Toughest competition kept in the family for Sauter. CLERMONT, IN (July 28, 2002) - Amidst the 43-car field in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park this weekend, some of the toughest competition may be between the Sauter ...
Toughest competition kept in the family for Sauter.
CLERMONT, IN (July 28, 2002) - Amidst the 43-car field in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park this weekend, some of the toughest competition may be between the Sauter family. Tim, driver of the No. 19 AP Performance Chevy and Johnny, pilot of the No. 2 AC Delco Chevy are currently in the middle of a tight points battle as the series heads to the .686-mile IRP oval to compete in the Kroger 250 this weekend.
"I think Johnny races me harder than anyone else," said Tim Sauter, the 1999 American Speed Association champion. "We raced each other real hard in Kentucky and again at Milwaukee, it got to the point where other drivers were coming up to us and asking us about it. When you are racing against a driver who is also your brother, you want to finish ahead of him even more."
That brotherly competitiveness could be at it's best this weekend at IRP. Last year, Tim Sauter stepped out of the NBS ranks to make a return ASA start in the final race of the season at IRP. With Johnny set to win the 2001 ASA title in an AP Performance Racing Chevy, the team prepared "It was a last minute deal and it just turned out really good," explained Sauter. "We made the decision on Tuesday and raced on Thursday. It was a good opportunity for me to be there when Johnny clinched the ASA title."
The two Sauters are both former ASA Champions in their first full seasons on the NBS circuit. They enter into this weekends Kroger 250 separated by only 76 points in the NBS championship chase. However, the competition between the two brothers took root a long time before their stirring ASA performance at IRP a year ago.
"I sat on the pole in Milwaukee for one of Johnny's first ASA races," explained Tim Sauter. "I led most of the race and had a straightaway lead when I lost a cylinder. I started running the high line to keep my momentum but it was obvious I was falling back. Johnny was the last person who was going to pass me. I went wide and he drove in too hard and ended up sliding into me. We both spun and I ended up hitting the wall. That's just how hard we compete."
Currently, Tim is 12th in NBS season standings, three spots in front of Johnny. Tim's season has been a consistent run of Top-10 finishes, but Johnny's had an up and down campaign that hit a high spot three weeks ago when he scored his first NBS win at Chicagoland Speedway. Meanwhile, eldest brother, Jay Sauter, has stayed out of the family points battle by competing in a select-event schedule of NBS races this season.
"I hate to say it, but I think since Johnny and Jay drive for Richard Childress Racing, they have the upper hand as far as equipment and test data goes," said Tim Sauter. "The three of us also have a whole different agenda when we race. Mine is to bring racecars home in one piece and keep this AP Performance Racing Team, which is in its first season of Busch Series racing and is without a primary sponsor, competing each week. Their teams at RCR have been doing this a long time and are further developed than ours. They are looking for Top 5's and wins, to the point where if that doesn't happen they are having a bad weekend."
Not that Tim Sauter is apologizing for his team. In head to head competition with his brothers this season, Tim has been the highest finishing Sauter in nine events compared to seven for Johnny and five for Jay. In select races that all three brothers have competed in this season, Tim has come out on top five times compared to three for Johnny and four for oldest brother Jay.
"To Johnny's credit, he has two top fives and a win despite having a ton of pressure on him," said Sauter. "When I was Johnny's age, you couldn't get a ride in a Busch car unless you had an awesome resume of track championships and ASA championships. Now, 10 years later, owners and sponsors don't want to wait for you to win all that stuff so they are taking guys 20 years old. A lot of young guys would quit racing before they had to go through some of the hardships that veteran drivers like Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague have had to go through. They tried and failed on more than one attempt, but still fought their way to the top. Those are great drivers."
While the Sauter brothers are fierce competitors on the track, their family ties remain intact away from the raceway.
"None one of us relies solely on the other, but we are there for each other when help is needed," said Sauter. "As far as racing goes, we manage to stand on our own two feet. We're competitive as hell. When it's all said and done 20 years down the road, those racecars will be parked and they won't mean a dam thing."
This Saturday, Tim Sauter will continue his quest for his first NBS victory, when AP Performance Racing returns to IRP to compete in the Kroger 200. The green flag waves at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and race will telecast live on TNT and broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.
For more information on Tim Sauter and AP Performance Racing, please team visit www.timsauter.com.
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.