The Kansas connection. HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 24, 2002) - Normally, for a rookie driver like Johnny Sauter, (Kansas City) Kansas Speedway would seem like unfamiliar territory. After all, the 24-year old has never been to the two-year ...
The Kansas connection.
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 24, 2002) - Normally, for a rookie driver like Johnny Sauter, (Kansas City) Kansas Speedway would seem like unfamiliar territory. After all, the 24-year old has never been to the two-year old track, much less raced on it. But Sauter has a connection to Kansas that no one else has this season, he won at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway, an almost identical racetrack to the one the NASCAR Busch Series visits this weekend.
"I'm not sure what to expect this weekend," admits Sauter, "But I like my chances as far as the track goes. We were very competitive at Chicagoland; a racetrack everyone has been telling me is just like Kansas. We're taking a similar set-up that will hopefully give us an advantage from the get-go. We'll have to see what happens."
When it comes to racetracks, Kansas and Chicagoland are as close as you can get. They are both paved, 1.5-mile tri-ovals with just a 3-degree difference in banking in the corners between the two. Ironically enough, they both enjoyed their inaugural NASCAR events in 2001 and are owned by the same company, International Speedway Corporation.
"The racetracks are very similar," says ACDelco crew chief Rick Viers. "The size, banking, layout, everything matches up pretty close. It definitely helps to have won at Chicago, but it's not something we can take for granted. It's still a new racetrack and we need to remember that."
It's easy to see there are a lot of connections between two of the newest racetracks on the circuit. Sauter and Team ACDelco would like to solidify themselves as a connection by becoming the first team to sweep them with wins. They have one down. It's just a matter of duplicating that effort on Saturday.
* Sauter has found success on almost all the 1.5-mile racetracks that the NASCAR Busch Series visited this season. In six of seven events (missed the spring race in Concord, N.C., to injury), he has one win, two top-5, five top-20, and six top-25 finishes.
* The No. 2 ACDelco Racing team will take chassis No. 010 to Kansas City, Kan., the same one they won with in the windy city in July. This chassis has also been run at Pikes Peak (Colo.) International Raceway (34th) and Michigan Speedway (22nd).
* Start time for Saturday's Mr. Goodcents 300 is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 200-lap event on TNT starts at 2:00 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 1:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.
ACDelco driver Johnny Sauter on Kansas Speedway
What have you heard about Kansas Speedway?
"The only thing the guys at the shop have been telling me is that it's a lot like Chicago, which will make things a lot easier for me. Every week it seems like we go someplace new and it takes me a little while to get adjusted, so I look at this as a plus. We're taking the same car and set-up we won with to help me get started. I've just got to go out there and let her eat."
How much do you like the 1.5-mile racetracks?
"The neat thing about the mile and a half tracks are that they're not too big to be speedways, and they're not too little to be short-tracks. Most of them provide a pretty racy atmosphere that drivers tend to like. It also makes great racing for the fans."
When was the last time you were in Kansas?
"Actually, I've never been to Kansas before. The last time I was even close was last year when I won the ASA race at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo., just across the river. That racetrack was one of my favorites. With its high-banking and fast speeds, you could really race there."
ACDelco crew chief Rick Viers on Kansas Speedway
What's your game plan heading into Kansas?
"We're taking the same car and set-up that we won with in Chicago. We'll probably start out in race trim in practice to give Johnny some time to feel out the racetrack. About halfway through, we'll switch over to qualifying and go from there."