WRECK RUINS SAUTER'S RUN Tim Sauter caught in wrong place on lap 159. Optimism was running high in the Lester Buildings/McGill Motorsports pit late in Saturday's running of the Sam's Town 300 in Las Vegas. After starting on the outside of Row 11...
WRECK RUINS SAUTER'S RUN
Tim Sauter caught in wrong place on lap 159.
Optimism was running high in the Lester Buildings/McGill Motorsports pit late in Saturday's running of the Sam's Town 300 in Las Vegas. After starting on the outside of Row 11 following his strong qualifying run, Tim Sauter found himself running in 16th place, the first car one lap down hoping for a caution flag to get back to the lead lap. Unfortunately, leader Kevin Harvick passed Tony Stewart less than a half a lap prior to the caution coming out on lap 149, ruining Sauter's bid. Then, several laps after the restart, instead of racing towards his best finish of the young season, Sauter was riding in the ambulance and his $70,000 racecar was headed for the scrap heap.
"I just hate it! I Just hate it for Lester Buildings, I hate it for John McGill," a dejected Sauter said emerging from the Infield Care Center. "I don't know what these Cup guys think when they race on Saturdays. They don't seem to care about what they do. I know John Andretti is really hot at Jamie McMurray though. I don't know exactly what happened but when the wreck started, I saw the #10 (Andretti) bounce off the inside wall and head up the banking. I went down onto the apron and as fast as he started up the banking, his car just turned right down in front of me. I hit him a ton."
Up to that point, the script had been followed perfectly. After the green flag dropped and the race began, the field took a few laps to sort itself out. While the #36 car dropped back six spots during that period, Tim was settling into a rhythm that soon saw him move up steadily up the running order. By lap 20 he was back to his starting position and through the long green runs the silver Lester #36 was one of the fastest cars on the track. As Sauter worked his way up to 16th position on lap 120, Ricky Pearson and the crew were hoping for a caution to get Sauter back on the lead lap. Kevin Harvick passed Stewart just as the caution flew on lap 149 for Kevin Lepage's spin coming onto pit road. If the caution had flown just 10 seconds earlier, Sauter would have received the "Lucky Dog" and would have found himself back on the lead lap.
"If we just could have caught that caution, none of this would have happened," Pearson said after the race. "We had a top 15 racecar and to have it end this way is really tough. This is a good team. Even though we don't have all the resources these Cup guys have, John and Nancy McGill are dedicated to growing this team. We've got a new racecar to take to Atlanta next week and we'll give Lester Buildings another good run there."
Despite the setback, Sauter is excited about the direction of the team. "This was our best run of the season, we had a chance for a great finish, once we got a few laps on the tires we were running lap times equal to top-ten cars today. Ricky's got this deal figured out. We'll bounce back," Sauter continued. "I want to thank ISP for a great seat and Willans for great seat belts and the HANS (Head and Neck Support system) did its job. That's one of the hardest hits I've ever had but all the safety equipment worked perfect and I'm really glad John (Andretti) is OK."
Prior to the Sam's Town 300, Tim participated in the Speedway Children's Charities driver auction to raise money for deserving children. Ted Brunkner of Beloit WI purchased the opportunity to ride with Tim in a pick-up truck on the parade lap. "That was very special, I really enjoyed my time with Tim. When we saw the accident, my wife and I said a quick prayer, I was so glad to see him walk to the ambulance."
The 41st place finish in the Sam's 300, drops Sauter to 24th in the NBS driver standings.