How sweet it almost was; Sauter finishes second. NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 12) - Johnny Sauter said after the Pepsi 300 that he felt he was driving a 10th-place car. That 10th-place PayDay Chevrolet almost won the NASCAR Busch Series event at ...
How sweet it almost was; Sauter finishes second.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 12) - Johnny Sauter said after the Pepsi 300 that he felt he was driving a 10th-place car. That 10th-place PayDay Chevrolet almost won the NASCAR Busch Series event at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday.
With less than 25 laps remaining in the race, Johnny Sauter was leading the pack with Ashton Lewis (No. 46) and David Green (No. 27) in hot pursuit. Sauter was still leading at the white flag, signifying the last lap, but Green, who had just passed Lewis, beat Sauter to the checkered flag.
Todd Bodine, whose team was leading the rankings entering Saturday's race, finished 13th. Thanks to Sauter's sixth career top-five finish, PayDay is leading the team rankings again. Sauter moved up three positions in the driver's points standings from 11th to 8th, just 168 points behind Bodine, who is in first place.
"It was a real amazing day for the PayDay team," Sauter said. "We had a car that started off the day and it wasn't real good. The guys just kept working on the car on every pit stop, and they made it better. I am so proud of these guys. I say it ever week, but these guys are the best in the garage. You won't find a group of guys who work harder and want to win as badly as the PayDay team."
After Sauter took the green flag, he was complaining of a tight handling car by lap five. A caution flag was waived on lap 22, and Sauter came into the pits in the 16th position. The PayDay Racing team changed four tires, added fuel and made chassis adjustments. Sauter returned to the race in 21st place.
Then on lap 37, Sauter complained of tight conditions again. A lap 65 caution enabled Sauter to bring the PayDay Chevrolet back into the pits for more adjustments.
The pit stop on lap 73 was the turning point for the PayDay team. Sauter came in for four tires, fuel and adjustments. However, the team did not get all 22 gallons of fuel into the car, so Sauter had to return to pit road. The error got the PayDay machine out of pit sequence with the leaders, which proved to be a positive at the end of the day.
After another caution on lap 95, Sauter was able to restart in fourth place, and then he eventually worked his way up to second place. Then on lap 122, the team lost communication with Sauter, and NASCAR was contemplating sending Sauter to pit road to correct the problem. Fortunately, the problem corrected itself, as Sauter only turned the radio on when he was trying to pass lapped traffic.
Lap 132 of 225 was the final stop of the day for Sauter. Ninety-three laps on a 1.3-mile track is a long way on one tank of fuel, but the team was willing to take the chance to steal a win.
Sauter sat comfortably in the 12th position at the time, and one-by-one, the leaders were forced to pit for fuel. Eventually, Sauter worked his way into the lead with less than 25 laps remaining. Sauter would then go on to lead 22 and three-fourths laps, until Green passed him on the white flag lap.
The NASCAR Busch Series will not compete next weekend to observe Easter. The circuit will return to action on Saturday, April 26, at California Speedway.