The final lap of Talladega last weekend is where Johnny Sauter stole the trophy after getting a push from his Thorsport teammate Matt Crafton, that win has set the No. 98 team in good spirits for Saturday’s Kroger 200 at the “paperclip” of Martinsville Speedway.
Johnny and his Thorsport team also announced this week they’d be teaming with Cleveland-based Nextant Aerospace, the world leader in business aircraft remanufacturing for the 2014 and 2015 NCWTS season.
"I am excited to represent Nextant Aerospace, a company that understands our drive to a championship," Sauter said. "To have them join our organization as we continue to test our limits seems like the perfect arrangement. And most important, Nextant seems to have the same bold spirit as my driving - the will to win drives us every day."
Sauter and his team have even more reason to be smiling as they qualified 2nd with their Toyota.
“To be completely honest I didn’t think I had a shot of sitting on the pole, I knew our truck was decent but we really focused on long runs in practice” Sauter said after his qualifying run. “We didn’t put a lot of emphasis on qualifying so when we ran that lap I knew it was going to be pretty good.
Sauter lost the pole by 2-one thousandths of a second to Denny Hamlin who captured the pole for both the NCWTS (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) and the NSCS (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series). Johnny has taken gold in Daytona, Talladega and at Martinsville Speedway this 2013 season. He’s looking to echo his performance from the spring this weekend.
Sauter also has set his Carolina Nut machine up for long runs which are pivotal for success at Martinsville.
“I’m hoping for some more front traction but the tires are wearing out for me more than in the past.” said Sauter in the media center. “This isn’t going to be your typical truck race where you pit once; we plan on pitting 2-times”
Tires are just one more thing the drivers will have to pay attention to while tackling this half-mile speedway. Never the less Johnny is ready to be a contender to sweep Martinsville in 2013 and go back-to-back in the NCWTS, although Sauter’s biggest threat might not be the tires or Martinsville itself, it may be the man starting in front of him, Denny Hamlin.