Tim Sauter 21st at Bristol Avoids the snow, rain, cold and traffic for lead lap finish. March 25th, Bristol Motor Speedway. Mother nature played havoc with the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway in the Sharpie Mini...
Tim Sauter 21st at Bristol
Avoids the snow, rain, cold and traffic for lead lap finish.
March 25th, Bristol Motor Speedway. Mother nature played havoc with the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway in the Sharpie Mini 300. All on-track events were cancelled on Friday as rain and occasional snowflakes doused the speedway all day long. NASCAR scheduled a one-hour practice Saturday for 8:00am, followed by qualifying at noon, and the race at 3:00pm. Practice went off as scheduled, but once qualifying started, the skies opened and snow fell, forcing NASCAR to cancel qualifying.
The Sharpie Mini 300 got started at 3:00 as scheduled, the Lester Buildings Chevy starting in the 30th position as the field was set by 2006 owners points. At the green flag, the Wisconsin driver was "hung out to dry" on the outside, dropping back to 38th place. Tim then started working his way back through the field reaching 33rd place when Mother Nature dumped a heavy snow on the speedway as the cars approached the 30th lap causing an 80-minute delay.
While the teams built snowmen and had snowball fights with the fans in the stands, Tim and Chief Ricky Pearson discussed strategy for the rest of the race. "Ricky and I talked about the start and that we needed to be cautiously aggressive," Sauter explained during the break. "You really have to play a balance here at Bristol, I don't like taking chances early, especially with the extra 50 laps this year. But it's hard to gain eight positions back on the track here."
Once the race resumed, Tim continued working his way forward until caution came out on lap #65. The Lester Buildings #36 came to the attention of the McGill Motorsports crew for four tires and quickly exited the pits. NASCAR officials however ruled that Tim had passed through the "Stop Sign" at the end of pit road. Despite the appeals of the team, the Lester Buildings car was penalized and restarted one lap down. Tim spent the next 60 laps trying to get back on the lead lap finally getting the "Lucky Dog" on lap 123.
The McGill Motorsports driver ran on the lead lap until 180 when he was passed by then leader Greg Biffle, and again fell one lap down. Tim managed to work his way to the first car one lap down, and received the "Lucky Dog" for the second time on lap 234. Tim restarted 26th when the green flag flew on lap 249 and slowly worked his way up to the 21st place over the last 50 laps, giving the team their second-best finish of the young season and retaining their guaranteed starting position.
"I really thought we had a little better car in practice this morning," Tim said after the race. The car cut good in the middle and I could get on the gas, but I there were a lot of guys who had pretty good cars today. I think if we hadn't got that penalty we might have given Lester Buildings a top-15 finish. I really would like to see a tape of that deal, because I swear I saw the green sign when I came out of the pit. Regardless, this was a solid run for the McGill Motorsports team."
Next week Tim, Ricky and the crew are heading to Richmond for the third of the four NASCAR Busch Series tests this year. Tim has run well at Richmond in the past and is excited about the test. "I know why NASCAR is limiting the testing, and I agree with it, I would have loved to test here at Bristol prior to the race today, we might have found that little something that could have helped us keep up with these Cup guys. This team is so close to being really competitive, I'm looking forward to the rest of the season," Sauter added.