Johnny Sauter in the No. 2 Acdelco Chevrolet was The RaybestosÂ® Rookie Of The Race In The Tropicana Twister 300, scoring his first career Busch Series victory at Chicagoland Speedway. The win came in his 23rd career Busch series start and is his...
Johnny Sauter in the No. 2 Acdelco Chevrolet was The Raybestos® Rookie Of The Race In The Tropicana Twister 300, scoring his first career Busch Series victory at Chicagoland Speedway. The win came in his 23rd career Busch series start and is his second top-five finish of the 2002 season. His previous best finish was third at Las Vegas In March. He joins Scott Riggs as the Raybestos® Rookies who have won in the Busch Series this season. Sauter has now been highest finishing Raybestos® Rookie in four races. He led the race twice for 48 laps.
"The ACDelco car was awesome today. I knew after "Happy Hour' yesterday that we didn't qualify as well as we wanted to but I knew that the car was going to race awesome. Right at the drop of the green there we moved up to eighth I think it was and the boys had an awesome pit stop and got us in the top-five and we just rode. We stuck to our guns and our game plan as far as pit stops and how many laps we could go. I really don't feel like it was a fuel mileage win. I feel like we had one of the best cars and hat's off to the ACDelco guys. They did an awesome job in the pits. Hat's off to Richard Childress for giving me this opportunity."
RICK VIERS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 ACDELCO CHEVROLET:
WHAT WAS THE STRATEGY YOU USED TO GET IN POSITION TO WIN THE RACE?
"This race last year kind of went kind of the same way. It was whoever was out front at the end of the race was who won the race. I felt last year when I was working with Elton Sawyer that I got beat by not putting Elton in a good position to run for the win, and if we had took two tires maybe we could have done that. I looked at my notes a lot last night about strategy and what to do in what situation and what lap and how we were running, all those things. The scenario I had was that we need to be in front at the end of the race, whatever it took to be at the front. We needed to take two tires early just to see if it would work for Johnny and it did. Fortunately, it worked out when those guys didn't pit and we could make it all the way. Obviously we got a caution when we needed it and it couldn't have been at a better time. I didn't feel like it was a chance on fuel. I just felt like it was a chance maybe on tires but I would give up laps on tires for track position. It could have gone another way. We could have gotten a caution 30 laps into it and they could have passed us, you never know. It was one of those days where it all worked out like it was supposed to. We even had a tire going down the second time we pitted on the right rear. When things go your way, they just go your way. They haven't gone our way all year. We've had some really rough times but these guys have really stuck together and we've worked really hard and it's paid off. That's what RCR is all about: sticking together and it pays off in the end."
HOW BIG IS THIS WIN FOR YOUR DRIVER?
"It's huge for the driver. He's had a pretty rough start with the wreck at Talladega and California back to back and then having some trouble at Charlotte and not being able to race the car. It's huge. I can't be more proud of him or the whole race team and everybody at RCR in the engine room and the fab shop. It's been a great win for everybody."
Scott Riggs, no. 10 Nestea Ford finished 29th. Riggs was running sixth when he was involved in the seventh caution of the day on lap 125. Riggs was transported to provena St. Joseph's Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois for treatment for a possible broken rib. He led the race twice for 50 laps, more than any other Raybestos® Rookie contender.
KEITH BARNWELL, CO-OWNER/GENERAL MANAGER PPC RACING:
"I'm not 100 percent sure. Scott seems to think that the car just got out from under him. Jason (Keller) was behind him and he said looks like when he got on the throttle it came around on him. We're not sure until we look at the car real good. We'll find out. Scott is fine. They are going to take him and look at his ribs because he had a previous rib injury. The thing that we are concerned about is when he gets on an airplane, and they pressurize the cabin, if that would do something to his ribs or his lungs or something like that. Everything is just a safety precaution."
Casey Mears, No. 66 Phillips 66 Dodge, finished 38th.
"I'm very disappointed. We worked so hard and we're learning so much about the Dodge and just trying to get going. I had a good racecar. We qualified great this weekend. It was handling awesome in the race right off the bat. We were trying something new with the pulley system to try to get a fan running the whole time. We put a little more gear in it for the race and turned it more rpm than we had in the past. We think maybe that might have done something, it might have caused a vibration in the belts and caused the belts to jump off. We lost the power steering belt, fuel pressure belt, and after that we kind of hurt the motor. When the water pump belt went away it got real hot. It's just disappointing. We had such a good car."
Kerry Earnhardt, No. 12 Supecuts Chevrolet, finished 43rd. Earnhardt was involved in the first yellow of the day on lap 3.
"I was trying to be cautions there at the beginning of the race. The spotter cleared me and we got down in a clean hole and everything. I went into turn one and it just came around. It stuck pretty good the times before that. I just don't understand if it got loose or what happened."