Sauter Storms to Second in Kentucky Sparta, Ky. (Sept. 4, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter took advantage of shrewd pit strategy and a strong truck to finish second in the No. 13 FarmPaint.com/Curb Records Chevrolet in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World...
Sauter Storms to Second in Kentucky
Sparta, Ky. (Sept. 4, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter took advantage of shrewd pit strategy and a strong truck to finish second in the No. 13 FarmPaint.com/Curb Records Chevrolet in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Sauter's runner-up finish was his third of 2010 and his eighth top-five finish in the past eleven races.
Sauter started alongside pole starter Austin Dillon after missing the pole by just three one-thousandths of a second. At the drop of the green, Sauter bolted out to an early lead and held the advantage until the first caution waved at lap 21.
Divergent pit strategies under the first two cautions of the night, with some teams taking fuel and others taking fuel and tires, dropped Sauter to seventh by the 50 lap mark. Sauter quickly raced his way back into the top five and stayed there until lap 92 when Paddy Rodenbeck spun to bring out the fourth caution of the night. Crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. called Sauter to pit road for the final time of the night with 57 laps to run, which was exactly how far the team calculated they could run on one tank of fuel. Among lead lap trucks, only Sauter and series championship leader Todd Bodine made stops under that caution, dropping them outside the top ten.
Once under green, Sauter made moves towards the front but his forward progress halted at eighth position -- that is until lap 125 when most of the seven drivers in front of him started to peel off to hit pit road for fuel. Once up to second, behind only Bodine, Shear cleared Sauter to stop conserving fuel and pressure Bodine, whose team calculated him to be approximately one lap short of fuel. Sauter narrowed the gap, but Bodine's fuel held and he held Sauter at bay by 5.6 seconds to take the win.
"At the time I didn't think that call to come and get fuel on that last stop was the right one," Sauter said. "I didn't think there was any way we would run the last 50 laps under the green flag. But Joe made a great call and it paid off for us tonight. That put us back in traffic and we lost some ground on Todd after the restart because clear air is so important on a track like this. Once we cleared traffic we could run the same times he was running. We were hoping he was a lap short on fuel and we could steal one. He spun and that is actually what helped him win the race. He had to stop and make some repairs and got fuel while they were doing it and that's what did it for him.
"When it's your year it's your year," Sauter continued. "Those guys are having a lot of really good luck right now and they're on a roll. We've had a couple of bad days that took us out of the championship through no fault of our own, but I am so proud of these ThorSport Racing guys. That's seven top-fives in the last nine races. We're not giving up; we think we have a couple wins left in us before the year is over. I can't thank everyone at FarmPaint.com enough for their support. We had about 30 guests up from Lexington to watch us and cheer us on and I am glad we picked up another good finish for them here tonight."
Sauter unofficially stays third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings, just 57 points behind second-place Aric Almirola and 318 behind leader Bodine.
Next up for Sauter and the No. 13 ThorSport Racing/Curb Records Chevrolet is the RaceDayRaffleSeries.com 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday September 18.