Phoenix: Johnny Sauter race report

Johnny Sauter finishes 15th in R3 Motorsports No. 23 Chevrolet in NNS race at Phoenix; Moves team up three positions to 27th in Owner's Points CHINA GROVE, N.C. (April 10, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter utilized his veteran experience, great driving...

Johnny Sauter finishes 15th in R3 Motorsports No. 23 Chevrolet in NNS race at Phoenix; Moves team up three positions to 27th in Owner's Points

CHINA GROVE, N.C. (April 10, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter utilized his veteran experience, great driving when it was needed most and pit stop strategy to earn a 15th place at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday night.

Sauter qualified 31st, after posting the 21st-fastest lap in practice, in the No. 23 Chevrolet for R3 Motorsports. The practice time let the team know they had a car capable of coursing the turns of the flat, one-mile oval of PIR for race time.

And, it didn't take Sauter long to show what the unsponsored No. 23 could do by moving into 23rd place just 10 laps into the 200-lap contest. From there, he would move into the top-20 by lap 20 and remain there for the rest of the race.

Caution flags allowed the Steve Plattenberger-led team to make minor adjustments to get the Chevrolet just right for Sauter. From there, the only adjustments the team needed to make were minor track bar and air pressure adjustments to remain on the lead lap and competitive.

The biggest scare for Sauter came on a lap-136 restart when cars started stacking up ahead of him on the front stretch. As they spun to the left and right in front of him, the three-time NNS race winner chose the perfect path and came out unscathed.

After a red flag period to clean everything up, Sauter restated in the top-15 and remained there for the final 56 laps to finish 15th. In addition to this being the team's best finish of 2010, it moved them up three positions to 27th in the Owner's Standings.

Heading to Texas Motor Speedway, R3 Motorsports trails 26th by just five markers, 25th by 12, 24th by 16 and 23rd by 23 points. Robert Richardson, Jr. will return to the seat of the No. 23 Chevrolet at his home track of TMS this weekend.

Johnny Sauter Quotes -- "That was a lot of fun. As soon as the green flag dropped, I knew we had a car that was fast. Once you know you have a good car underneath you, it helps plan your strategy and how you're going to race. I was pleased with how the car handled, performed and responded to the changes.

"We were a little tight from center to exit in turns 3 and 4, but turns 1 and 2 were good. Once we got that fixed, we just bided our time and I was able to race solid in the top-15 there for almost the whole race.

"Things got a little crazy there a few times, but we managed to survive and get a pretty good finish. I know it helped R3 out in the Owner's Points, so we accomplished our goals this weekend. I was wore out after the race between the hard driving and the red flags, but it was a fun deal."

-source: r3 motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Johnny Sauter , Robert Richardson Jr.