Tim Sauter started the Ford 300 from the 25th position. Sauter worked his way up to 21st by the time the caution came out on Lap 21. After taking on four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment to help a tight handling condition, crew chief Bobby Bakeeff brought Sauter's Chevy back in to top off his fuel at the end of the extended caution flag. Sauter restarted at the tail end of the field, and topped off his tanks once more when the second caution fell on Lap 32. Sauter then exercised some pit strategy, staying out past the leaders' pit window and leading a lap himself with the possibility of catching the leaders a lap down. However, without a caution coming out, Sauter was forced to make a green flag stop and lose a lap. Sauter returned to the track in the 26th position and was running lap times the same as the leaders. Sauter managed to power his way up to the 18th position before the checkers fell on the last race for the 2002 season. The Top 20 finish solidified Sauter's 13th spot in the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings.
TIM SAUTER POST RACE QUOTES:
"I wanted to get my best finish ever today, but we didn't have the car to do it. We just didn't have a handle on it. I was tight off, loose in the center. We were sliding around all day. I was searching different lines and learning the track. Halfway through the race I found a good line around. With fresh tires I could use the apron, still get some grip, and get a straight shot off the corners. We gambled with our pit strategy, but it backfired on us when the cautions didn't fall where we needed them too. Hindsight is always 20/20, we were just trying to put ourselves in contention to win."
"It has been a long season, and I am proud of what AP Performance Racing has accomplished. You can see how we have improved over the year and I expect that to continue next season."
"Right now we are focused on next season. By December 1st, I will know whether or not AP Performance Racing is coming back next season, or if I will be looking for a ride."