Johnny Sauter's been down this road before -- leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings early in the season -- so he knows exactly what he needs to do with his No. 98 Nextant Aerospace / Curb Records Toyota Tundra in Friday night's SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway.
"That's easy -- winning takes care of just about everything," Sauter said. "This season's starting out a little bit different than last -- we're tied for the point lead instead of being out there all alone -- but our two races this season have proven my ThorSport team hasn't forgotten how to run up front."
Sauter, whose ThorSport Racing team has finished third and fourth at Daytona and Martinsville, respectively -- a pair of races he won last season, is currently tied with Timothy Peters atop the standings. With teammate, and defending Kansas race and NCWTS drivers' championship winner Matt Crafton lurking in third, just four points back, the team based in Sandusky, Ohio, has a good chance to continue its front-runner's role.
"We got our Nextant Tundra working pretty well when we tested at Charlotte a couple weeks ago," Sauter said of a recent test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in which all three ThorSport Tundras participated. "Kansas, obviously is not that racetrack and really, since they just repaved it two years ago it actually races quite a bit different.
"You throw in the fact that this is a night race -- and we've never raced trucks at Kansas at night -- and who knows what we're gonna get? I'll tell you one thing -- it'll be fast, and I don't mind that one bit."
Five of Sauter's nine career Truck Series victories have come on 1.5-mile speedways -- including Kansas in 2010, his second win for ThorSport -- so he has good reason to be optimistic about his chances Friday.
This is the first of 14 Kansas truck races to be held under the lights. In his five Kansas truck starts, Sauter has four top-nine finishes.
"We had to work to get our truck going last year and in the race, Matt ended up having everyone covered," Sauter said. "This time around we're practicing Thursday afternoon and racing Friday night, so that will be a challenge to get your truck working as good as it's going to need to be.
"Qualifying will probably be a wide-open lap -- at least in the first session if we're finally able to get knockout qualifying in this weekend. That'll be interesting, for sure."