Sauter Not Ready to Concede Truck Championship Sandusky, Oh. (September 29, 2010) -- ThorSport Racing is poised once again to place both of its drivers in the top five of the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings....
Sauter Not Ready to Concede Truck Championship
Sandusky, Oh. (September 29, 2010) -- ThorSport Racing is poised once again to place both of its drivers in the top five of the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings. Johnny Sauter, driver of the team's No. 13 Curb Records Chevrolet currently sits third in the standings and teammate Matt Crafton is tied for fifth.
With five races to go, including 'wild-card' races at Martinsville and Talladega, Sauter isn't ready to concede the championship just yet.
"When other guys say they had a good points day, I am actually mad," Sauter said. "We're here to win. That's what we want to do each and every time we race. To me, the only good points day is when you win the race and lead the most laps. If we do that, the points will take care of themselves. We have two races coming up where anything can happen. We got caught out at Daytona and Martinsville earlier this season and lost a lot of points. If the same thing happens to Bodine there, suddenly we're right back in the hunt with three races to go."
While not focused on racing for points, Sauter sees an opportunity to do something for team owners Duke and Rhonda Thorson that many in the NASCAR community would have thought impossible: put both of the Ohio-based team's drivers in the top five in the championship standings at the end of the season. Furthermore, Sauter has a chance to match -- or even better -- Crafton's second-place finish in the 2009 standings.
"There are a lot of people who think the team being in Ohio automatically disqualifies us from being a legitimate contender," Sauter said. "That's not the case. We have a great shop with all the equipment it takes to build fast trucks. We have a great group of guys, some from Ohio and some who have relocated to Ohio from other parts of the country. Duke and Rhonda are committed to winning races and fighting for the championship. We have all the pieces in place; it's just that we're 400 miles away from most of the other teams."
One of the biggest additions to the team has been crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. After joining the team last August, he not only proved that an Ohio-based team can attract top-level talent but gave the team a competitive spark. Once Shear teamed with Sauter for the Chicagoland race, they reeled off five top-five finishes in their first five races together including a win at Las Vegas. Shear's leadership also helped Sauter improve from 14th in the series standings to sixth at the end of the season. With a win at Kansas already under their belt in 2010, Sauter and Shear have teamed up to again close the season strong; Sauter has eight top-five finishes in the last 11 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
"It's no secret we're located in Ohio and we see it as an advantage rather than a detriment," said ThorSport Racing Vice President of Motorsports Partnerships Matthew LaNeve. "Someone once said that seeing ThorSport Racing running for the championship was an anomaly, but this team has been on an upward trajectory for the last five years. Matt has improved each year and finished second in the points in 2009. Johnny coming on to drive the No. 13 truck instantly improved the team and made it a challenger not only for a top-five position at the end of the year but for the championship."
LaNeve, who spearheaded the team's sponsorship drive as the 2010 season kicked off, has seen much interest in the team from a marketing and partnership standpoint. He believes the team's marketing and business model offers prospective partners a strong platform to market their products on the track in a cost-effective manner, doing it with a much smaller investment than other similarly positioned organizations.
"We are actively evaluating potential sponsors for 2011", said LaNeve, who had previous experience in the NFL, NBA, PBR, and NHRA before joining ThorSport Racing. "Some of my previous experience involved developing some out-of-the-box programs with multiple sponsors and programs. We've adapted some of those programs to the NASCAR world and now we're willing to implement a program that can give a proven return on investment in a performance-based platform. We know sponsors want that exposure from running up front and we're confident enough in our performance to put our money where our mouth is, figuratively speaking."