Johnny Sauter, ThorSport Racing driver of the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records Chevy Silverado, powered to a seventh place finish at the Nashville Bully Hill Vineyards 200 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). The finish marks his fourth top ten finish in as many races and secures his first place position in driver points in the NCWTS.
Johnny Sauter Nashville Recap
Sauter helped celebrate before the race with longtime friend and sponsor Mike Curb, whose 500th start with a NASCAR-affiliated team fell on the Truck race day with Sauter as the driver. Both commented in their pre-race press conference that it wasn't an accident - a deep mutual respect and appreciation for the sport led to their friendship, and it was fitting that Sauter could bring home a finish in Curb's hometown of Nashville with the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration on the lower truck panel (supported by Curb).
Starting on the grid in the ninth position, Sauter consistently showed horsepower - running faster laps than race leader (and eventual winner) Kyle Busch. Fighting loose in, tight off conditions all night in the corners, Sauter traded positions 10 and 11 much of the night with teammate Matt Crafton. Shining performances by the No. 13 pit crew in both stops helped keep the positions as Sauter worked to diagnose truck issues. Battling grip issues and noting he was "plowing off the corner, breathing hard to drive," the last 45 laps, Sauter held ground and gained a position in the last twenty laps to bring the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records Chevy home in seventh position.
"We fought balance issues all night," said Sauter. "Loose, tight, loose, tight. I know I say that a lot, but we really did. It was a pretty good debut for the new truck, and a major positive is that our pit crew was phenomenal. They have been practicing really hard and have absolutely gelled the last few races. Overall, we were average for what we usually run here at Nashville, and I know Joe (Shear, Jr, crew chief) is bothered too. We're going to get to the bottom of it because we're both perfectionists on these trucks, and we have a lot of respect for the other's opinion and expertise. Again, I'm so proud of our pit crew. I'm excited for Dover, and most people know I don't get excited. The No. 13 team at that track, this year, with all the momentum we have - it's going to be a great week there."