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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Ford 200

Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Ford 200

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Ford 200

Johnny Sauter
Joe Shear, Jr.
November 18, 2011


THE MODERATOR: Coming up now is our race winner of tonight's 17th annual Ford 200, and that is Johnny Sauter. He's joined with crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. Congratulations, Johnny, great effort by you there this evening, the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records Chevrolet, and this was your fourth win in series history, your second win of the season, and what a valiant effort tonight, cut that lead down to six points, got a nice trophy there. Just talk about the win here this evening. I know you left nothing on the table.
JOHNNY SAUTER: Yeah, what an eventful day. This place here during the daytime typically doesn't -- your truck doesn't handle very well, and last year same deal, and I knew the racetrack was going to come to us, or at least I thought it was, and sure enough, it did. Joe made a great change on that first pit stop and that thing came to life.
Phenomenal year. I've always wanted to have two wins in the NASCAR series in the same year, and to some people that probably doesn't mean much. I've been fortunate to win some Nationwide races and some Truck races but never two in a year, so that was a huge accomplishment.
To come out of here six points back is kind of a bummer with some of the problems we had or whatever throughout the course of the year, but I couldn't be more proud of Joe and everybody at ThorSport, Duke and Rhonda Thorson. This is essentially the race that I consider you thank everybody, and Safe Auto Insurance, Curb Records. Mike Curb has been a huge supporter, Mud Jugs, UCoat It, Carrier Heating and Cooling, Chevrolet, ECR Engines, Goodyear Tires, everybody that helps get this deal to the racetrack. It's a pleasure to drive this truck.
I was really concerned in the middle part of the summer, we got off track a little bit. But tonight we got it all back, and it's awesome to be sitting up here with Joe, my best friend, and to win two races and know that we get to come back next year and run for a championship, that's awesome.
THE MODERATOR: Crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., talk about the effort out there tonight by the No. 13 truck.
JOE SHEAR, JR.: Just like Johnny said, we came here knowing we had to do what we did tonight. We had to dominate. We had to lead the most laps. And I can't thank my guys -- my guys worked hard all year, and it showed tonight. We had awesome pit stops. You know, we chased the track and everything and we made some adjustments, and we worked very hard to get where we were. It's just awesome to be here. Really, I'm kind of lost for words.
Working as hard as we do, and we're working on it, and I think we're pretty strong, and I can't wait until next year.

Q. For both you guys, with what Duke and Rhonda's organization has done this year, looking ahead and moving ahead, would you guys consider yourselves the championship favorite for next year, and why would that be?
JOHNNY SAUTER: Well, first of all, I don't think it's any secret Duke and Rhonda's commitment to not only NASCAR but to the Camping World Truck Series, 16 seasons full-time. There's not a lot of people that can say that, whether they were sponsored or unsponsored. I know Duke and Rhonda spend a lot of their own money to make sure I get to the racetrack every weekend. I couldn't appreciate that more first and foremost.
Built a brand new 100,000 square foot shop, we moved into it in August up in Sandusky, Ohio, which is an anomaly in this business, being outside the Charlotte hub, so to speak. I think it's a huge accomplishment, but I also know what I have for a team, and those guys work hard, and I guarantee you they work harder than anybody in the garage, and I guarantee you that we are a championship team. Even though we're not champions right now, we are a championship team, and I do believe we're the favorites for next year.

Q. Johnny, on that last restart, were you aware of how far back Austin had fallen, and if so, was your heart in your throat a little bit at that point? And also talk about what it means to you to come out here tonight and do everything you possibly could, win the race and lead the most laps?
JOHNNY SAUTER: To be honest with you, when we were leading there before that last pit stop that we made, I was just trying to conserve fuel because we thought there was an opportunity that it was going to go green to the end, and they were saying conserve, so I slowed down about three or four tenths of a lap, and I saw the 3 truck coming, and at that point I knew that when the caution came out it was going to be a phenomenal pit stop, and we had a phenomenal pit stop. They've been doing it all year. You know, that last restart, I had nothing to lose, and I said we're either going to go down here and he's going to get a good restart or we're going to wreck or whatever is going to happen, but I had no clue. Not one time on the radio tonight did they tell me where the 3 truck was.
Really if you want to get down to it, it didn't really matter where he was running. We knew what we had to do and that was lead the most laps to win the race. It's a huge accomplishment to come out of here doing what we needed to do essentially, and six points is a bummer. You can think back on the season and dominating Kentucky, broken axle, 20 to go, leading the race; ORP, leading the race, flat tire, ground sway bar off; just the lane violation at Texas, that's 22 points; six points at Pocono. You can go down the list, but everybody can.
That's just racing, and I'm just proud to be second in points. I'm proud to finish the season with a win, and I do want to congratulate Austin and everybody at RCR. What a phenomenal year, and they'll be good champions.

Q. Did Austin do anything this year that surprised you or impressed you, especially down the stretch as he kind of held onto that points lead?
JOHNNY SAUTER: Yeah, to be honest with you, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it. The thing he did was kept his trucks in one piece. For a younger guy with the pressure of leading the points or whatever, I'd say that's probably one thing that sticks out to me. A lot of guys probably can't do at that age in their career. I think that's probably the one thing that sticks out to me.
THE MODERATOR: Johnny, class act here tonight by the 13 truck, 13 team. Way to go out as a winner this season. Gives you something to feel good about during the off season and come back even stronger in 2012. Congratulations on a very fine season.

Q. At what point did you know the rain was going to be an issue?
JOHNNY SAUTER: I had no clue until there was rain on the windshield. That's the only time I knew. We went down into turn 3 there, the lap before, and it started to sprinkle pretty hard, and I came on the radio and I probably was yelling so loud that they probably didn't even understand what I was saying, and I said, "it's raining, it's raining," and we went down into turn 3 and it was pouring by the time I got to the back stretch, and I knew this was no good.
So I just knew that Denny was running the high line, so I knew that I needed to run the high line, but I got really loose getting down in there and just washed up the racetrack. It's a good thing he's as good of a driver as he is, or that could have been ugly.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks again, Johnny, thanks again, Joe. Appreciate you all coming in.

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