PENDLETON, Ind. (August 30, 2001) -- American Speed Association National Championship and Rookie of the Year points leader Johnny Sauter has been rewriting the history books all season long during his momentous rookie campaign in the ASA ACDelco...
PENDLETON, Ind. (August 30, 2001) -- American Speed Association National Championship and Rookie of the Year points leader Johnny Sauter has been rewriting the history books all season long during his momentous rookie campaign in the ASA ACDelco Series. And with his eighth win of the 2001 season on August 26 at Jennerstown Speedway, the rookie is set to chase yet another record. The 23-year-old Sauter needs only one more win to tie the record of wins in one season, nine, held by veteran drivers Bob Senneker and Butch Miller.
Sauter has impressed many and turned a lot of heads during his rookie year driving for Alec Pinsonneault. Despite making 15 starts over a two-year span prior to 2001, Sauter has held off both rookie and veteran contenders alike, in search of the ASA National Championship. Winning the championship would give Sauter yet another place in the ASA history books, as he would become the first driver in ASA history to ever win both the ASA National Championship and Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year Award in the same year. Two drivers, Mark Martin and Kevin Cywinski, have won the championship following their rookie titles.
Sauter has made all 16 starts in 2001, capturing eight wins and three poles. His first win came in April at Hawkeye Downs Speedway, where he became the fourth member of the Sauter family to win an ASA event, joining father Jim and brothers Tim and Jay. He followed that first win up at Concord Motorsport Park with win number two, going on to win the next five races on the schedule. The five-consecutive wins are also an all-time record for ASA competition.
Sauter's season performance is hands-down the greatest performance by a rookie in ASA's 34-year history. His eight wins, three poles, 11 podium finishes, 12 top fives and 1,483 laps led (33.2 percent of the total laps run in 2001) are all rookie records. His $199,170 in earnings is only $9,230 behind the rookie record, held my Steve Carlson. The highest a rookie has ever finished in the points is third, done by Scott Hansen in 1989 and Cywinski in 1996.
ASA's all-time career victories leader, Bob Senneker, was the first driver to win nine races in one season, coming during the 1984 season. Senneker, who was the ASA National Champion in 1990, won nine races in 19 starts that season, garnering 13 top-five finishes and 15 top 10s. He finished the year, driving the number 84 Elk Custom Vans Firebird, second in the season standings (behind Dick Trickle) and with only two DNFs. He failed to record a pole position and led a total of 758 laps.
Miller's nine wins came during his 1987 National Championship campaign, one of three championships he would collect. His season was probably one of the greatest on record in ASA competition, as Miller won nine of the 15 races run that year. The driver of the number 52 Lane Automotive Chevrolet also collected seven pole positions and led over 1,800 laps. Every race he finished that year was a top-five run, as he recorded 13 top fives and only two DNFs.
Sauter has four races remaining in the 2001 ASA ACDelco Series season to try to tie and/or break the mark held my both Senneker and Miller. His first chance will come close to home, as the series will visit the Minnesota State Fair Speedway this coming weekend for the Miller Lite 300.
Events for the Miller Lite 300 begin on Monday, September 3, with practice beginning at 8:30 a.m. Qualifications for those not in the show will begin at 11 a.m. with pre-race ceremonies beginning at 1:20 p.m. and the Miller Lite 300 is set to take the green at 2.