BUSCH: Chicagoland: Johnny Sauter race report

Sauter's strong showing ends early Joliet, Ill. (July 12) -- Johnny Sauter drove the PayDay Chevrolet to a 27th- place finish in the Tropicana Twister 300 July 12 at the Chicagoland Speedway. Sauter, who started the day on the outside ...

Sauter's strong showing ends early

Joliet, Ill. (July 12) -- Johnny Sauter drove the PayDay Chevrolet to a 27th- place finish in the Tropicana Twister 300 July 12 at the Chicagoland Speedway. Sauter, who started the day on the outside pole, didn't have a finish reflective of his on-track performance.

Engine failure on lap 162 forced Sauter to bring the PayDay Chevrolet to the garage for the remainder of the event. Sauter was running in the fourth position before he left the racing surface.

"This car was really good all day long and really from the time we unloaded," Sauter said after the event. "We were going to have a great finish, but just some bad luck this week. This PayDay Chevrolet is good, so we'll back next week with another strong car."

Sauter started off the weekend on a high note. He held the provisional pole for much of Busch Series qualifying, until a late run by Casey Mears knocked him from the point, and Sauter started from the outside pole position.

At the drop of the green flag, Sauter settled the PayDay machine into the third position, where he battled for the majority of the first half of event. Sauter battled an "aero-tight" handling condition when he was drafting behind other cars. A lap 64 caution flag brought Sauter and the PayDay Chevrolet to pit road for service. The team made major adjustments and returned Sauter to the racing surface in the sixth position.

Sauter then battled for the fifth position for the next 60 laps. A right front tire lost air pressure and forced Sauter back to pit road on lap 132. The PayDay team made an impressive stop, and Sauter returned to the racing surface in great shape. After the pit stops cycled through, Sauter was seventh, the last car on the lead lap.

A lap 153 caution flag was waved, and crew chief Butch Hylton elected to bring Sauter back to the pit box for more adjustments, in what would be his last service of the day. Sauter entered the pits in the sixth position. A speedy stop by the PayDay team returned him to the track in the fourth position.

Unfortunately, the engine expired soon after that on lap 162.

Bobby Hamilton Jr. won the event, followed by Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers. Sauter remains eighth in the Busch Series driver's standings, and the PayDay team remains first in the team rankings.

Next week the series travels to Loudon, N.H., for the July 19 New England 200. Live TV coverage on TNT begins at 1 p.m. EDT. Live radio coverage on MRN also starts at 1 p.m. EDT.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Casey Mears , Johnny Sauter