Sauter settles for fourth in the Irish Hills of Michigan
Making his seventh career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace Toyota Tundra turned a ninth-place qualifying effort into a fourth-place finish in Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200. The solid run marked the defending race winner's second top-five finish at the two-mile D-shaped oval, and the fifth of the 2015 NCWTS season.
Starting ninth, Sauter ran as high as first, and as low as 16th, but maintained an average running position of 5.6through the 100-lap event. Crew chief Doug George brought the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace Toyota Tundra to pit road twice at laps 26 and 68, respectively for four tires and fuel, including a chassis adjustment to aid in a loose-handling Toyota Tundra.
The ThorSport Racing driver took the lead at lap 45, and led the field for 24 laps, before coming down pit road for his final stop of the day. Unfortunately, a right front shock would cause problems during the final pit stop, forcing Sauter to lose valuable track position. The Necedah, Wisc. native would rebound from as far back as eighth in the final 30 laps to finish fourth behind race winner, Kyle Busch.
Sauter's solid run allowed him to maintain the fourth position in the 2015 NCWTS driver point standings. The NCWTS veteran is currently 53 points behind leader, Tyler Reddick.
"We had a great Nextant Toyota Tundra today, and I have to thank everyone at ThorSport Racing for that. I think we started ninth and drove to the front, then came out of the pits behind, and drove right back to the lead. We just ran wide open the whole time. We decided to take four (tires) because we had the lead, and then for whatever reason, we had trouble getting the right front tire off during that last pit stop because of the shock. I thought we had the best truck. I thought we could have raced with Kyle (Busch), but those restarts were just a little crazy. I wasn't very strong on restarts. I needed a couple laps to get separation, and then I could pick them off one at a time. All in all, a good day for us. Not exactly what we wanted, because we've been having kind of a bad year, but a top-five is decent."
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