BUSCH: Chicagoland: Johnny Sauter - NASCAR spotlight

Johnny Sauter returns to site of first NASCAR Busch Series win DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 8, 2003) -- Johnny Sauter says there's something he likes about Chicago, but he just can't put his finger on it. Perhaps this run-down can help him ...

Johnny Sauter returns to site of first NASCAR Busch Series win

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 8, 2003) -- Johnny Sauter says there's something he likes about Chicago, but he just can't put his finger on it.

Perhaps this run-down can help him out:

He earned his first NASCAR Busch Series victory at the track last July.

He and No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet teammate Kevin Harvick have won three of the four NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Winston Cup Series races at Chicago.

The Necedah, Wis., native considers the track another "home" venue like The Milwaukee Mile, due to Chicago's close proximity to his hometown.

Sauter will attempt to qualify for the NASCAR Winston Cup race on Sunday, which would make his debut in NASCAR's premier series at Chicago.

Sauter, who splits time in the No. 21 and the No. 43 Channellock/Curb Records Chevrolet, has been consistent during the first half of the season, landing outside the top 20 in only six races. Currently eighth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, Sauter is within striking distance of the top spot, 230 points out of first. He's also gained the greatest number of positions -- eight -- of any driver from his 2002 season standings at this stage of the year.

"We've had good runs all year long, we just haven't had the finishes to show for it," said Sauter, who has three top fives and nine top-10 finishes this year. "Obviously this is a momentum sport, so our run at Daytona [Friday night, fifth place] is a boost. We're confident about Chicago, and we're confident about the second half of the season."

"To be where I'm at in the standings is proof that I'm working with two good teams. The second half of the season I drive half the races with the 21 and half with the 43. Team chemistry is really important, and so far I've been able to achieve that with both teams. It's really important for both teams to work together in the second half and to be consistent for me to be competitive and make a run at the championship."

Sauter's affinity for Chicago began with a successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series test session a couple of years ago, and carried through to his first NASCAR Busch Series victory last year. Should he run well Saturday and earn his first NASCAR Winston Cup start Sunday, he will have come full circle in the Windy City.

"It's an important place as far as my career goes," he said. "There's just something about Chicago I really like. We've gotten some good breaks at Chicago, and things have gone our way."

"I definitely want to repeat on Saturday, but then again, I want to win every week."

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Johnny Sauter