Flat tire deflates Sauter's chances for a solid finish at Eldora
Showing speed in both NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) practice sessions on Wednesday morning, Sauter made contact with the Turn 3 wall late in the second practice session, causing damage to the left rear of his No. 98 Toyota Tundra. At a track known for slipping and sliding, the repairs to his Tundra proved to be worthy of a second-place result in qualifying and a third-place finish in the second qualifying race, and ultimately a seventh-place starting position for the feature event.
Running as high as second, and as low as 30th, Sauter maintained an Average Running Position of 16.8 throughout the 154-lap event. Crew chief Doug George brought the No. 98 machine to pit road during the first competition caution at lap 55 for four tires and fuel, including a wedge adjustment, to aid in a loose Toyota Tundra. Unfortunately, the Necedah, Wisc. driver would lose track position on the lap 60 restart and fall back to the 18th position.
Complaining of "no forward bite," Sauter also suffered from damage on the right front nose of the No. 98 machine following contact with the No. 51. The chain of events ultimately caused a flat right front tire, forcing Sauter down pit road before it was open, at lap 95, for four tires and fuel. NASCAR also penalized the No. 98 team a lap for fueling the truck before the second competition caution. When racing resumed on lap 99, Sauter was scored in the 29th position, two laps down to the race leaders.
In the final 51 laps, the NCWTS veteran driver would gain seven positions on-track and be awarded one of his two laps back by earning the "Lucky Dog" award. Sauter would ultimately cross the stripe in the 22nd position, one lap down to race winner, Christopher Bell.
"I thought we had a pretty decent Nextant Aerospace/Curb Records Toyota Tundra tonight. I got into the wall late in practice, but it didn't seem to upset the truck too much. We were fortunate to have a good draw for qualifying position and ended up with a decent starting spot. The track was just dry slick at the start of the race, and I was just loose. We got behind on a restart, had a flat right rear tire, then some trouble in the pits, which put us even further behind. We ended up losing a couple laps, but worked hard on getting them back. We were just mired in the back and never fully recovered."
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