Johnny Sauter captured the pole for tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series “UNOH 225” at Kentucky Speedway with a 174.109 mph (31.015 seconds) lap in his No. 13 Safe Auto/ Curb Records ride.
The Necedah, Wis., native grabs his first career Kentucky Speedway pole, his second this season and the fourth of his career. He will share tonight’s front row with last season’s NCWTS Kentucky pole award winner Austin Dillon, who turned his best qualifying lap at 173.410 mph (31.140 seconds) in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/NRA ride.
“That’s big. I think my brother Jay won the first pole here for the Nationwide series years ago (2001),” Sauter said. “That’s obviously a cool number one. It’s not about the driver; it’s about the team. They’re working hard and it’s showing.”
Sauter, who finished second in last year’s 225-mile Kentucky truck tilt credited his pole-winning effort to his team’s solid work in the garages following the series three practice sessions.
“This racetrack has characteristics of being bumpy and rough and that puts it into the hands of chassis set-up. I feel like I have the best crew chief on pit road. He understands grip and those kinds of things in racetracks like this. It makes my job much easier. To have compliance over the bumps and understanding the tire, I feel like I have the best in the business at doing that,” Sauter said.
His qualifying success came during a steamy mid-summer afternoon and said the next challenge for his crew will be adjusting to the Kentucky Speedway track surface as it cools tonight.
“The track is definitely going to cool off, it’s supposed to be 70 to 75 tonight, and it will definitely grip up. From past experiences here, it’s almost an anomaly because the track gets looser; it gets more free at night.
“Having that in our memory banks from last year, we just try to tweak the chassis for the start of the race to be a little bit on the tight side. Last year, we were really tight here and sat on the outside of the pole. We led the first 40 laps, but just consistently got looser through the race. I think we know what went wrong. We finished second last year and if we can work on that, we can win it,” Sauter said.
Nelson Piquet, Jr., will start third after turning his best qualifying lap at 173.244 mph (31.170 seconds) in his No. 8 Bozzano truck. Elliott Sadler will start tonight’s dust-up fourth after turning his best qualifying circuit at 173.188 mph (31.180 seconds).
The green flag waves for the “UNOH 225” at 8:00 p.m. Tonight’s event will be the 12th NCWTS event in track history and first on a Thursday night.
Tickets remain and can be purchased at the Kentucky Speedway gates.