BUSCH: Bristol II: Raybestos Rookie feature - Johnny Sauter

Sauter Is Second In The Raybestos® Rookie Contender Standings Entering Friday'S Race At Bristol. He Trails Leader Scott Riggs By 61 Points (273-212). Sauter Started 13TH And Finished 35TH In The March Race At Bristol. He Has Three Top-Five And...

Sauter Is Second In The Raybestos® Rookie Contender Standings Entering Friday'S Race At Bristol. He Trails Leader Scott Riggs By 61 Points (273-212). Sauter Started 13TH And Finished 35TH In The March Race At Bristol. He Has Three Top-Five And Four Top-10 Finishes Entering The Food City 250 And Is 13TH In Busch Series Points. In 27 Career Starts, Sauter Has Collected Four Top-Five And Five Top-10 Finishes.

JOHNNY SAUTER, NO. 2 ACDELCO CHEVROLET:

SINCE THE MID-POINT OF THE SEASON, YOU HAVE BEEN VERY COMPETITIVE ON THE TRACK. WHY ARE YOU RUNNING SO WELL?

"It's all about confidence. I've got more laps in these cars now, obviously, and we've had more time with the team to build and get to know each other better. Everything seems to be coming together. I can't pinpoint one thing or why we're running well. It's just happening."

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST ADJUSTMENT YOU'VE HAD TO MAKE DRIVING FOR RICHARD CHILDRESS?

"It's having faith in what you have to drive every week when you come to the racetrack. In this type of race the driver is a lot more hands-off. You rely on your people a lot more to have the car right. That's been my hardest adjustment. I've been so used to being a hands-on racer my whole life. I was in control of everything that I did. Now it's more show up and drive."

DO YOU HAVE AN ASSIGNED JOB AT THE SHOP?

"Not really. The way I look at it, it would be insulting to me if I was working on a car and somebody came in and started grabbing wrenches. You've got to be careful that you play both parts. I come in and help them with seats and stuff like that, stuff that is more me orientated as far as the cockpit. I trust these guys enough and they are good enough that we don't have to worry about it."

HOW BIG WAS THE WIN IN JULY AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY?

"Huge. I knew we had a really good car at the end of 'Happy Hour' and I said 'Man, we've got something that we can win with.' It's all about momentum. We went to Daytona and we finished sixth and everybody was perked up. We went to Chicago and we won. We went to Gateway and we finished 11th, we finished fourth at IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park). We had an awesome car at Pikes Peak (but) we hit that lead. It's all about momentum and if there is one thing that I've learned about this whole deal it's all about confidence and momentum."

HOW HARD WAS IT TO STAY FOCUSED DURING THOSE FINAL LAPS AT CHICAGO? WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU HAD A CAR THAT COULD WIN THE RACE?

"I knew about halfway through the race when we had passed cars under a green flag run. We came from 20th to seventh, I think it was. I knew then we had a car that could win and if we played out pit strategy right and had good pit stops we could win. Luckily, last year I was in situations a lot like that three to go kind of a thing, with the red flag, three lap restarts and stuff like that. I was familiar with those kinds of circumstances and it really didn't play that hard of a part to carry it over to the Busch Series."

WHAT WAS THE RADIO CHATTER LIKE IN THE CLOSING LAPS OF THE RACE AT CHICAGO?

"It was pretty quiet if I remember right. I think I came on and said just let me do my deal. I know what I had to do and Richard (Childress, Sauter's car owner) came on and said 'Just make sure that you get a good restart and do the best you can.' I knew that we had a good enough car to win. I wasn't really too worried about it."

DID THAT WIN CATAPULT YOUR TEAM THROUGH THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON?

"I think so. We know we can win now. That's the big thing: you always wonder if you can win until you actually do win. It's been big and now that you've won one you want to win more. You get hungry and you get greedy and hopefully that's enough to keep everybody pumped up to keep doing it."

WAS THE WIN A RELIEF?

"Absolutely. You look at the winning tradition that the car has had. I know that we have talked about it before and for me to be a genuine rookie and come to this series and never driven the trucks and been to these race tracks, it's a lot tougher than I anticipated that it was going to be and you don't know until you get there. The win is what we needed, what ACDelco needed, what Richard needed, what all of RCR needed. It just pumps you up."

WHAT WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON?

"Finish in the top-five and get laps at these racetracks so I can make a run at the championship next year. Consistency is the big thing. In the last couple of weeks we've been real consistent, we just need to be more consistent and hopefully win another race or two."

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL A DRIVER COMING INTO THE BUSCH SERIES NEXT YEAR?

"Never doubt yourself no matter what people tell you, no matter what anybody says. There's only so many people you can trust and it's very, very few. If you loose confidence in yourself like I did, I was really at rock bottom. Then I got to thinking that 'Hey man, I'm a champion; I'm a winner.' It's all about confidence and the heck with everybody else."

HOW FRAGILE IS KEEPING YOUR CONFIDENCE?

"I think everybody is different in how their confidence plays a role.  I know
to myself that I'm bad, you know, but it's easy to get beat up.  Even when I
won 10 races last year, it was always 'can I go to this race and win?'  I
know I can do it but you always question it.  Definitely, getting a good
start is momentum building.  Momentum and confidence go hand in hand."

-raybestos-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Scott Riggs , Johnny Sauter