CONCORD, NC (February 22, 2002) - Last fall, Tim Sauter debuted an all-new AP Performance Racing NASCAR Busch Series team at Rockingham rolling to a 26th-place finish in the Sam's Club 200. While the finish wasn't exactly a top effort on the final...
CONCORD, NC (February 22, 2002) - Last fall, Tim Sauter debuted an all-new AP Performance Racing NASCAR Busch Series team at Rockingham rolling to a 26th-place finish in the Sam's Club 200. While the finish wasn't exactly a top effort on the final results sheet, the inaugural run provided big benefits for Sauter and the young team.
"We used Rockingham and Miami at the end of last season as on the job training for this year," said Sauter. "Rockingham is a tough place - just making the race there is a victory, especially when you have a new team right out of the box like we did. We gained a bunch of spots on the track during last year's race at Rockingham. By the end of the day, our lap times were in the Top 10. If we can start this year's race like we ended last year's, we should be in great shape." Sauter is coming off a 26th-place finish in the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series event at Daytona International Speedway last week. With Daytona in his rearview mirror, the Necedah, WI native is now totally focused with the Rockingham challenge at hand.
"We didn't build a new superspeedway car for Daytona," said Sauter. "Instead, we made sure we were prepared to race on the size tracks we travel to most like Rockingham. Rockingham will be one of the first big tests for the AP Performance team this year. At Daytona, your car totally determines how you do. Rockingham is just the opposite. It's a driver's racetrack. You chase the track all day hunting for the best line."Sauter figures a preseason test at Rockingham is sure to give the team an advantage when he and the rest of the field take the green flag for the 1-866-RBCTEAM.com 200 at "The Rock" this weekend.
"That test session really helped us," stated Sauter. "I wanted the extra track time because Rockingham is so challenging. There are unique bumps on each end of the track and on top of that you have a tight end in Turns 1 and 2 and a rolling end in Turns 3 and 4. We worked hard on a setup that suited my driving style. A lot of it comes down to how smooth I can drive to conserve the tires, having a good grip setup helps tremendously with tire wear. Rockingham is definitely one of the most challenging tracks that we will run at this year and having extra test laps there is sure to help us on race weekend."
In the end, there's no substitute for experience and having a race and a test session under his belt is sure to help the driver of the No. 19 AP Performance Chevy Monte Carlo this time around at Rockingham.
"Almost every time that I went to a track last year it was the first time I had seen it," said Sauter. "The same was true for this AP Performance team. My race experience came from the short tracks around Wisconsin and the ASA circuit. Before last year I hadn't raced on a track as large as Rockingham. At each new track, it would take us about half of the race to get the track figured out. Then we would start coming up. With all of the laps we have put on at Rockingham, I believe we will be strong and ready to race right off the truck when we unload for the first practice."
Sauter and his AP Performance Racing team will take the green flag in the 1-866 RBCTERM.com 200 at North Carolina Speedway Saturday, February 23, at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The event will be telecast live on FOX and will be broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.