LOUDON, NH (May 12, 2002) Tim Sauter continued his streak of strong NASCAR Busch Series finishes this weekend, posting a 12th-place finish in the Busch 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday. "It has been great to perform this ...
LOUDON, NH (May 12, 2002) Tim Sauter continued his streak of strong NASCAR Busch Series finishes this weekend, posting a 12th-place finish in the Busch 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday.
"It has been great to perform this well," said Sauter, driver of the No. 19 AP Performance Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo. "We have been in contention to win the past five week. This week was probably our worst week since Bobby (crew chief Bobby Bakeeff) came on board and we finished 12th. That's not bad. This finish would have meant the world to me earlier this year, so it's important to not lose track of our improvement as a team."
Sauter started the 200-lap event from the 15th position after turning a qualifying lap around the NHIS "Magic Mile" at 29.924 seconds (127.282 miles per hour). Sauter's closest call of the day came during a restart on Lap 6 when several front runners checked up and made contact while taking the green. In the ensuing traffic jam, Sauter safely maneuvered to the inside of the track to miss the wreck. In the process, Sauter fell to 21st position but managed to keep his unsponsored Chevy unscathed.
"Everybody checked up on that restart," said the Necedah, WI native. "It was stop and go deal. I had my hand out the window trying to slow everybody down. We made it through, but some really good cars didn't."
Sauter managed to stay in the Top-15 throughout the early stages of the race pitting on Lap 78 during the second caution of the day. There, his AP Performance pit crew made wholesale chassis changes to his Chevy while advancing him two spots in the pits placing him 13th on the restart.
"Our pit stops were great today," said Sauter. "We didn't give anything up, and we gained positions. I was best during the third green-flag run. Then, I could make a run on them getting in the corner, but still couldn't get on the gas like I wanted too. We just didn't leave ourselves much adjustment in the springs."
Sauter was poised to break into the Top-10 for the rest of the race, but had to settle for 12th as passing on the tricky New Hampshire oval proved to be a premium. It was his fourth Top-15 effort in the last five races. The 1999 American Speed Association titlest earned $15,185 in prize money and jumped up to 13th in the NBS season championship standings, up 17 positions in the last nine races.
"We could have gambled during that last stop, taken gas only and went for track position, but you never know if that would have helped," said Sauter. "If this is a bad day, then you're running well, especially for an unsponsored team. I brought the car back in one piece, which is good since we will take the same one to Nazareth next weekend. This was another good weekend at the track."
Sauter and his No. 19 AP Performance Chevrolet Monte Carlo will be back in action in the Stacker 200 at Nazareth Speedway, May 19, at 12 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will telecast live on FX and broadcast on MRN Radio worldwide.
For more information on Tim Sauter and the AP Performance Racing team visitwww.timsauter.com