Sandusky, Oh. (August 24, 2010) -- The EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway marks the one-year anniversary for Johnny Sauter and crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. working together at ThorSport Racing. In the past 26 races run since the Chicago...
Sandusky, Oh. (August 24, 2010) -- The EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway marks the one-year anniversary for Johnny Sauter and crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. working together at ThorSport Racing. In the past 26 races run since the Chicago race last August, the duo has racked up two wins, 13 top-five finishes, 16 top-ten finishes, and one pole. Shear spearheaded Sauter's charge to sixth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings last season and has guided him to fourth in the standings with eight races to run in 2010.
Without a race at Milwaukee this is your "home" race for 2010 and it's at a track that you've had success at in the past, what's your mindset heading into this weekend? "We grew up about four hours north of Chicago and this is as close as we get to a home race this season. Chicagoland is where I got my first Busch Series win and it's one of my favorite tracks. It's also where Joe and I started working together last season and everything just clicked. It gives me a lot of confidence heading back up there knowing I'll have a lot of friends and family there watching and knowing our team is performing as strong as it is right now."
How does Chicagoland differ from some of the other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule? "The biggest thing is that the backstretch has a curve to it, a lot like the frontstretch at Michigan or Fontana. There isn't a real straightaway there and you always have some wheel to it. The groove there has really widened out so you can race up high or down low. It's up in the Midwest where the winters can get a little rough so the track has a little character to it too, which makes it even more fun."
How do you grade the No. 13 team's performance since Joe Shear, Jr. joined the team at Chicagoland last summer? "I've said it a lot of times, Joe is a real racer and he does what it takes to get us up front. We've been together now for 26 races and we've won two of them and been in the top five in half of them. We've had some things out of our control take us out of a couple of races where we should have had a top-five or a chance to win too, so I think we could have had even more. As strong as we've been that really makes me think we have a real chance to go out there and win more races yet this season. That's the best way for us to close up the gap in the points too; you get maximum points whenever you're winning. I'm really happy with the way the past year has gone, so I think I'd give us an A-. If we could just eliminate some of those bad things that happen that are out of our control I think I could bump it up to an A."