Race 20 of 25
MAKING BLUEGRASS “HOT”: Returning to one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit for a second appearance in 2011- Kentucky Speedway, Johnny Sauter arrives in the Bluegrass state on a hot streak. Sitting third in driver championship points in the Camping World Truck Series, he has been in the top three for 16 of 18 weeks. Sauter has made three appearances in NCWTS at Kentucky, in 2009, 2010 and earlier this year- with his best start at pole position in June and finish at second in 2010. His intermediate track dominance bodes well for the last six races of the season – with six to go, four are tracks where he’s either won, poled or started in the top three (Las Vegas, Kentucky, Texas and Miami). In addition, he’s won at famed Martinsville – returning in late October.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING: Team 13 looks to keep consistent top five finishes in the last six races of the 2011 season as the hunt for a championship continues. Chicagoland and New Hampshire delivered sixth- and fifth-place finishes, respectively – keeping him solidly in third position in driver championship points – just seven behind leader Austin Dillon.
BUILT LIKE FORT KNOX: Sauter and the 13 team will host Honorary Pit Crew members from nearby Fort Knox over the Kentucky 225 weekend.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 13 team will utilize chassis No. 038 this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. A proven intermediate chassis for the team, it brought a pole and win Kentucky earlier this year. It’s last appearance was in Pocono, where Sauter finished fourth.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Sauter drove the No. 13 home to an inspiring fifth place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after battling a tight, tight truck all night. Smart pit strategy and sound on-track decisions delivered the truck in one piece as other championship contenders fell to the back of the pack. His finish kept him third in overall driver championship points, a mere seven behind leader Austin Dillon going into a strong track for Sauter at Kentucky.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Johnny Sauter
How important are the last six races in the 2011 season?
“It’s everything! Judging from what I’ve seen and how the 2011 season has gone so far, we’re not going to know the Truck Series champion until the checkered flag falls at Homestead. Consistency in these final six races will win it, and cooler heads should prevail. That’s what we’re shooting for, and we don’t freak out under pressure. We’ve been here before.”
No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb/Carrier Chevy
Are there any tracks with concerns or that you feel you have an advantage, like Kentucky?
“Going off the first half of the race season’s statistics, we dominated Kentucky, Martinsville and Texas. We also had the truck to beat in Miami last year and won Vegas in 2009, so those are five top spots for me. We took the pole earlier here in Kentucky, and then we broke an axle while leading the race. So I’d like to have a second chance at that win.”
Why is the “chase” for the NCWTS championship title so difficult this year?
“The new points system is a big part of why it’s so difficult – in any given race, you can gain or fall five spots. We endured a lot of bad luck at the midpoint of the season, from broken axles when we’re leading the race to penalties at Texas. We led so many races – Texas, Indy, Kentucky with nothing to show for at the end of the day, and that’s racing. It was frustrating to say the least, but we kept momentum going. It definitely makes the points race exciting for the fans.”
Safe Auto/Curb/Carrier Chevrolet Silverado
Saturday, October 1st, 2011
150 laps/225 Miles
TV: SPEED will broadcast live at 7:30pm EST
Radio: MRN & Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will broadcast live at 8:00pm EST
Current Point Standings: 3rd (-7)
Crew Chief: Joe Shear, Jr.
Engine: Earnhardt-Childress Racing (ECR)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series results at Kentucky Speedway:
Top 5: 1
Average Start: 5 (best p1)
Average Finish: 15 (best p2)