Loose Wheel, Ill-timed Caution Costs Sauter Several Laps and Positions. April 8th, Texas Motor Speedway. After Tim Sauter qualified his McGill Motorsports Chevy 32nd for the O'Reilly 300 on Thursday evening, he knew that the team had little...
Loose Wheel, Ill-timed Caution Costs Sauter Several Laps and Positions.
April 8th, Texas Motor Speedway. After Tim Sauter qualified his McGill Motorsports Chevy 32nd for the O'Reilly 300 on Thursday evening, he knew that the team had little chance of competing up front with the 17 Cup drivers that had entered the Busch Series race, but he also felt that he could get the team a respectable finish.
Once the race started, Tim fought a tight condition that forced him to ease through the corners to avoid sliding up the track. The team desperately needed a caution to make adjustments to the car. Tim finally came to the pits for a green flag stop for a chassis adjustment and four fresh tires along with many others on lap 63. By that time Tim was two laps down in 40th position and as fate would have it the race went 83 laps before the first caution flew. The McGill Motorsports #36 again came to the attention of the Ricky Pearson led crew for four tires and quickly exited the pits. The adjustments improved the handling and Tim was able to race his way up to 37th position on the track.
On lap 120 just as Tim fell a third lap down, he radioed crew chief Ricky Pearson he was getting a vibration. As the vibration got worse and since the race looked like it was headed for another long green run, Pearson called Sauter to the pit on lap 130 for 4 tires. Unfortunately, the caution came out just 5 laps later and that stuck the Wisconsin veteran an two additional laps down from the leaders. "That second caution came out about 10 laps early, and it cost us two extra laps," a dejected Sauter said. "It's a real shame because our lap times had improved, and were at least able to run with the pack. The track position at that point really hurt our finish."
Sauter had several close calls on-track, two of them with Jason Keller, one avoiding Keller as he tried to pit with a flat tire on lap 151, and another when Keller spun on lap 169. He also was fortunate to avoid a wreck on lap 179 when A.J. Foyt IV lost control and slid into Tim's brother Jay and the two bounced off the wall in front of Tim on the backstretch. Tim was fortunate to avoid all three of the incidents, but with very little attrition in the race, he was only able to manage a 37th place finishing position behind race winner Kurt Busch. Sauter now sits 29th in the season point standings.
Next week Tim, Ricky and the McGill Motorsports crew are heading to Nashville Superspeedway where the team will again run the Lester Buildings colors for the Pepsi 300. Tim finished 10th in the NBS spring race at Nashville in 2002 and hopes for another strong finish in the Easter basket this year. "We are taking a new car to Nashville, it's a green piece (never been to the track) and I look forward to going there, its such a unique track, I think my experience there will pay off," Sauter added. "The folks at Nashville are really accommodating, they make the Busch teams feel right at home, Its a great place to race."