Indy IRP: Johnny Sauter preview

Sauther Bring His Neon Red Menards/Energizer Entry to IRP For Friday Night's NASCAR Truck Series Power Stroke Diesel 200 CLERMONT, Ind. (Thursday, August 4, 2005) -- Last year at this time, Johnny Sauter put on a helmet and a pair of goggles,...

Sauther Bring His Neon Red Menards/Energizer Entry to IRP For Friday Night's NASCAR Truck Series Power Stroke Diesel 200

CLERMONT, Ind. (Thursday, August 4, 2005) -- Last year at this time, Johnny Sauter put on a helmet and a pair of goggles, strapped into his Chevy Silverado at Indianapolis Raceway Park and came within one lap of winning the NASCAR Truck Series event. Sauter finished second that night in a truck he and his Edge Performance team fielded as a one-off venture simply because IRP is Sauter's favorite racetrack.

This year, Sauter is back. He's got the same truck, same team and a new-look, neon-red Menards- and Energizer battery-sponsored effort hoping to claim that last lap as the leader.

"I was a sitting duck last year," said Sauter, who won at Milwaukee in a Busch Series event earlier this year. "We had the field covered for the entire race. Then, with 10 to go or so, there's a caution and everybody pit behind me. It's the last place you want to be in a tire war -- leading late with a caution. If I pit, they all stay out, so I had to stay out and try and hold them off. We did, too, until the last lap in Turn Four when it got crazy and everyone caught me."

You may ask, "Why the goggles? What's that about?"

"Well, about 10 minutes before the race last year, I wanted to change shields on my helmet and the screw holes got stripped," explained Sauter. "We couldn't fix it, so I just grabbed this old pair of goggles in the truck and ran with it. It looked ridiculous!"

Sauter continued his dominance at IRP, albeit without victory, in last year's Busch event the next night by winning the pole, leading the most laps and again finishing second. This year, he hopes to improve his results, especially in his own truck.

"I remember sitting in the truck last year before the start and thinking, 'I have no idea what this setup is going to do on a long run -- it could be great or it could be a total disaster.' Fortunately, it was pretty good! Since then, though, we've had some time to maybe make it a little better. We've also taken it to a test last week where it was really good right off the truck. We'll see, I guess, but I really do love this track. IRP is a place where I always seem to run well and because of that, I really look forward to coming here."

Sauter won't be the only Menards-sponsored truck in the field as Matt Crafton of the ThorSport team sports his own neon-colored Menards entry at IRP. Crafton, a full-time Truck Series competitor who is running for the championship in his neon-yellow Menards Silverado, is currently ninth in series points.

"Finishing 1-2 with Matt for Menards would be great. I guess the real question would have to be, 'Who is 1 and who is 2?" Sauter joked. "I'll have to admit I'm not here to finish second!"

Friday night's NASCAR Truck Series Power Stroke Diesel 200 at IRP kicks off at 8:40 p.m. EDT with live coverage on SPEED-TV.

-mr-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Johnny Sauter