BUSCH: Bristol: Johnny Sauter preview

Sauter ready to battle at Bristol March 19, 2002 (Huntersville, N.C.)- Johnny Sauter heads into this weekend's NASCAR Busch Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway knowing that once again he will be faced with a track he has never raced on. ...

Sauter ready to battle at Bristol

March 19, 2002 (Huntersville, N.C.)- Johnny Sauter heads into this weekend's NASCAR Busch Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway knowing that once again he will be faced with a track he has never raced on. Being a rookie, new tracks are all part of the game.

While there are no Daytona's or Darlington's on the American Speed Association schedule, the series that Sauter dominated last year winning nearly half the races and the overall championship, there are several tracks similar in distance and banking to Bristol. Tracks like 1-70 Speedway in Missouri and Winchester Speedway in Indiana boast high banking and half-mile layouts. And while neither of those tracks seat 150,000 fans in a stadium atmosphere, they are tough bullrings, where fast speeds and banging doors are the norm.

This is an important weekend for the ACDelco team, as crew chief Rick Viers feels that a good finish at Bristol can propel the team into the top-five in points. "Throughout the years I've been coming to Bristol, this can be a race where you can either lose a bunch of points or gain them," said Viers. "I can't recall ever coming out of Bristol without feeling really good, or very upset. There is very little middle ground here, because things happen so fast and typically there is a lot of contact - so it's easy to place blame when something does go wrong."

The goal for the No.2 ACDelco Chevrolet is a simple one: keep the fenders on the car and stay out of trouble for the first 200 laps and then race them the last 50. "If we can stay on the lead lap with all the fenders somewhat intact, we will be in a position to win," said Viers. "And that's all you ask from your team each week...get us in a position to win."

* Johnny Sauter is currently seventh in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings, just 61 markers out of first.

*  For the second consecutive week, Sauter was Rookie of the Race at
Darlington.  The award is given to the highest finishing rookie.

Johnny Sauter, driver of the No.2 ACDelco Chevrolet, Comments on Bristol Motor Speedway:

What are your thoughts on racing at Bristol?
"This is a tough track for sure. It's amazing how fast we can run here. Some tracks you can't really feel the speed, but you can at Bristol. We had a good test and so I think we will have a good run, if we can stay out of trouble. That's the goal again this week. Keep the fenders on the car and stay on the lead lap, and I think we will be okay. We have some good notes from last year, so I think we have as good a shot at winning as anyone."

You've raced at some tough, fast high-banked tracks in ASA. How does a track like Winchester or I-70 compare to Bristol?
"Those tracks have their own unique characteristics, but they really don't compare with Bristol. Winchester might in that the speeds are very fast, but Bristol is concrete, so it has a very different feel. Also, neither of those two tracks have grandstands like they do here. This place is like being in a bowl, where those tracks you can see sky and trees over the walls. Here all you can see are stands, if you ever get a chance to relax and look around. But if you are looking for a comparison, to me Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin is closest. It's only a quarter-mile, but that's the best comparison to me. I might have a different opinion after actually racing here, as opposed to testing."

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Johnny Sauter