HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 20, 2002) - ACDelco driver Johnny Sauter is anticipating his return to Birstol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for this week's Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series event. Even though his first experience at the .533-mile racetrack...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 20, 2002) - ACDelco driver Johnny Sauter is anticipating his return to Birstol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for this week's Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series event. Even though his first experience at the .533-mile racetrack was not all that memorable, he understands that it is just the nature of the beast.
"Bristol was frustrating in the spring," Sauter recalls. "I got so banged up there that the ACDelco Chevy didn't even look like a racecar when we loaded on the truck after the race. It seemed like every time we got a run, we'd get caught up in another accident. I guess that's just what happens when you put a bunch of racecars in such close quarters."
The Bullring, as track is nicknamed, is a heavily banked oval. Speeds can reach up to 110 miles per hour on the straight-aways, with the 43-car field stretching to take up almost one-fourth of the racing surface. This provides little room for error; but when something does happen, it usually creates a train-wreck effect.
"Wrecks at Bristol are no fun," adds the 24-year old rookie. "There is literally no where to go when cars get together on the racetrack. You constantly have to worry about who is around you, and you hope the people behind you are paying attention as well. If you get distracted for even a split second, it's usually too late. Then you're in for a long day."
The odds of coming away with a clean car at Bristol may not be good, but if the No. 2 ACDelco Racing team can do it, they have a good chance of notching their second Busch Series victory. Now that Sauter is heading back, he's confident he will make his second experience at Bristol a whole lot more memorable. Improvement is definitely in the works.
* 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick piloted the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet Monte Carlo to victory in last season's fall event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Starting from the outside pole, he fought his way through 11 cautions en route to his fourth win of the year.
* Team ACDelco will take chassis No. 019 to Bristol for this week's Busch Series event. Built in July, this is a brand new racecar that was shook down at Michigan International Speedway during the team's two-day test at the beginning of this month.
* Start time for Friday night's Food City 250 is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 250-lap event on TNT starts at 8:00 p.m., with radio coverage on PRN beginning at 7:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.
ACDelco driver Johnny Sauter on Bristol Motor Speedway
How was your first experience at Bristol?
"It wasn't pretty. It was unfortunate that we got into all those wrecks. None of them were really my fault, but it's still no fun when they happen. Our car was torn up pretty good by the end of the race, but amazingly enough I was still running some pretty good lap times. With that in mind and a brand new racecar, I'm ready to get back."
What do you like about the racetrack?
"I like the fact that it is fast, very fast. It is cool to get up on the high banking and just give it all you've got. I had a lot of fun the first time I was there, despite all the wrecks. It reminded me a lot of the tracks I hit on the ASA circuit last year. It's what I grew up on, my kind of racing."
How's the second half of your season going?
"Definitely better than the first. Getting the win was awesome, but even more important was the momentum we've been able to build. It should get better too, now that we're heading back to racetracks I've actually been to before."
ACDelco crew chief Rick Viers on Bristol Motor Speedway
How will you approach the second race at Bristol?
"The nice thing we know heading into to Bristol is that we were competitive there the first time. Even though Johnny got caught up in three different accidents, none his fault, he still managed to run well. I think if he remembers what he learned from his first trip, and we can give him another good racecar, you'll see an improved driver on Friday night."