CONCORD, NC (February 20, 2002) - A mid-race wreck ended any hopes of a top finish for Tim Sauter and his No. 19 US 131 Motorsports Park Chevrolet Saturday in the EAS/GNC Live Well 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Sauter checked up to...
CONCORD, NC (February 20, 2002) - A mid-race wreck ended any hopes of a top finish for Tim Sauter and his No. 19 US 131 Motorsports Park Chevrolet Saturday in the EAS/GNC Live Well 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
Sauter checked up to avoid a wreck as he raced into the trioval portion of the 2.5-mile Daytona oval on Lap 75 . The collision significantly damaged Sauter's red, white and blue Monte Carlo, but solid work by his AP Performance Racing team on a series of pit stops during the ensuing caution period kept Sauter in the race. Unfortunately, the accident ended any chances of a top finish in the event.
"I don't know how it started, but several cars started spinning ahead of me in the front stretch," said Sauter. "I checked up and someone got into me from behind. There was nowhere to go. I'm upset, this is a rookie team and they were performing well. This is not the finish we deserved."
Sauter started the 44th-annual Daytona NASCAR Busch Series event from the 30th position after logging a lap of 182.271 miles per hour (49.377seconds) in qualifying.
The Necedah, WI driver quickly found out early in the race that his car was extremely tight in the middle of the corners, especially in the draft.
"It's really tight when I get up behind someone," radioed Sauter to his crew. "I've got a heck of a push. I'm holding it flat wide open, I'm doing the best I can do."
A pair of pit stops, one at Lap 25 and another on the 57th-circuit, helped cure the handling problem with Sauter's mount. Now locked in a 25-car lead draft dogfight, Sauter had little time to react when a trio of cars collided coming off Turn 4 on the 75th-lap. With nowhere to go, Sauter was swept up into the grinding wreck eventually spinning to a halt at the start/finish line
Battered but not broken, Sauter rode out the final 40 laps collecting the 26th-place finish and $30,450 in prize money.
"It was great to see the AP team communicate and make the correct changes," said Sauter. "We caught the draft and I felt we were headed up to the Top 10 since we had our early race push under control. I am just let down that we got taken out in someone else's wreck. Every lap is important in the championship and I am proud of this team for digging and turning a DNF into a 27th place finish. We will just regroup and go to Rockingham. Our test there went well and we are just waiting for our next shot at a win."
Sauter and his AP Performance Racing team will return to action Saturday, February 23, in the 1-866-RBCTEAM 200 at North Carolina Speedway. The event will take the green flag at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and will be telecast live on FOX. MRN Radio will broadcast the race worldwide on more than 300 affiliated stations.
AP Performance Racing debuted in 1992 as an American Speed Association entry with team owner Alec Pinsonneault as the driver. The Windsor, Ontario based team notched 16 ASA victories and a pair of division titles with Tim Sauter (1999) and Johnny Sauter (2001) delivering the championship trophies. Now housed in a state of the art facility in Mooresville, NC, AP Performance Racing will field a full-time NASCAR Busch Series effort in 2002 with Tim Sauter again handling the driving chores. AP Performance Racing is a division of AP Development. Also in the family of AP companies are Build A Mold, A.P. Tool and Gauge, Moldplas, Inc, Trimplas, LTD, Trimplas 2 and Trimplas 2000.