Johnny Sauter at home at The Milwaukee Mile DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2004) -- There's no place like home for Johnny Sauter (No. 27 Kleenex/Scott Brand Products Pontiac). Necedah, Wis., Sauter's hometown, is about a 2Â½-hour drive from The...
Johnny Sauter at home at The Milwaukee Mile
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2004) -- There's no place like home for Johnny Sauter (No. 27 Kleenex/Scott Brand Products Pontiac). Necedah, Wis., Sauter's hometown, is about a 2½-hour drive from The Milwaukee Mile and the site of Saturday night's Alan Kulwicki 250 presented by Forest County Potawatomi Racing.
Kimberly-Clark Corp., parent company of Sauter's primary sponsor, Kleenex, is located in Appleton, Wis., a little more than 100 miles from the track. So, yes, this will be a big weekend for Johnny Sauter. In addition, Sauter will throw out the first pitch at the Milwaukee Brewers-Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball game on Thursday.
"Between my friends, family and sponsor, we should take up about half the grandstands," Sauter says. "You definitely want to put on a show for the hometown crowd. Knowing that so many of your friends and family are up in the stands is exciting. A lot of the folks that will be watching the race are the same people that cheered me on when I was racing all the local short tracks in the area, so it will be just like old times. It's a great feeling and I want to give them something to cheer about."
Two years ago, Sauter had the unprecedented opportunity to race against two brothers -- Jay and Tim -- and his father, Jim. Tim wound up ninth, Johnny 12th, Jay 13th and Jim 29th.
"It seemed more like a family reunion than it did a race," Sauter remembers. "To have us all competing together was the thrill of a lifetime. We all qualified in the top 10. Jay, Tim and I all had a pretty good race. We made the top 15. My dad had trouble with his brakes and went a few laps down. Even if we didn't all get top-five finishes, it was a special race, and I'll never forget it."
Sauter will give Jim a belated Father's Day present by fielding an entry for him in Friday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Milwaukee.
"No doubt about it ... my dad is the biggest reason I got into racing," Sauter says. "I grew up watching him race each weekend, which made me want to do it. I guess it's kind of like other kids going to their dad's office and watching them work. I did the same thing, but it was at the race track. I loved everything I saw -- the sights, the sounds, all of the excitement from the grandstands.
"It will be a dream come true to have my dad in my truck at Milwaukee. That's his Father's Day gift. It's neat to think that after all he's helped me with, I'll be able to give that to him as a present. It is a gift that I know he'll love, for sure."