Sauter Ready For Return To Cup

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Johnny Sauter is ready to make his return to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing full time.

This time around, Sauter will do it with the same team he finished eighth with in the Busch Series standings in 2006. He will be teaming at Haas CNC Racing with Jeff Green, who currently drives the No. 66 Best Buy machine.

“I’m excited,” Sauter said. "To be able to come back and have our team as strong as it is with our affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports is a great opportunity. I have a lot of faith in 'Bootie' Barker (crew chief) and I'm moving up with a lot of my Busch guys so that's a lot of comfort for me."

In preparation for the 2007 season, Sauter and the Haas team will head to North Carolina Speedway on Monday and Tuesday to test.

“We are going to screw around with some data to find some things out,” he said. “I had the chance to run a couple Cup races this year and a couple tests so I’m pretty confident in our Cup stuff right now.”

Back in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, Sauter qualified easily on time - securing the 14th position - in his only start with the No. 70 team on the season. However, he did fail to qualify for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in August.

“The toughest part will be the first five races trying to make it with no points, but the team is putting in some overtime to make sure that we are geared up,” Sauter said.

Sponsorship for the No. 70 is in the works, with a possibility of Sauter’s current Busch Series sponsor, Yellow Transportation, coming aboard. He also plans to run a number of Busch races in 2007.

“Yellow has been a great sponsor for me the last two seasons in Busch and to have the chance to work with them next year would be awesome,” he said.

In 32 Cup races, among four teams, Sauter captured one top-10 finish (ninth) with James Finch at Phoenix in 2003.

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