Stability is Key Word for ThorSport Racing as 2010 Approaches Sandusky, Ohio (January 25, 2010) -- With major personnel movement throughout most of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams during the off-season making news, one team that has...
Stability is Key Word for ThorSport Racing as 2010 Approaches
Sandusky, Ohio (January 25, 2010) -- With major personnel movement throughout most of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams during the off-season making news, one team that has been notably silent on that topic is ThorSport Racing. Fresh off a season that saw Matt Crafton score a career-best second-place finish in the championship standings and teammate Johnny Sauter score his first career series win en route to a sixth-place finish overall and the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award, both drivers return for 2010 with the core of their teams intact.
Crafton returns to the seat of the No. 88 Menard Chevrolet with crew chief Bud Haefele calling the shots for the fifth consecutive season. Together they have scored one win (Charlotte 2008), 25 top-five finishes, 53 top-ten finishes, two poles, and two top-five finishes in the championship standings. Haefele spent many years building cars to race the short tracks in northern Ohio before building an ARCA Series car, earning the pole with driver Rick Groetsch at Flat Rock in 1998 along with three top-five finishes in just five races. Before joining ThorSport, Haefele worked with the Liberty Racing team and with Kevin Harvick, Inc. before making the move to be Crafton's crew chief in 2006.
"Working with Bud is pretty easy because we have the same type of personality," Crafton said. "When we're in the garage after a practice run and I am explaining what I think it's going to take to make the truck better, we're on the same page. We think alike, we talk alike, we laugh at the same things and we both want to win more than anything. That's what makes us a good team -- we both know what each other is thinking before we have to say it."
Sauter teamed up with long-time friend - and sometimes crew chief - Joe Shear, Jr. in the second half of the 2009 season. After watching their respective fathers battle against each other week in and week out on the Wisconsin short tracks, the duo have worked together frequently after moving into the NASCAR ranks. After joining the No. 13 FunSand/Curb Records Chevrolet team for the Chicagoland race in August, Shear led Sauter to his first series win just four races later at Las Vegas, six top-five finishes, eight top-ten finishes, and one pole. He also led the charge from eleventh in the standings after Chicagoland to sixth at the end of the year.
"I think it all comes down to confidence," Sauter said, referencing his relationship to Shear. "The first time we ever worked together we just hit it off. When I get in the truck with Joe working on it I know it's going to be right. I think some of that goes to watching his dad race against my dad and knowing he and I have very similar backgrounds."
Notes: Johnny Sauter and his wife Cortney welcomed their first child, Penn Joseph Sauter, on January 13. Little Penn Joseph weighed in at an impressive 8 pounds, five ounces. Both mother and son are now home resting comfortably ... Sauter's crew chief Joe Shear Jr. and his wife Chrandra were married on January 17 just outside of Greensboro, North Carolina ... No. 88 Menards Chevy crew member Kitrick Schrader, who was injured in a snowmobile accident on January 9, is now resting comfortably and in stable condition at Cleveland Metro Hospital. Schrader has undergone numerous surgeries since the accident to repair bone and arterial damage in his left leg.
Next Race: The 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series kicks off with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday February 12.