HOMESTEAD, FL (November 10, 2001) - Tim Sauter and the No. 19 AP Performance Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo were able to overcome an engine-related problem in preparation for the GNC Live Well 300. A second engine mishap, this one in the race,...
HOMESTEAD, FL (November 10, 2001) - Tim Sauter and the No. 19 AP Performance Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo were able to overcome an engine-related problem in preparation for the GNC Live Well 300. A second engine mishap, this one in the race, was another story. "We broke a valve or something in the motor," stated Sauter, disappointed with a 40th-place finish after falling out just short of halfway in the 200-lap NASCAR Busch Series event at Homestead Miami Speedway. "I think there was something wrong with the engine from the start of the race because it was really flat. It just never ran the way it should have. It stayed about even for a long time, but I noticed the engine revolutions started to fall off just after we pitted. Our lap times also started to fall off, so we decided to come in. There was no sense staying out there and causing a wreck." The weekend got off to a slow start as Sauter's Chevy Monte Carlo experienced engine trouble after just a few laps of practice. A subsequent engine change used up most of the two-hour practice session leaving the team well down on the stat sheet (42nd) and searching for answers prior to qualifying. "We were behind the eight-ball," said Sauter. "We hoped to get dialed in during practice, but after the engine problem, we had to really thrash on the car just to get it back out there and get a few laps in before qualifying." Despite the problem, Sauter was able to turn in a qualifying lap of 36.395 seconds (148.372 miles per hour), good enough for 25th in the 43-car starting grid. "I just drove it down in there and hoped for the best," said Sauter. "We made some wholesale chassis changes before qualifying and the car turned perfectly in the corners. We really didn't have any practice time to speak of and we still qualified well up in the field. That's really a compliment to this new AP Performance Racing team. The guys busted their guts out to change the engine and to get this thing right for qualifying." At the drop of the green flag, Sauter quickly moved up several positions in the running order only to fall back again when contact from another car nearly sent the red, white and blue US 131 Motorsports Park Chevy into the Turn 3 wall. "That was really close," Sauter stated. "I was wheeling for all I was worth. We were very lucky not to wind up in the fence there." Despite the problems, Sauter was still able to stay in the Top-25 and rolled to the attention of his AP Performance Racing team for fuel and four new tires on Lap 66. Armed with a fresh load of ammo, Sauter returned to the action only to have to come to the garage area shortly afterward on the 91st circuit when his engine woes finally got the best of him. "The goal was to come here and make the race," said Sauter. "We did that yesterday thanks to a true team effort. Everyone pitched in and we overcame some big time adversity for the first time. We came together as a team. That also showed that we have a lot of potential. It's hard to be disappointed considering we gained on all accounts. In a lot of ways, what happed this weekend was very encouraging. It was important for us to run these two final races at Rockingham and Miami. I think it was an eye-opener to everyone on the team that we are going to have to have our act together to run these Busch Series races next season. On the other hand, I think we proved we could compete with these guys. We ran with a lot of fast cars today. The potential is there to do it." The GNC Live Well 300 closed out the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series season. Sauter and his AP Performance Racing team will next take the green flag at Daytona Beach, FL in the 2002 NBS season-opening event Saturday, February 16. The event will be telecast live on NBC and will be broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.
ABOUT AP PERFORMANCE RACING: 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.