Success Builds Confidence for Truck Series' Sauter
In three short days, Johnny Sauter had two big reasons to celebrate.
The first came April 2 when he rallied past the always-stout Kyle Busch to win the Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
Sauter's second – and even bigger – reason to rejoice followed on April 4 when the ThorSport Racing driver and his wife, Cortney, welcomed their second child, daughter Paige, into the world.
Somewhat lost in all the excitement was that Sauter also became the truck series points leader with his win at Martinsville, a track where he'd finished no better than 15th in six previous starts.
Sauter holds a five-point edge in the standings over ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton entering Friday's Bully Hill Vineyards 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.
More happy days could be on the horizon for Sauter as the trucks prepare to race for the first time since his Martinsville victory and the birth of his daughter.
Sauter and the No. 13 ThorSport team clearly have their act together as the series prepares for race No. 5 of the 2011 campaign.
"I definitely think you carry momentum. I'm starting to see the fruits of all the guys' labor over the offseason," Sauter said. "I mean, there were a lot of nights they worked burning the midnight oil, just trying to get to where we were at.
"I definitely see us being able to go to Nashville, go in there and give our Safe Auto/Curb Records Chevy a run."
Sauter historically has had no problem navigating the 1.333-mile concrete oval. His three previous truck series starts at Nashville have produced finishes of fifth, sixth and 11th.
Not that Sauter needs to race at Nashville to be a contender. The Wisconsin native has been on top of his game all season – opening with three top 10s in four starts. His Martinsville victory was his most impressive outing yet as he started from the pole, led 71 laps and perfectly executed the winning pass of Busch with two laps to go.
Sauter and his team continue to build on their first two seasons together, which produced a win in 2009 and 2010 along with points finishes of sixth and third, respectively.
Sauter has a shot at being No. 1 when the curtain falls on this season in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"I've just got a lot more confidence going to the race track because I feel like we're doing a lot of things right and we can win races," he said. "We've proven it. We've won three in the last three seasons but to the point of the points deal, it's just way too early to be worried about that. We just need to go to the racetrack and do the best job we can."
Sauter's best has been plenty good so far.