The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader, Johnny Sauter, battled back from an early right rear flat tire to power home in the fourth position at Iowa Speedway's Coca-Cola 200 Presented by Hy-Vee. His fourth top five finish of the 2011 season and second since running second four races ago, the redemption was well-earned in the No. 13 Safe Auto/Karl Chevrolet.
"Coming into Iowa, we had some tough circumstances in previous races at Texas and Kentucky. We've been beating and banging for wins every week - every week with the truck to win. So it was one of those things that we all just wanted to prove we're still in the running here and get a solid finish. My guys worked really hard in practice - we weren't where we wanted to be, and Joe and the boys kept coming back fighting on that truck. So after qualifying, we knew we were going to fight out these 200 laps."
Starting on the grid in sixth position, Sauter quickly gained momentum to third position by the second caution of the race at lap 15. He went on to lead eight laps from lap 22 to 29, then settle in to second position. The driver had consistent radio communication of being loose in, with little to no power off and grip woes. After a fast pit cycle under caution at lap 63 with air pressure adjustments, tires and fuel to free it up after becoming tight off, Sauter and crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. were dialing in grip and balance.
Under caution at lap 75, Sauter radioed the crew that a right rear tire was going down. A quick pit to fix originally showed no damage, but after later inspection by NASCAR officials and Goodyear, a slow leak was detected. Restarting in 20th position, Sauter and Shear, Jr, along with spotter David Pepper, went to work on pulling down positions - going from 20th to eighth in just eight laps.
He went on to restart sixth after a red flag delayed competition for over twenty minutes, then re-commence battle for fourth with Joey Coulter - holding the 22 off until the checkered flag as teammate Matt Crafton took his second career win.
"I'm really proud of Matt tonight, he earned this win. ThorSport Racing just moved all its racing operations this week into the new shop, and the guys are all working overtime. To come out here and get a win and a top five finish after a really long week in the shop, that's pretty amazing. We had more in us on the No. 13 Safe Auto/Karl Chevrolet team tonight, but we'll take a top five after all that happened to us in this race. It's a solid finish, and we'll build on that into Nashville."
Sauter leaves Iowa as the continuing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader, 22 points ahead of Austin Dillon.