NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES * O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 250 * KANSAS SPEEDWAY
Defending Champion Powers to 2nd Place
Regains NCWTS Point Lead
Kansas City, Kansas – June 5, 2011 – Johnny Sauter, defending Kansas Speedway winner and driver of the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records/Carrier Chevrolet Silverado, held off Todd Bodine in a late lap battle for second place behind winner Clint Boyer at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. Sauter, who started third Saturday, also won the Exide Start Positive, Stay Positive Award and the Mobil Driver of the Race Award. The finish moves him up one spot to regain the lead in the 2011 NCWTS point standings – a place he held earlier this year.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our effort,” said Sauter, who took a 12-point overall points lead over Cole Whitt. “There’s a little added pressure coming in here as the defending race winner. Everybody wants to talk to you about that, but we’re racing everybody out there every race. Joe Shear, Jr and my guys are a big part of the success here, and that effort helped get us to that second place finish.” Last year’s win at Kansas gave Sauter the momentum to catapult into a winning stretch. He vaulted into the top 10 in points, posted 12 top-fives in the next 20 races, including five second-place and four third-place finishes; and ended the year third in overall driver points at banquet time. Sauter isn’t concerned about championship points just yet.
“The championship, right now, is something that is important but not something to pay a lot of attention to – going into Texas,” he continued. “It’s way too early in my opinion, but it’s still an accomplishment and I’m honored. I don’t think you can really focus on winning a championship, especially this year with as much competition as we have, until there are five, six, seven races left. It’s not going to be like years past when you just go be consistent down the stretch and finish 10th…we’ve got to race every race to the end. We gave it everything today.”
Sauter led 11 laps in the race and stayed within the top five positions under most green flag conditions. A debris caution on lap 98 was a godsend for both Sauter and leader Bowyer, who hadn’t been to the pit for fuel and tires since laps 50 and 59 respectively. Crew chief Shear executed smart pit strategy throughout, giving Sauter the advantage at the end of the race.
O’Reilly Auto Parts 250
Sauter has one win under his belt this season, at Martinsville, making him the only non-Sprint Cup driver to win in the Truck Series. While he’s content with the overall finish, he looks forward to racing winner Bowyer again. “Halfway through the race, I figured out he was just playing with us,” he said. “Toward the end, I started to reel him in, and I was like, ‘maybe this can happen.’ This is a humbling sport. You have to keep working on your program, take what you can get and go to the next one. I’m proud of my guys and what we put out there. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, this speaks volumes about the program that Duke and Rhonda Thorson run at ThorSport Racing.”
Next Race 15th Annual Winstar Casino World Casino 400k Texas Motor Speedway – Friday, June 10th – 9pmET