Top-15 for Tim Sauter at Texas June 8th, Fort Worth, TX. At the start of the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Tim Sauter felt that his new team at Green Light Racing would be capable of running competitively in the top-15 each and ...
Top-15 for Tim Sauter at Texas
June 8th, Fort Worth, TX. At the start of the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Tim Sauter felt that his new team at Green Light Racing would be capable of running competitively in the top-15 each and every race. It took nine races, but Tim Sauter and the Lester Buildings Silverado recorded their first top-15 finish of the season Friday evening in the Sam's Town 400 at the Texas Motor Speedway. It was an eventful weekend for the entire Green Light Racing team including team co-owner Gene Christensen announcing his candidacy to run for US Congress just prior to the start of his hometown race.
From the minute the #07 Chevy unloaded for Thursday's practice Tim knew something was severely wrong with his Chevy truck. It was so loose that he could barely get through the corners without spinning-out. The team went to work and near the end of the final practice they discovered a faulty shock absorber on the right rear of the truck. Following the repairs, Tim had to qualify with very little practice on the fast mile and a half track and unsure of how his truck would handle, he conservatively placed the #07 safely into the 29th starting position. "I wasn't sure what we would have so I took it a little easy into turn one and it felt pretty good," Sauter said after qualifying. "I probably could have run a few tenths quicker, I think it will race pretty good."
The race started cleanly and Tim had moved up to the 26th position on lap 8 when the #51 truck of Kelly Sutton spun directly in front of him. Tim was able to avoid the spinning truck and averted a potentially early end to his day. Doug Howe called Tim to come to pit road for a splash of fuel and a chassis adjustment and the #07 restarted from 32nd when the field took the green on lap 15.
Eric Darnell blew his motor shortly after the restart on lap 17 and while many of the leaders elected to come to pit road, Tim was in prefect position to stay on the track and restarted on lap 22 in the 7th position. Tim quickly passed several trucks and moved into the top-5 before the trucks with fresh tires began to catch and pass his Lester Buildings Chevy.
As the race progressed towards the midway point, Tim raced hard and kept his Silverado in the top 15 when the caution came out again on lap 78. At this point, Howe kept Sauter on the track when all of the trucks in front of him dove to pit lane to lead a lap and gain five valuable points. Just as the field was about to take the green flag, Tim again hit the pit-road to top-off for fuel in case the race had a long green run. The second stop gave up several positions and Sauter restarted 18th when the green flew on lap 87. The #07 was pretty good throughout the long green flag run that followed and Tim steadily moved into the top-15 by lap 150 when he came to the pit under green for tires and fuel.
The caution flew again on lap 155 and six trucks that had not yet pitted were the only trucks remaining on the lead lap. The caution trapped Sauter and many other trucks laps down to the leaders and when the dust settled, Tim brought the Lester Building Chevy across the finish line a season's best 14th place behind winner Todd Bodine.
"I knew something was wrong in practice, but I couldn't tell what it was. The Green Light guys did a good job figuring out the problem. We're still too free going into the corners, but we're working hard to make the trucks perform better. I think we could have gotten the truck a little better had we be able to fine tune it more in practice, but right now I'm just happy we got our first top-15," Sauter said following the race. "We did what we needed to do again this week. We need to keep building momentum, improving our finishes and earning points."
Green Light Racing teammate Eric Norris finished 20th in the Barrett Enterprises-Pavestone-WCL Chevrolet #08 and Blake Mallory and Brandon Knupp finished 34th and 35th in Green Light Racing entries. Following his best finish of the year, Sauter is 19th in the 2007 NCTS driver standings, only 59 points from the top-15 in the standings.