Sandusky, Oh. (February 9, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter returns to ThorSport Racing in 2010 for his second season as driver of the No. 13 FunSand/Curb Records Chevrolet. Sauter's performance in 2009 -- one win, two poles, seven top-five finishes and 13...
Sandusky, Oh. (February 9, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter returns to ThorSport Racing in 2010 for his second season as driver of the No. 13 FunSand/Curb Records Chevrolet. Sauter's performance in 2009 -- one win, two poles, seven top-five finishes and 13 top-ten finishes en route to sixth in the final championship standings and the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award -- has made him an early championship favorite in 2010.
Sauter teamed with ThorSport Racing in 2009 and once Joe Shear, Jr. joined the team in August the team hit its stride. Sauter scored eight of his eleven top-ten finishes over the final ten races, including five top-fives and a victory at Las Vegas. Although he's a definite contender for the championship with Shear calling the shots from the pit box, Sauter won't think about points until he has to; he prefers to chase after wins and let the points fall where they may. The first victory to chase is at Daytona where he finished a disappointing 27th after being collected in someone else's mess in 2009.
ThorSport Racing has added sponsorship from Easy Transitional Cabinetry's etc. brand cabinets and Southern Candle Inc. for the Daytona race. etc.'s website, EasytoInstall.com, will be on the quarter panels of the No. 13 Chevrolet, while Southern Candle will be displayed on the tailgate. Curb Records recording artist Tim McGraw and his new album Southern Voice will be displayed on the hood.
Your dad raced at Daytona starting in the early 1980s and your brothers Jay and Tim also both have raced there. With your family history dating back almost 30 years at Daytona, what does racing there mean to you? "I don't think I've ever thought about it that way until now. It's pretty cool that my family has raced there all these years with some of the greatest drivers to have ever driven stock cars, and it's really cool for me to have a chance to do the same thing too. I guess the way I've always looked at Daytona is it's the start of a new season and you want to start off on the right foot. It's good to get into Daytona and get back in the truck and get back into the routine, but it's always nice to get out of Daytona with a little momentum that you can carry over to the next race."
You were caught up in someone else's problem last year at Daytona and it ended your night early. Is there anything you can do as a driver to put your fate in your own hands? "I look at that as a one-hundred percent question. Fifty percent of that is in your hands. That's not doing anything on the track that's going to compromise you or the other drivers out there and start the big wreck. The other fifty percent is it's either going to happen or it's not. So much of it is really out of your control, which is what happened to us last season. I guess you could say you're just in the hands of the racing gods at that point."
Have you and your crew chief Joe Shear talked about what the No. 13 team can do to be better than last season? "We have talked about it and we have a little different philosophy about it. I would rather go out and win 8 or 10 races and forget about worrying about the points until the end of the season, and he would rather be in a position to win the championship even without winning any races. We both agree we need to put forth our best effort every week. I guess I am a little different because I wonder how you can set a goal for yourself to come somewhere and finish sixth or seventh and have a good points day. I always look at it that you want to go out and win every race you're in. If you do that, the points will end up taking care of themselves. I don't want to look back at last season because I don't think you can move forward by looking backward. I know the guys at the shop have worked extremely hard over the winter to do their jobs the best they can, and I know I am going to give it all I can on the track."
Johnny Sauter at Daytona: Johnny has raced at Daytona in all three of NASCAR's top divisions, the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. In the NSCS, he's made five starts with three top-20 finishes the best of which was a 16th-place finish in the 2007 Daytona 500. He's completed 877 of a possible 884 laps (99.2%) with a 24.4 average starting position and a 21.0 average finishing position. In the NNS, he's made 11 starts with two top-five finishes and four top-ten finishes, including a best finish of second in February 2004. He's completed 1,104 of a possible 1,227 laps (90.0%), with an average start of 14.7 and an average finish of 17.6. In the NCWTS he has one start, coming in 2009, in which he finished 27th after starting ninth. He was eliminated in an early accident after completing 47 of the race's 100 laps. He was at the front of the field for three laps before the accident.
Sauter's Daytona Truck: Johnny will pilot ThorSport Racing Chassis No. 16, known as "Patches". It's the truck Sauter used in competition at Daytona and Talladega in 2009. Sauter was caught up in an early crash at Daytona, resulting in a 27th-place finish. At Talladega, Sauter qualified 17th and finished 14th. Patches replaces "Miss Piggy," ThorSport Racing's original chassis dating back to 1996 which has been used at Daytona and Talladega each year since 2000.