BUSCH: Las Vegas: Tim Sauter preview

Tim Sauter Likes His Vegas Odds Likes High-Flying Racing Action At Las Vegas CONCORD, NC (February 22, 2002) - Tim Sauter is used to racing in a high-speed, jet fighter formation. One thing the NASCAR Busch Series driver isn't used to seeing...

Tim Sauter Likes His Vegas Odds
Likes High-Flying Racing Action At Las Vegas

CONCORD, NC (February 22, 2002) - Tim Sauter is used to racing in a high-speed, jet fighter formation. One thing the NASCAR Busch Series driver isn't used to seeing real jet fighters at the racetrack.

"Last year at Las Vegas, I was hammering through Turns 1 and 2 and I could see jet fighters from Nellis Air Force base practicing overhead," said Sauter, who will return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Sam's Club 300 NBS event this weekend. "Talk about a distraction. It was very cool, but a little unnerving. For the fans, it has to be a great deal because they get two high-speed shows at once."

Sauter kept his mind on his work well enough to finish 13th in last year's Sam's Club clash. This time around, Sauter will return to the 1.5-mile Vegas oval with AP Performance Racing.

In 1999, Sauter piloted an AP Performance prepared Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the American Speed Association championship. Now armed with a full fleet of Monte Carlos driven by Matt Kenseth in Busch Series competition a year ago, Sauter and his AP teammates are looking for bigger and better things at Las Vegas and beyond.

"Vegas is my kind of racetrack," said Sauter. "I ran well there last year and we would have had an even better finish, but we didn't have our tires purged when we pitted late in the race, so we had to put 20-lap scuffs back on. With new tires instead of scuffs, we would have had a Top-10 finish for sure. That's our goal this year - to finish in the Top-10 in every race we go to."

Last year's solid Las Vegas finish came in the Necedah, WI driver's first-ever appearance at the track. It didn't take long for Sauter to gain a healthy measure of respect for the big, wide and smooth LVMS oval.

"We missed the set-up big time in qualifying at Las Vegas last year," Sauter stated. "It was my first time to the track, so when I got in the car to practice, I ran all of the hot laps right around the bottom. I thought that would work, but my lap times were horrible. When I got on top of the hauler to watch qualifying, I could see all the other guys were running the middle groove of the track. I decided to do the same on my qualifying lap. I floated the car down there in the middle and just about waded it up. I was lucky to save it and not take it home in a box."

Despite settling for the 21st spot on the starting grid, Sauter quickly learned that Las Vegas was his kind of track.

"Las Vegas is all about high speeds and not much braking," said Sauter, "There are several grooves - some guys run on the bottom, some in the middle and some up top. You drive the car into the turns as hard as you can. That's my kind of racing."

While a Top-10 Sam's Club 300 run would definitely help Sauter's quest for a solid finish in the 2002 NBS championship chase, a great finish would also go a long way in helping his AP Performance organization attract a sponsor.

"We'd definitely like to have a full-time, primary sponsor," said Sauter. "Our team owner, Alec Pinsonneault, has provided us with everything we need to be successful. This is the best situation I have ever been in and I love racing with these guys. The Las Vegas race produces a lot of attention and a win or a top finish there would be huge. We know we can do the job on the racetrack and in the marketplace. We just need to get the right company on board and help them be successful too."

Sauter and his No. 19 AP Performance Chevrolet Monte Carlo will take the green flag in the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 2, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The event will be telecast live on FX and will be broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tim Sauter