BUSCH: Nazareth: Johnny Sauter preview

Sauter poised to make 50th career Busch Series start Sunday. WELCOME, N.C. (May 12) - Second-year Busch Series sensation Johnny Sauter is set to make his 50th career Busch Series start Sunday at Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania. The milestone...

Sauter poised to make 50th career Busch Series start Sunday.

WELCOME, N.C. (May 12) - Second-year Busch Series sensation Johnny Sauter is set to make his 50th career Busch Series start Sunday at Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania.

The milestone comes in the midst of what could prove to be a milestone season for Sauter. His PayDay Racing team tops the team charts. He splits driving chores for the PayDay Chevrolet with Kevin Harvick, and they could become the first-ever duo to propel their team to the Busch Series Championship. In addition, Sauter is ranked eighth this week as a driver, a reachable 134 points from the number one ranking. Since Sauter will compete in only 19 of 34 events for PayDay and Richard Childress Racing, he will fill the rest of the schedule with Curb-Agajanian Motorsports. If he wins the driver championship, he could be the first driver in quite awhile to win while driving for two teams.

Sauter's 50th start comes during his second season of competition in the Busch Series. A native of Necedah, Wis., Sauter has made 44 of his starts for Richard Childress Racing, the other six with Curb-Agajanian.

"It's hard to believe that I'm about to make my 50th start in the Busch Series this weekend," Sauter said. "I've been lucky enough to make all of my starts with top-notch programs."

Sauter, who was born into a racing family, is the son of short-track legend Jim Sauter, who currently works with the International Race Of Champions (IROC) Series as a test driver, and brother to Jay and Tim Sauter, two other Busch Series regulars. Sauter took a non-traditional path to racing: he didn't race competitively until he was 18. His father insisted that he wait until high school graduation before he began racing, and that's exactly what he did.

Most drivers at the Busch and Winston Cup Series levels began their racing careers about the time they could walk. Sauter, however, waited patiently on the side, spending countless hours working in the shop and watching his father and brothers on the track before he finally got behind the wheel.

But the patience paid off. In 2001 Sauter was crowned the American Speed Association (ASA) Champion and Rookie of the Year. Sauter won 10 events, an ASA record, and took home more than $501,000 in prize money, another ASA record. Sauter also became the fourth in the Sauter family to compete in ASA.

Sauter's first Busch Series start also occurred in 2001 in the No. 21 Chevrolet at Richmond International Raceway. Sauter started 23rd and finished fifth, an impressive start to his career.

Last season marked Sauter's first full season of Busch Series competition as he drove the No. 2 Chevrolet. Sauter claimed his first win at Chicagoland Speedway last July. He earned his first pole in April 2002 in Talladega. Sauter was also the runner-up in the 2002 Busch Series Rookie of the Year standings.

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Johnny Sauter , Jim Sauter
Teams Richard Childress Racing