After one-race detour can Sauter get back on track?

CONCORD, NC - MAY 17: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Chevrolet, sits in his truck prior to practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CONCORD, NC - MAY 17:  Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Chevrolet, sits in his truck prior to practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CONCORD, NC – MAY 17: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Chevrolet, sits in his truck prior to practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

In 2013, Johnny Sauter got off to as good a start as possible — winning the first two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Daytona and Martinsville.

He followed that up with fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the next two events at Rockingham and Kansas. However, an accident with James Buescher on lap 115 relegated him to a 28th-place finish and dropped him from first in the standings to sixth, 37 points behind leader Matt Crafton.

When the green flag drops on Friday’s Lucas Oil 200 (5 p.m. ET, SPEED) at Dover International Speedway, Sauter is hoping to return to the top of the points standings, or at least back in the championship conversation.

That, however, could be a tall order.

Although Sauter qualifies well at Dover — his lowest start in four visits to the one-mile concrete track is seventh — his luck doesn’t always carry over into the races. His average finish is 13.8, with only one top-five finish (fifth in 2009).

Sauter can’t put his finger on the exact reason why his stats aren’t better than they are. He’s run well throughout the races, but doesn’t have much to show for it by the end of the race.

“The numbers are just not indicative of how we run there, so all you can do is continue to put your best effort forward — and that’s what we do every week,” said the Wisconsin native. “It’s no different than a lot of race tracks, in that you have to be smart all day and take care of your stuff, but there are some race tracks where you can’t seem to do anything right, and I think a lot of that is luck.”

A strong showing Friday afternoon could put him right back on track to capture his first title.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.