Sauter makes history at Chicago CHICAGO, Illinois (July 8, 2001) -- ASA's leading rookie contender, Johnny Sauter, made history after taking his sixth win of the 2001 season and fifth in a row, Sunday afternoon at Chicago Motor Speedway in the...
Sauter makes history at Chicago
CHICAGO, Illinois (July 8, 2001) -- ASA's leading rookie contender, Johnny Sauter, made history after taking his sixth win of the 2001 season and fifth in a row, Sunday afternoon at Chicago Motor Speedway in the Chicago 200. Sauter's victory, which came from the pole, also vaulted the rookie into the top-spot of the National Championship point standings. Sauter's fifth consecutive victory is historical, as no driver in the 34-year history of the American Speed Association, had won five consecutive events until Sauter.
"This is unbelievable," said the 23-year-old Sauter. "I never expected to win five races in a row. I am not even going to think about what it means until the end of the season. I want to stay focused on the championship."
Sauter fought off a late challenge from Joey Clanton before making the final pass for the lead on lap 184. Clanton got around Sauter on the final restart due to mechanical problems Sauter faced since earlier in the afternoon.
"I lost third gear early in the afternoon and I knew Joey (Clanton), was going to make a run on the restart. I knew I had plenty of time to get back up front. This is just a testament to the entire A.P. Performance team."
Clanton followed Sauter to the line to record his fifth podium finish of the year. Kevin Cywinski passed rookie Mike Cope late in the event to capture the third position after starting ninth. Cope and veteran Scott Hansen rounded out the top five.
"Cope got around me on the restart, but I knew I would get back around him and hopefully make a run on Johnny," said Cywinski. "Right now, Johnny has his team all together and the rest of us are just trying to catch up. Momentum is a big thing."
ASA officials, per the 2001 ASA Rulebook, confiscated Sauter's ASA Vortec 5700 engine, a move they announced when the engines were introduced at the beginning of the 2000 season. If any driver wins several events in a row, ASA Officials will take the engine for inspection and replace the confiscated engine with a new one.
Sauter's sixth win, which netted him $25,380 is the most in the series since Hansen won seven events in the 1998 season. Hansen however, did not capture the championship that season. Sauter is looking to become the first rookie to ever win an ASA National Championship.
Six drivers swapped the lead of the Chicago 200 on 13 different occasions, with Sauter leading the most. The 36-car field was slowed only six times for the yellow flag.
Sauter takes his point lead into Michigan, as ASA makes its return to Berlin Raceway next Saturday night, July 14, for the tires.com 300 Presented by BFGoodrich Tires. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. (local) and will be telecast live on TNN Sports.