"Johnny Rocket" looking to light-up IRP...again. HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 30, 2002) - The first time Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet Monte Carlo, visited Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park was last year on his way to the 2001...
"Johnny Rocket" looking to light-up IRP...again.
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 30, 2002) - The first time Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet Monte Carlo, visited Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park was last year on his way to the 2001 American Speedway Association (ASA) Championship. He started fourth, led 190 of 200 laps, and blew away the field to earn his record setting 10th win.
"It didn't take me long to get adapted to the racetrack," remembers Sauter. "The car was so good in the race that once I got out front, I never looked back. I led pretty much the whole race, and took the championship with the win. It was more than I could've imagined. To go out and clinch the championship with a win was something I didn't expect to do."
Heading back to the .686-mile racetrack for a one-day NASCAR Busch Series event this Saturday, Sauter looks to again dominate. The schedule will be different from the norm, though. Since everything will be completed in one day, there will be no final practice. Instead, teams get 30 minutes to make final adjustments before lining the cars up for the start of the Kroger 200.
"I'm not sure how things will work with the different schedule," Sauter adds. "It's kind of the same way we did things in ASA last year. We'd practice, qualify, then race the next day. We never did have a final practice before those races. I would imagine we won't really worry about qualifying, just getting the car in the best shape to race."
If Team ACDelco can get the blue and white racing machine to handle perfectly throughout the day on Saturday, there's no doubt Sauter has the capability of lighting-up the field and racetrack once again, just like he did in 2001.
* In last year's Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Kevin Harvick led the field to the checkered flag in a race marred by eight cautions. It was the No. 2 ACDelco Racing team's fourth of five wins on their way to the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Championship.
* Team ACDelco will take chassis No. 014 to race under the lights in Indianapolis this weekend. This car most recently was on track two weeks ago at Gateway International Raceway where Sauter started 17th and finished 11th. It also saw action at The Milwaukee Mile, Kentucky Speedway, both Nashville Superspeedway events, and Nazareth Speedway.
* Start time for Saturday night's Kroger 200 is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 200-lap event on TNT starts at 8:00 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 7:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings. ACDelco driver Johnny Sauter on Indianapolis Raceway Park
What did you learn from your first visit to IRP? "It's a short, flat racetrack similar to what I was used to racing in ASA last year. There's room to pass, but handling seems to be the most important aspect. If your car doesn't handle well there, you are in for a long day. Overall, it's a nice little speedway."
Do you like short-track racing? "Definitely. It's fun because you get to do a little bit of beating and banging. It keeps you on your toes, and is to me, what racing is all about. It doesn't matter what kind of motor or body you have, it's all about whoever has the best handling car. I guess you like what you know, and I know short track racing, so that's why I like it."
What's different about running Busch vs. ASA cars? "The Busch cars are much heavier and the slightest adjustment can mean a world of difference. There's also a lot more horsepower in the Busch car, the suspension is different, and the wheels are not the same. It's basically a totally different kind of animal."
ACDelco crew chief Rick Viers on Indianapolis Raceway Park
How are you preparing for Saturday's Kroger 200? "Well, we've got a lot of good information to use this weekend. The ACDelco car won this race last year. Johnny won at this racetrack in ASA. That will give us a good start. The fact that it's a one-day deal keeps everyone on an even keel. I like this kind of racing."