Sauter Hopes For First, Not Last for His ‘Talladega Night’

Race 22 of 25

Johnny Sauter “IF YA AIN’T FIRST, YOU’RE LAST”: One of two superspeedways on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series circuit, Johnny Sauter arrives in Talladega, Alabama with a focused fire. Sitting second in driver championship points in the NCWTS, he continues in the top three for the nineteenth race week of the season. Sauter has made two appearances in NCWTS at Talladega, in 2009 and 2010 – with his best start in eighth position in 2010 and finish in third that same appearance. Sauter, like many other drivers, either loves or “hates” the superspeedways due to their high level of chance and luck to remain damage-free from “the big one.” He looks to make his first appearance in Victory Lane ever at a superspeedway and to continue his hot streak in the NCWTS.

PAYING TRIBUTE TO A CURB RECORDS TEAMMATE: The 13 team will pay homage to Curb Records teammate in the Izod IndyCar Series, Dan Wheldon, who tragically passed away during the last race of the season in Las Vegas. Team thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends at this time.

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NOT JUST BROWNIE POINTS ANYMORE:Sauter has led the championship points for ten weeks this season, but he largely relishes his “underdog” status in the second spot. Five points out with four races to go, the 13 and its veteran driver know that cooler heads will prevail and strategy plays out in a superspeedway race. Look to find Sauter partnering in the two-car tandem with teammate and points pro Matt Crafton for potential success at Talladega.

CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 13 team will utilize chassis No. 025 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. A proven superspeedway chassis for the team, it brought a successful podium finish at Talladega last year. Its last appearance was in Daytona at the beginning of the season, where Sauter finished seventeenth after a rough ride and historical set of cautions and incidents left him in the back of the pack.

PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Sauter drove the No. 13 home to a solid fourth place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after starting in the same spot for the day. Not only did the successful appearance deliver another top five for the driver, it also earned him the Exide Start Positive, Stay Positive award once again in 2011. He also left Las Vegas in the second place points position heading to Talladega.

THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Johnny Sauter Love to hate Talladega? Or do you enjoy it? “Talladega is a great type of racing – all racing is, but superspeedway racing is different. And Talladega really is different from Daytona. Unfortunately, there’s typically a 60% chance you are going to wreck and that’s not fun. So it’s gotten a bad rap over time, and I’ve certainly been a part of a few of those wrecks before in my day.”

At this point, in a close points battle – is this fun for you, or a job?  “Anybody that is having success in a job is usually having a good time. I’m definitely having a good time right now, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m doing what I love to do, which is race. I can get pretty intense, but at the end of the day, if you’re not having fun, you’re making everyone else around you miserable.”

How does it feel to see the championship in the crosshairs? Do you have a strategy at this point?    “Joe and I never talk or have strategy – for as strange as that sounds. We grew up racers, and our mentality is to win or at least try to every week. The rest just takes care of itself when you do that. So for the next four races, we’re still about winning. The championship part just takes care of itself.” Safe Auto/Curb/Carrier Chevrolet Silverado

Race Info: Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 Talladega Superspeedway 2.66-Mile Tri-Oval Coca-Cola 250 Presented by Fred’s 94 laps/250 Miles   Broadcast Info: TV: SPEED will broadcast live at 3:30pm EST Radio: MRN & Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will broadcast live at 3:00pm EST   Team Facts: Current Point Standings: 2nd (-5) Crew Chief: Joe Shear, Jr. Chassis: 025 Engine: Earnhardt-Childress Racing (ECR)   Johnny Sauter NASCAR Camping World Truck Series results at Talladega Superspeedway: Starts: 2 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Top 5: 1 Average Start: 12 (best p8)                              Average Finish: 10 (best p3)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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