Race Weekend Central

Beyond the Cockpit: Johnny Sauter On His Bucket List & Title Chances

RIDGEWAY, Va. – Johnny Sauter, like most of the other drivers in the Camping World Truck Series, spent most of Friday (Oct. 28) at Martinsville in their team’s easy-up tent, trying to stay out of the elements as rain pelted the track on and off the whole day. Frontstretch‘s Mike Neff caught up with Sauter as he waited out the rain for a few off the wall questions.

Mike Neff, Frontstretch: Hey brother, I understand you’re freezing. You’re from Wisconsin. How can you possibly be that cold when it is only in the 40s?

Johnny Sauter: Cold is cold. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Wisconsin or Alaska or from Florida, cold is cold. It’s not so much the temperature, it is the wind that gets you.

Neff: Y’all have had a pretty good run so far this year. Do you feel like you still have a shot at this championship or is it too far out of reach for you?

Sauter: I don’t think anything is out of reach. I think that absolutely we still have a chance, but I think we’re going to have to go out and lead the most laps and win a race in the last three to get back in the game and make a serious run at it. What better place than Martinsville, right?

Neff: Absolutely, now I know you’ve won here before but I don’t remember when. Did you win it before they started giving out clocks to the Truck winners or did you get one?

Sauter: I won this race in April so I got the grandfather clock.

Neff: Besides racing, what else do you like to do? I understand that you don’t like to hunt and fish. Besides racing do you do anything else or is it pretty much all racing all of the time?

Sauter: I race. I build my own late model cars, I get to run a few late model shows up in the Midwest, or try to. I just ran one a couple of weeks ago. When I have an off weekend, I’m either working on racecars or trying to race. It is just about the only thing I have an interest in doing.

Neff: Along the lines of the late model, I know you won the Oktoberfest race up in LaCrosse, Wis. a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know how many fans know that you ran that race. Tell us a little bit about your race.

Sauter: I don’t know. It was fun to go up there obviously, all my family and friends and a lot of people in that area, so that is primarily why I try and run up there to just go up there and see everybody. It was cool to win that race and it has gone back and forth a couple of times whether I won the race or didn’t win the race.

I don’t even know. I know what I had and I know I won the race. It is fun. I really enjoy doing that type of racing. That’s what I grew up doing and I will continue to do it.

Neff: That same weekend they had the big late model race here at Martinsville. Have you ever thought about sticking around here to run that race?

Sauter: Yeah, I always look at different races y’know. I’ve kind of got a bucket list of races that I want to go run and do well in. I’ve been fortunate enough to win some pretty big home runs up in Wisconsin. So now it is time to start looking at some other places to go and compete and try and win some big races.

Neff: Have you ever run in the Snowball Derby?

Sauter: No, I’m actually talking about going there right now. Trying to make a run at it this year, that is my plan right now.

Neff: Do you ever get the chance to run on dirt?

Sauter: I’m not a dirt guy. I’ve been to enough dirt races in my life and I’ve driven kind of a dirt car. More of a special race up in Iowa one time. I don’t know, I grew up on asphalt and asphalt is in my heart. I mean I like watching racing no matter what kind it is, but I think I’ll just stick to driving on asphalt.

Neff: We don’t go to Milwaukee anymore. Would you like to see them get that track back on the schedule because I know that is close to your home stomping grounds?

Sauter: Aw, yeah, for sure. That would be the ultimate. That was always my favorite race of the year, to go and obviously run that race. I was fortunate enough to win the Nationwide race there in 2005. Now that we don’t go back, it is just kind of a bummer. I would be ecstatic to go back and run Milwaukee.

Neff: OK, toughest question of the day. Of the entire Sauter clan, are you the best driver?

Sauter: I don’t know. I would never say that. Y’know, everybody has their own specialty. I think, if you surveyed all of the brothers, we’d all still say the old man was the best.

Sauter had a good run in the Kroger 200, able to lead laps and coming home with a fourth-place finish. However, points leader Austin Dillon finished a position in front of him and still leads the driver of the No. 13 Chevy by 15 points.

Sauter hopes to be able to have a race or two in the next two races where he can lead the most laps and win to make the championship exciting, but he knows he’s about to run out of time.

About the author


What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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