BUSCH: Pikes Peak: Johnny Sauter race report

Sauter's late-race surge earns another top-five finish FOUNTAIN, Colo. (July 26) - PayDay Racing driver Johnny Sauter showed why he is quickly becoming one of the top drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series on July 26 at the Pikes Peak International...

Sauter's late-race surge earns another top-five finish

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (July 26) - PayDay Racing driver Johnny Sauter showed why he is quickly becoming one of the top drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series on July 26 at the Pikes Peak International Raceway. Sauter overcame a lengthy late-race pit stop to claim the fourth position in the TrimSpa 250. Sauter, who had the fastest car during the last segment of the race, skillfully carved his way through the field, before running out of laps in his chase of Scott Riggs' third-place car. Sauter's fourth-place finish was the PayDay team's 10th top-five of the year. Scott Wimmer won the race, followed by Jason Keller and Scott Riggs.

"The PayDay Chevrolet was awesome again," Sauter said after the race. "I just don't know what I've got to do to win one of these things (races). We were really strong all weekend. We got real loose during the middle part of the race, and that put us in the hole a little bit. Who knows what could've happened if we would've got a caution near the end. All in all it was good day in the owner's points and the driver's points."

Sauter qualified the PayDay Chevrolet in the eighth position. The PayDay team prepared the car with a new, aggressive qualifying set up in a quest to claim the pole position. The team continued to work on the car's setup during the final practice session, as the track temperature soared to nearly 150 degrees.

The glaring sun and temperatures exceeding 100 degrees at the race's start immediately made for scorching conditions inside the cars. The engine in the PayDay Chevrolet heated to well over 250 degrees only 15 laps into the event. Despite battling a tight-handling car, Sauter managed to race near the top five through the first 30 laps. When the caution flag waved on lap 30, Sauter brought the PayDay machine into the pits for its first service of the day. The PayDay crew changed four tires, filled the car with fuel and made a wedge adjustment, returning Sauter to the track in the sixth position.

Sauter continued to fight an ill-handling car, but still advanced to the fourth position by the race's second caution on lap 81. Sauter returned to pit road for service, but a lengthy pit stop dropped him to the 11th position. Shortly after the restart, Sauter reported to the crew that the car was loose, then stated that it had no forward bite by the race's midpoint. However, he still was able to work his way to the eighth position.

Sauter's final pit stop of the day came on lap 178 under green flag conditions. At the completion of the stop, Sauter returned to the racing surface in the 12th position, but he had lost a lot of time to the leaders.

Sauter wasted no time picking off positions. By lap 200, Sauter was in sixth; five laps later he overtook fifth place. On lap 225, he secured the fourth position, and set his sights on the third-place car of Scott Riggs, who was more than a half a lap ahead. When the race concluded, Sauter was only a few car lengths from the rear of Riggs' machine.

The PayDay team remains the top-ranked unit in Busch Series team standings, leading the No. 37 team (David Green) by 74 points. Sauter returned to eighth in the driver rankings, 337 points behind the leader Scott Riggs.

The next stop for Busch Series is the Aug. 2 Kroger 200 at Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park. The race will be televised live on TNT at 8 p.m. EDT. Live radio coverage on MRN also begins at 8 p.m. EDT.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller , David Green , Scott Riggs , Johnny Sauter , Scott Wimmer