Sauter Signs Multi-Year Extension
November 14, 2013 | 7:01 A.M. EST
In 2013, Sauter won the first two races of the season at Daytona and Martinsville. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
In 2013 Sauter won the first two races of the season, at Daytona and Martinsville, and led the championship after the first three races before hitting a lull and falling as low as 10th, twice.
Sauter's rebounded via seven consecutive top-10 finishes to sit fourth in the standings going into Friday night's season finale Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida. In 2013 Sauter, who finished second in the 2011 Truck Series standings by only six points, leads all Truck Series regulars in wins (three), is tied for the most top-five finishes (nine) and is tied for second-most top 10s (14) in 21 races.
"Johnny Sauter has been an important part of the success of ThorSport for the last five years," Duke Thorson said. "With Matt Crafton's Truck Series championship, Frank Kimmel's ARCA title and getting Johnny re-signed we have a lot to look forward to in 2014."
At Homestead Friday night, ThorSport will field three trucks for the first time since Iowa Speedway in July. The same three drivers that appeared in ThorSport's Toyotas in Iowa will race Friday night.
Crafton, who will clinch the 2013 Truck Series drivers' championship by taking the green flag at Homestead, Kimmel and Sauter -- who'll debut ThorSport's latest sponsorship program Friday night with Nextant Aerospace and Curb Records on his black, white and gold No. 98 Tundra -- will be on-track teammates for the second time this season.
In 2014 Sauter will split time with a variety of color schemes on his No. 98 Tundras representing Nextant Aerospace / Curb Records and Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records.
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to extend my time with ThorSport Racing," Sauter said. "It's a great organization and it's been a perfect fit for me... And with Nextant Aerospace joining our program -- and looking ahead to two years of racing for wins and championships with them, Carolina Nut and Curb Records -- needless to say the sky's the limit.
"We've had competitive trucks all season and if not for that bit of turmoil we had in the middle of the season there's no reason we wouldn't be in a position to be racing Matt for this 2013 championship."
In 129 career Truck Series starts Sauter has nine wins, including short tracks as well as intermediate and long superspeedways, five pole positions, 48 top-five finishes and 70 top-10 finishes, giving him a 54-percent ratio of top 10s in all his starts. In addition, Sauter has an organization-high 1,003 laps led in the series.
"I'm looking forward to running for race wins and a championship in 2014 and beyond," Sauter said. "The guys give me great trucks week in and week out and I see nothing but great things in our future."
Nextant, based just down the Ohio Turnpike from ThorSport in Cleveland, Ohio, is equally enthused.
"In business and racing teamwork is everything and we're positive that we've chosen the winning team for our entree to motorsports, with Johnny and ThorSport Racing," said Jay Heublein, Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing for Nextant Aerospace. "Nextant couldn't be more excited to see the No. 98 truck running with our new design this weekend at Homestead and we can't wait for Daytona and the 2014 season opener next February."
Sauter, who has 414 career starts across all three NASCAR national tours, is one of a select group of drivers that has multiple wins and poles in both the NASCAR Truck and Nationwide Series. Sauter is the defending champion of the Truck Series' Daytona opener.