ThorSport Racing to Make Milestone 328th Appearance and 500th Start at Pocono Sandusky, Oh. (July 24, 2010) -- ThorSport Racing will mark two impressive milestones the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' first-ever visit to the 2.5-mile...
ThorSport Racing to Make Milestone 328th Appearance and 500th Start at Pocono
Sandusky, Oh. (July 24, 2010) -- ThorSport Racing will mark two impressive milestones the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' first-ever visit to the 2.5-mile triangular Pocono Raceway.
When the green flag flies, the team will move into second-place in all-time races with 328, ahead of Circle Bar Racing - which suspended operations after three races in the 2010 season - and behind only Roush Fenway Racing. Roush Fenway Racing, which is no longer participating in the NCWTS, participated in 353 races between its debut in the middle of the 1995 season through the end of the 2009.
Additionally, when Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton take the green flag it will be the 499th and 500th cumulative starts for the team that made its debut at the Milwaukee Mile in July, 1996.
"We've come a long way since our first start back in 1996," said team owner Duke Thorson. "We started out with one truck in a backyard garage. Now we have two teams that are contenders to win each race and have been fighting for championships. We're proud of our relationship with Menards, which has grown into the longest-lasting sponsorship in the series. We've had success finding some partners on Johnny's truck so far this season, but we're actively looking for a full-time sponsor for the 13 team for 2011. We are very confident that the marketing platform we offer can deliver that potential sponsor some real tangible business results and an immediate return on their investment. ThorSport Racing has grown into one of the most competitive teams in the series and we're going to contend for wins every week and be fighting for the championship every year."
While most teams are based in the Charlotte, N.C. area, ThorSport Racing's longevity and sustainability can be credited to its location; it has been located in Sandusky, Ohio since day one -- in the shadows of the world-renowned amusement park Cedar Point. While some may see the team's success as an anomaly, Thorson has always seen the potential for success racing out of Ohio.
"We use our location in Ohio to our advantage," Thorson said. "We go about our business and we don't have to worry about what's going on next door or across the street. The core of our team has been together for many years and a big part of that is because they like being up here and being away from all of that. We've been able to bring in some of the best talent in the Truck Series and we've finally found the right chemistry to be consistently at the front fighting for wins and racing for championships."
ThorSport Racing's No. 88 team is the only active team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to improve its position in the owner's standings in each of the previous four seasons (2006-2009). In 2006 the team was 15th in owners' points, ninth in 2007, sixth in 2008, and third in 2009. In the last five years, no driver has had a bigger or more immediate impact on a team than Johnny Sauter; the No. 13 team was 23rd in the owners' standings in 2008 and jumped 16 positions to seventh with Sauter at the wheel in 2009.
ThorSport's three wins are more than any other non-Cup affiliated team over that time period (tied with Randy Moss Motorsports), as are the team's 37 top-five finishes and 54 top-ten finishes. Crafton has been the highest finishing driver with a non-Cup affiliated team in the championship in each of the past two seasons and both he and Sauter are among the top seven in the standings halfway through the 2010 season.
"We've shown we can run with and beat teams that are affiliated with Sprint Cup teams," Thorson said. "We are very proud of what we've accomplished and we're really happy with the direction the team as a whole is going."
Debuting in 1996, ThorSport has competed in every series event since the 1998 season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway. Terry Cook claimed the team's first win at Flemington Speedway in August 1998, while Matt Crafton won the team's second race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May 2008. Johnny Sauter has picked up a pair of wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September 2009 and Kansas Speedway in May 2010. Crafton currently has the longest active streak of consecutive starts, 234, dating back to the season finale at California Speedway in 2000.
Crafton gave the organization its best-ever championship result when he finished second in 2009, while Sauter is poised to make a title bid as the 2010 schedule hits the halfway point; he currently sits in third just five points behind second-place Aric Almirola and 182 points behind current leader Todd Bodine. ThorSport Racing has also collected two Raybestos Rookie of the Year awards with Willie Allen in 2007 and Sauter in 2009.