ROCKINGHAM, NC (February 23, 2002) - Save for a couple gallons of water and a gallon or two of gas, Tim Sauter and his No. 19 AP Performance Racing team would have had a great weekend at North Carolina Speedway. "We fought some gremlins this ...
ROCKINGHAM, NC (February 23, 2002) - Save for a couple gallons of water and a gallon or two of gas, Tim Sauter and his No. 19 AP Performance Racing team would have had a great weekend at North Carolina Speedway.
"We fought some gremlins this weekend with our motor and gas mileage," said Sauter, who finished 29th in the second NASCAR Busch Series race of the season - the 1-866 RBCTERM.com 200 at North Carolina Speedway. "We are going to fix these problems and put them behind us."
Sauter's Chevrolet Monte Carlo overheated in the final 10 minutes of practice Friday forcing the team to change the engine in his racer. The boil over relegated the team, which qualified 13th earlier in the day, to the back of the 43-car starting field. Later, Sauter ran out of gas on the backstretch under green flag conditions just before his first pit stop on Lap 89.
"We were a Top-15 car," said Sauter after the race. "Considering we are a new team, that's what we want to be but we could not capitalize on it. I was happy with the way the AP team adjusted the car. This is a new team and we need all of the practice time we can get. The time we spent working on the engine yesterday hurt us."
Despite starting shotgun on the field, the Necedah, WI driver quickly found his way through the pack picking up 20 positions by Lap 30.
"I can drive into the corners harder than anybody," radioed Sauter to his crew. "If we can get this thing freed up a little, it will be great."
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be a Sauter ran out of gas as he rolled to a stop for his initial pit stop of the day. A frantic effort by his AP Performance pit crew to refire the car's engine ended with the team pushing the racer down pit lane. Eventually, the engine restarted, but the damage was done as Sauter returned to the track three-laps off the pace of the leader.
Sauter then solidered through the final 100 laps to finish 29th-place, collecting $11,775 in prize money in the process.
"I just want us to learn from our mistakes because we are in this for the long haul," said Sauter. "We need to understand what happened and leave this track excited about the next race, not with our heads down."
Sauter and his AP Performance Racing team will return to action Saturday, March 2, in the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event will take the green flag at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and will be telecast live on FX. PRN Radio will also broadcast the race.