Sandusky, Oh. (October 26, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter is set for his first crack at "restrictor plate" racing this season. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series started its season at Daytona International Speedway in February, and Sauter was in the ...
Sandusky, Oh. (October 26, 2010) -- Johnny Sauter is set for his first crack at "restrictor plate" racing this season. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series started its season at Daytona International Speedway in February, and Sauter was in the field, but contact from another competitor on the opening lap sent Sauter into the outside wall and left him on the sidelines for the entirety of the event. Sauter was able to recover from the poor start to his season to win a race and sit third in the series standings, but there's still something that bothers him about not being able to truly compete in that race at Daytona: he thought he had a truck that could run up front, lead laps, and win that race. The ThorSport Racing team spent much of the four weeks between the Las Vegas race and the Martinsville race massaging on Sauter's Talladega truck, and he's headed to Alabama with the same confidence he had when he walked through the gates at Daytona in February.
The rest of the field had a chance to race at Daytona in February; you were there but were taken out on the first lap. Does that change the way you will race this weekend? "I think we definitely will be in the back of our minds, otherwise it just shows we haven't learned anything. I think the big thing that it taught us is who we can race. There are definitely some guys we know we can trust out there and there are a few out there that have proven to us that we can't trust them. We're going to do our best to stay with the guys we can trust and stay as far away from the guys we can't."
Is there any anxiety to getting back on a "plate" track or are you looking forward to it? "I'll race a restrictor-plate race every chance I get, whether it's a Cup car, a Nationwide car or a truck. I have a great time doing it and I think I know what I am doing out there. But the thing is you can't go into it with any expectations at all. If you go in expecting to have a good run chances are you're going to leave disappointed and frustrated. The best thing to do is leave your expectations behind you. So much of what happens is out of your hands, both the good and the bad, so check those expectations at the gate and let the race play out. If you're in a position to get a good finish with a lap or two to go you still could have something happen. Or you could be 15th with two to go and end up in the top five. You just have to let the race play out."
How difficult is it to put together a game plan with your teammate Matt Crafton and actually stick to it throughout the race? "I think Matt and I are going to do everything we can to stick together all day long. I've even thought about both of us dropping out of line and getting to the back of the field on the pace laps and just riding around the back all day long until ten or so to go. My plan is to go wherever he goes and do whatever he does. He has a pretty good track record of getting to the finish at the plate races and we really need to get to the end too. I'll do whatever I have to do to get both of these ThorSport Racing trucks to the front. As long as one of us wins and the other is second. I don't even care which one of us wins as long as one of us does."
How big of a deal was Halloween in your family growing up? "It was a huge deal for us. Imagine being one of our neighbors and having this huge crowd of kids walking up to the door and thinking it's a big group of friends and then realizing they are all from the same family! There were eleven of us so that pile of candy afterwards was always huge. I was kind of picky when it came to the candy that I wanted so we'd always be making deals between each other to trade the things we didn't like for the things we did."
FarmPaint.com back on board at Talladega: Johnny Sauter will be carrying the FarmPaint.com logos this weekend, but the colors will be much different than the last time the company was on board at Kentucky. Gone will be the predominantly white-and-black colors, replaced this weekend by a distinctive orange-and-black scheme. The colors serve two purposes, first it's the team's way of wishing the fans in the stands and watching live on SPEED a happy Halloween. Second, the neon orange will give the team's spotter David Pepper a much better chance of seeing the truck clearly all the way around the mammoth 2.66-mile tri-oval.
Sauter's Talladega Truck: Johnny will drive ThorSport Racing Chassis No. 25 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The truck Sauter drove at Daytona earlier this season, Chassis No. 16, was destroyed in the opening-lap crash. This weekend will be the first time Sauter has driven Chassis No. 25.