sauter; Country Joe Racing In Pocono
"Tire Problem Takes Pocono Toll In Sauter's Pocono Debut"
LONG POND, PA (June 11, 2007) - - After flittering with the top-10 for much of Saturday's Pocono 200, Johnny Sauter in his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut for County Joe Racing fell victim to a flat tire late in the race to post a disappointing 21st place finish.
Pulling double-duty in both the ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, the youngest of the Sauter clan planned to utilize the 10th race of the 2007 ARS schedule as a test session for Sunday's Pocono 500 behind the wheel of his No. 70 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS.
The weekend got off to a solid start for the Country Joe Racing after posting the ninth fastest time in practice. Dealing with a tight racecar, Sauter turned to crew chief Mike Chaffee to make the necessary adjustments to help with the handling of the No. 32 Red Line Oil Dodge.
In ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Sauter maneuvered a lap of 55.870 seconds at 161.062 MPH lining up the Wisconsin native 16th on the grid. Following his time trials run, Sauter admitted he lost ground and was disappointed in the lap.
"We slowed down from practice," offered Sauter. "The guys tried hard, but I just messed up a little bit. I'm really confident in what the car will do during the race and I think we'll have a shot at a top-10 finish."
Sauter, well known for his smooth yet cautiously-aggressive driving style was looking forward to making Pocono Raceway one of his favorites on the racing tour. At the start of the 80 lap/200 mile Sauter thundered his Dodge through the grid quickly finding himself hovering inside the top-12.
As the race progressed, so did Sauter. Moving forward was key for the County Joe Racing team and Sauter agreed.
With the goal of finishing in the top-10, Sauter looked to complete that goal with ease but CJR was one of several teams that fell victim to tire failure during the first of two races at Pocono Raceway this season.
Sauter was forced to bring his No. 32 Dodge to the attention of his team where they changed the Hoosier tires and sent their driver back into the event. Because of the mishap, the team fell off the lead lap but Sauter fought back to finish 21st, one lap off the pace.
"We had a solid day going and then we had the tire issue," Sauter explained. "I was learning a lot and getting a good rhythm before our day changed. I'm sorry that I couldn't deliver a top-10 finish to the team but I want to thank the guys for giving me a good piece to drive."
"Johnny did a good job for us today," said Nate Thiesse, Director of Operations for Country Joe Racing. "We were making our way through the field and we had a top-10 in the books before we had a flat tire. Johnny did a good job keeping the fenders on the car and we salvaged a decent finish."
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the ARCA 200 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Serving as the first of a triple-header weekend for the Michiganders, the 11th race on the 2007 schedule will take the green flag on Friday, June 15 beginning at 5:00pm with live coverage on SPEED.