After a disappointing 2012, Johnny Sauter and his ThorSport Racing team had one thing to build on. Well, actually two things. Those being his two race sweep of the races held at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Naturally, Texas is a favorite track of his and site of tonight’s race.
“I love coming here. This has been a great race track for us. ThorSport as an organization as a whole, the first time I ever came here with them we sat on the pole. Last year, sweeping both races. I joke about this all the time, I don’t know if I’m more excited to come here and get on the race track or I am to go to downtown Dallas and eat my grandma’s chicken and dumplings. It’s just good — it’s just a good race track. We seem to always have speed here and I’ll be quite honest with you, today’s pole run was a shock to me. I just didn’t think, you know — our truck was pretty comfortable in race trim, but I just didn’t know we had the speed in qualifying trim because we elected not to make a mock qualifying run in practice today, just didn’t think it was necessary I guess. We were really focused on trying to make it race well. Proud of everybody on the Carolina Nut Curb Records Toyota — the guys did a great job and this is a shot in the arm for sure,” Sauter told media members Thursday from the track.
Texas fits Sauter’s style of driving, which has translated into his success.
“This is a race track where as you see the asphalt is getting a little bit of age on it and I think as a driver we all like that. The race track has a lot of character. You hear people talk a lot about the bumps in (turns) one and two by the tunnel, it kind of throws you for a curve ball. The trucks are real tricky because we go through the center of the corner so fast, especially qualifying — the qualifying lap is essentially wide open and as you get into the race, you saw today, our race speeds slowed down almost a second-and-a-half. There’s just a huge variation of the way you have to drive. You’re wide open for the beginning of a run and by lap 20, you’re like, ‘This thing has lost a lot of grip.’ Just a lot of give and take here and ultimately the guy with the most grip typically has a good shot of winning here. I think we have that in our Toyota Tundras,” commented Sauter.
The qualities of Texas seem to lend itself to repeat winners. Sauter believes it is note about drivers than the track.
” I think a lot of it comes down to, if you like a race track. For whatever reason, I’ve always liked Texas. We hear people talk all the time about cookie cutter race tracks or whatever, but from where I sit, from the driver’s seat, they might look a lot alike, but they all drive completely different and they require totally different setups. From day one, we came here and we’ve always had a really good baseline. You mentioned we won here last year both races and we had kind of two different setups and we’re here again today with kind of a different setup. You constantly have to be changing things and evolving and working on setups and things like that. I really think a driver’s mentality going into a weekend has a lot to do with the success they have. Who knows — anybody can win any given race, that’s the way I always look at it, so you just have to put your best effort forth,” Sauter explained.
Sauter will look to pull off the triple in tonight’s WinStar World Casino 400 starting from the pole position.