Thursday, Sep 28

Can Sauter get hotter?

With five races remaining in the 2013 season and 103 points behind leader Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter's chances at a championship this year are slim. That, however, shouldn't slow him down from trying to finish the season in the same fashion he started it and carry his late-season success over into 2014.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be in Talladega this weekend for Saturday's fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola (4 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1), the second restrictor-plate race of the year. Sauter, who currently ranks eighth in the standings, started the 2013 season off with a bang by winning the season-opening restrictor-plate race at Daytona and then following that up with a win at Martinsville in the second race of the year. At Daytona, he held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch. He followed those victories up with fourth- and fifth-place finishes at Rockingham and Kansas. Since then, he's cooled down a bit.

After the fourth race he gave up his spot atop the standings to Crafton, who has held it since. Sauter finished outside the top 10 in seven of the next 10 events dropping him from second to 10th in points twice (after Michigan and once again after Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) before rebounding with three consecutive top-10 finishes in the last three races.

This weekend, he will be looking for another strong finish at the 2.66-mile Alabama track. In four series starts, he's never finished lower than 15th. His best finish came in this event last season where he finished second to first-time series winner Parker Kligerman. Sauter's first three trips there resulted in finishes of 14th, third and 15th.


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