CONCORD, NC (March 13, 2002) - Tim Sauter grew up racing on the ultra-tough short tracks of Wisconsin and, like current NASCAR stars Mark Martin, Johnny Benson, Dick Trickle, Rusty Wallace and Tony Raines, worked his way to stock car racing's top...
CONCORD, NC (March 13, 2002) - Tim Sauter grew up racing on the ultra-tough short tracks of Wisconsin and, like current NASCAR stars Mark Martin, Johnny Benson, Dick Trickle, Rusty Wallace and Tony Raines, worked his way to stock car racing's top ranks by winning a championship in the American Speed Association, a premiere national late model touring circuit.
This weekend, Sauter returns to his racing roots when he steers his No. 19 AP Performance Chevy on to racing's greatest short-track oval - Bristol Motor Speedway - in the Channelock 250 NASCAR Busch Series race.
"Last year, I walked across the racetrack when I first got there and seeing the place just took my breath away," said Sauter. "It's the Super Bowl of short tracks. If I weren't a driver, Bristol would be the one race I would still come to. I have some friends in Wisconsin that go to Talladega every year. Last year, I convinced them Bristol was the race to see. They went last fall and I immediately got a call on Monday. They couldn't believe how incredible that track was. That's what's great about Bristol. It doesn't matter if you're a driver or a fan, there's not a bad seat in the house."
In his initial attempt at BMS last spring, Sauter felt his way around the .533-mile high-banked oval in early practice session concentrating on just getting comfortable. Starting 26th, Sauter got better with each circuit charging back from a lap down to score a ninth-place finish. It was then and still is the Necedah, WI native's best career effort to date in 24 NBS starts.
"I got a lap down during a caution because the brake actuator rod stuck and I had to pit," said Sauter. "I restarted at the front of the field and made a deal with Kevin Harvick, the leader at that time. If I let him go on the restart, he would let me get my lap back when the yellow came out again. So I just ran with the leaders for about 100 laps and got my lap back on the next yellow. We were running really good and by that time most of the carnage that can happen at Bristol was over."
In 1999, Sauter piloted an AP Performance prepared Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the ASA championship. When Sauter moved south to start his NASCAR career, the team never missed a beat winning another title, this one with Sauter's younger brother, Johnny, at the instrument panel. This year, the AP effort, though still unsponsored, is a full-on Busch Series initiative. Bristol's 250-miler will be a supreme test for the championship short-track ace and the two-time ASA championship winning team.
"Bristol could be a break through run for us," Sauter stated. "Even though the high banks make Bristol unique, it is still a tight, short track and that's what I like coming from ASA. There are a couple of racetracks in ASA that are similar to Bristol, like Salem (IN) and Winchester (IN). They are fast and vicious tracks that are survival races like Bristol too. I'm used to that rhythm and style of racing."
Sauter enters the Bristol event 22nd in the Busch Series point standings after a 22nd-place performance in the most recent event on the tour, the Darlingtonraceway.com 200 at Darlington (SC) Raceway last weekend. A second-straight Top-10 finish in the Channellock 250 would definitely help Sauter (rebound or keep the momentum rolling) is his quest for a solid finish in the 2002 NBS championship chase. A great finish would also go a long way in helping his AP Performance organization attract a sponsor.
"We know we're going to attract attention of the fans and the media with our performance on the racetrack," said Sauter. "That's a given. NASCAR is very, very popular and the fans are the greatest customer base in all of sports. They support us 100 percent. They buy our teams, they buy the NASCAR brand, and they buy our sponsors brands and, they buy it all a lot. Everyone benefits. That's what we really bring to a company who wants to partner with us. It's a great opportunity for everyone and we know there's a company out there somewhere that is going to agree with us."
Sauter and his No. 19 AP Performance Chevrolet Monte Carlo will take the green flag in the Channellock 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday, March 23, at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The event will be telecast live on FX and will be broadcast worldwide on PRN Radio.
ABOUT AP PERFORMANCE RACING: AP Performance Racing debuted in 1992 as an American Speed Association entry with team owner Alec Pinsonneault as the driver. The Windsor, Ontario based team notched 16 ASA victories and a pair of division titles with Tim Sauter (1999) and Johnny Sauter (2001) delivering the championship trophies. Now housed in a state of the art facility in Mooresville, NC, AP Performance Racing will field a full-time NASCAR Busch Series effort in 2002 with Tim Sauter again handling the driving chores. AP Performance Racing is a division of AP Development. Also in the family of AP companies are Build A Mold, A.P. Tool and Gauge, Moldplas, Inc, Trimplas, LTD, Trimplas 2 and Trimplas 2000. For more media information, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities concerning AP Performance Racing, please contact Bobby Wooten at Motorsports Management Group at 704-236-9986 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.