CLERMONT, Ind. (September 29, 2001) -- In what was a resemblance of his 2001 season, Johnny Sauter dominated the tirerack.com 200 presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday night, and with the win, he clinched the 2001...
CLERMONT, Ind. (September 29, 2001) -- In what was a resemblance of his 2001 season, Johnny Sauter dominated the tirerack.com 200 presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday night, and with the win, he clinched the 2001 ASA ACDelco Series National Championship and its $200,000 prize. And to make the evening even more perfect, Sauter was chased by his older brother Tim, who won the ASA National Championship in 1999, for much of the evening. For Sauter, who had already wrapped up the $50,000 Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year several races ago, it was his 10th win of the year, breaking the old record held by veterans Butch Miller and Bob Senneker.
"I have no idea what this means yet, I probably won't until December. It is unbelievable," said the 23-year-old Sauter, who will likely win over a half-million dollars in 2001. "It was great to finish one-two for (car-owner) Alec (Pinsonneault). To win the last race, rookie of the year and championship on the same night is awesome. A year ago I was watching this race from the infield. My life has been a complete whirlwind this year."
For Tim Sauter, Johnny's older brother by 14 years, it was his first ASA start of the 2001 season since he left the series full time at the end of 2000. Tim worked hard all night, starting in the 15th position, and chased Johnny most of the evening, but had nothing for his little brother. Tim was running a back-up A.P. Performance Racing car.
"We came here to help out as much as we could," said the older Sauter, one of four different Sauters to have collected wins in ASA competition. "It feels really good to be back running and doing well. I really got kicked around there in the Busch Series earlier this year. This is a storybook ending on the evening. Jay really helped me out, and now it is my turn to help Johnny out. I think we did pretty good.
"We were a little better than he was on the long runs, but I had to use up too much of my car to get by those other guys. We (me and Johnny) talked about what would happen if we were running in (positions) one and two, but Johnny didn't really like what I had to say about that. I am really happy for him and everyone on this team."
Sauter's closest competitor in the chase for the title, Gary St. Amant, struggled all night long, finishing eighth. 2000 ASA Rookie of the Year Joey Clanton came home third on the evening, the same spot he finished in the final point standings. Butch Miller and Kevin Cywinski rounded out the top-five.
Sauter's run to the front wasn't without a little bit of controversy. On lap four, while racing for the lead, he and pole-sitter Mike Eddy got together coming off of turn four with Eddy spinning to the inside and making contact with the pit road wall. Eddy would go on to have troubles all night long, finishing 35th.
In what may be one of the most dominating season's in ASA history, Sauter ended the year with 10 wins, four poles, 13 podium finishes, 14 top fives and 16 top 10s, all of which are records for ASA rookies. He also led over 2,030 laps and collected over $250,000 during the season, while only collecting one DNF.
Rookie Mike Cope, veteran Mike Miller, St. Amant, and Indianapolis' Tim Taylor and Russ Tuttle rounded out the top 10. Sauter led 190 of the race's 200 laps, with Eddy and Clanton the only other drivers to spend time out front.
ASA wraps up its 34th year with the ASA National Awards Banquet on December 7 and 8 at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.