Sauter, AP Performance Chevy dig deep for top-10 finish at Gateway. MADISON, IL (July 20, 2002) Tim Sauter and his No. 19 AP Performance Chevrolet Monte Carlo charged back from a lap down to finish 10th in the Charter Pipeline 250 NASCAR Busch...
Sauter, AP Performance Chevy dig deep for top-10 finish at Gateway.
MADISON, IL (July 20, 2002) Tim Sauter and his No. 19 AP Performance Chevrolet Monte Carlo charged back from a lap down to finish 10th in the Charter Pipeline 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway Saturday. Sauter, who fell as low as 40th in his initial NBS event at the suburban St. Louis track, rallied to notch the fifth Top-10 finish of the season for the unsponsored AP Performance Racing Team.
"This was a tough weekend for the guys," Sauter stated. "We were in bad shape all through practice fighting a tight racecar. Nobody on the AP Performance Racing Team gave an inch. We stayed with it, kept upbeat, and bounced back."
Sauter qualified 18th with a lap of 34.563 seconds (130.197 miles per hour) Friday and battled an ill-handling racecar in the early stages of Saturday's race. Despite making adjustments during two early pit stops, Sauter's car still was not up to snuff as he fell to 40th, one lap down to the leaders by Lap 65.
Fortunately, Sauter was able to stretch his fuel mileage to get back on the lead lap as the leaders cycled through pit stops. When the yellow flag flew on Lap 91, Sauter was back on the lead lap for good in 17th position.
"After the first 20 laps, the car was so tight I thought we might wreck and be done with it," explained Sauter. "We made some really big adjustments during the race and they helped a ton."
It was apparent that the No. 19 Chevy had responded to the changes because Sauter's lap times were comparable to the leaders. Up to speed, but out of pit sequence with the leaders, Sauter cycled through to as high as second place as the front-runners made their stops. Luck again went Sauter's way when a caution period on Lap 170 allowed him to pit for fuel and just two tires maintaining the hard-fought track position near the front of the field.
"Sometimes we have average cars and we make gutsy calls with them, then we end up going home in the Top 10," explained Sauter. "When we have really good cars and are conservative, we end with a bad finish. In situations like that final stop, it's great to have Bobby (crew chief Bobby Bakeeff) on your side."
Now 10th in the field, Sauter posted his fastest laps of the race over the final circuits to come home with the Top-10 finish. The effort earned the Necedah, WI driver $26,400 in prize money and he is now 13th in the 2002 NBS championship chase, just 226 points out of the Top 10.
"I was tying to get everything I could, every lap," said Sauter. "You have to hold the bottom line here at Gateway. Toward the end of the race we had a balanced enough car to do just that. I am proud of the team, this was a great effort."
Sauter and his AP Performance Racing Team will next travel to Pikes Peak International Raceway for the NetZero 250. The Saturday, July 27 event will take the green flag at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will telecast live on NBC and broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.
For more information on Tim Sauter and AP Performance Racing, please team visit www.timsauter.com.