When the sun rises over West Allis, Wisconsin the morning of Saturday, June 7, racers will be awakening with dreams of going to victory lane in the ARCA Fest Swiss Colony Howie Lettow Memorial 150 presented by RaceTeamGear.com.
One driver will have already started that focus on victory lane hours before his competition even rubs the night’s sleep from their eyes.
Johnny Sauter will have flown from Texas following Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway, landed in Chicago and started a drive to the famed Milwaukee Mile in preparation for the ARCA Midwest Tour Super Late Model race at his home track before breakfast time.
Sauter, a winner at the Milwaukee Mile in the NASCAR Nationwide Series back in 2005, is pulling the laung haul for one reason – to notch another victory at his home state’s most prominent racing facility.
“It’s the Milwaukee Mile,” said Sauter, of Necedah, Wisconsin. “Flat out, it’s the Milwaukee Mile. Every Christmas I take my wife over to the Milwaukee Mile and we walk around the place.
“Growing up to now, Milwaukee means everything to a Wisconsin boy. It’s the Daytona of Wisconsin. I was fortunate enough to win the Nationwide race there in 2005. If there’s a race that I’m able to run at the Milwaukee Mile, I’m going to run it. Family, friends, the whole atmosphere make me love that racetrack. I can’t think of a better place to have a race than that.”
Sauter will compete in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400, then combine a flight and a drive to Milwaukee to meet up with his crew who have already towed his No. 5 to the track.
“I’m fortunate enough to have some pretty good folks that help me out when we decide to go racing. They left yesterday with the truck and trailer. I spoke to them just a few minutes ago and the eagle has landed, so they say, so everything’s good. I’ll run the Truck race Friday night and I’ve got an early flight from Dallas to Chicago Saturday morning and I’ll high tail it from there to Milwaukee and be there somewhere around 9am.”
Sauter has finished third in each of the two previous editions of the Lettow 150 at the Milwaukee Mile. He’s hoping to make the combination of a Howe chassis and Hamner Racing Engines power plant under his No. 5 just a little bit better for his first Late Model win at “The Mile.”
“I haven’t been good enough to win that race yet,” said Sauter. “I’ve only been good enough to run third both years. We’ve changed some stuff and we’ll have two hours of practice on Saturday to try to figure it out.
“This car has been phenomenal everywhere it’s been in qualifying. I think it’s got six poles in seven races. But for whatever reason I haven’t qualified well at Milwaukee. I qualified 32nd the first year and last year I qualified like 16th. First of all, I need to qualify better. Second of all, the first year I was a little bit too tight. Last year I was extremely loose. I need to go somewhere in between. The first times it was a night race and this time it’s an afternoon race, so I expect track conditions to be a little less grippy than before.”
With past success, a family lineage that includes several Sauters etched into the win list at Milwaukee and an improved racecar, circumstances may be aligning themselves for Sauter to finally park his Late Model into victory lane at Milwaukee.
“I feel like I’m more prepared for this race than I ever have been. I don’t know if that means anything or not, but I feel like I have more setup options that we can try on the car.”
Sauter’s No. 5 will carry sponsorship from Deppe Enterprises and Calypso Lemonade in the ARCA Fest Lettow 150.
For more information on ARCA Fest, visit www.arcafest.com.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @mattkentfield. Photo credit: Bruce Nuttleman/Speed51.com