Sauter Is Rookie Champion
September 30, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Sauter dominated the tiretrack.com 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, his victory making him the only rookie driver in ASA history with win ten races in a season. The 23-year-old Wisconsin native also became the first rookie champion in ASA history.
“I have no idea what this means yet, I probably won’t until December. It is unbelievable,” Sauter said. “To win the last race, rookie of the year and championship on the same night is awesome. A year ago I was watching this race from the infield. My life has been a complete whirlwind this year.”
Making the win even more memorable was the fact Sauter’s closest competitor was his older brother Tim. This was Tim Sauter’s first time in an ASA race since leaving the series full-time at the end of last season.
“We came here to help out as much as we could,” Tim Sauter, who is one of four different Sauter’s to have collected wins in ASA competition, said. “It feels really good to be back running and doing well. I really got kicked around there in the Busch Series earlier this year. This is a storybook ending on the evening. Jay (oldest brother) really helped me out, and now it is my turn to help Johnny out. I think we did pretty good.
Joey Clanton finished third in Saturday’s event with Butch Miller, and Kevin Cywinski rounding out the Top 5.
Defending ASA champion Gary St. Amant, who technically could have caught Sauter in the points chase had Johnny finished low in the order, had an unimpressive evening, finishing eighth.
Pole-sitter Mike Eddy had a rough evening after a controversial incident on lap four with Johnny Sauter. The duo was racing for position when they came together coming off of turn four. Eddy spun to the inside and made contact with the pit road wall.
Sauter led St. Amant by 155 points in the final championship standings with Clanton Miller and Cywinski rounding out the Top 5.
Sauter has already been tagged by NASCAR owner Richard Childress (for his Busch team) in 2002. During his brief stay in the ASA Sauter collected 10 wins, four poles, 13 podium finishes, 14 top-fives and 16 top-tens.