NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter will be making the most of his one-race suspension from the series this weekend. Following the announcement of his suspension Tuesday, Sauter has made plans to compete in Saturday’s Dick Trickle 99 Super Late Model race at Dells Raceway Park in his home state of Wisconsin.
“The Dells is the place that I ran my first ever race,” Sauter told Speed51.com. “It’s kind of got a special spot for me. I’ve actually been pretty successful there. The last couple times I’ve been there, I think I’ve won. Having said that, I’m taking a brand-new car that’s not going to get any laps on it until I get there. That’s going to maybe be a little bit of a challenge but it will be fun. I love that place. It’s a pretty demanding little race track; it demands a lot out of your car. I’m looking forward to it.”
Sauter’s suspension from the NASCAR Truck Series stems from an incident involving Austin Hill during last Sunday’s race at Iowa Speedway. While he is excited to return to Dells Raceway Park this weekend, he admits that the situation and circumstances allowing him to compete aren’t ideal.
“The situation sucks. There’s a bunch of tore up race trucks,” Sauter said. “For a guy like me who actually builds his own cars and knows what’s involved just in the building process and how much time and effort it takes, not to mention the financial part of it, that’s what kind of torques me more than anything, let alone getting run into or whatever. You can put a little bit of that behind you, but tearing up equipment is the heart of the issue here. That’s what pisses me off.”
The Dick Trickle 99 is the third of five scheduled races for the Alive for Five Series, a five-race series at Dells Raceway Park. Thus far, the series has attracted many of Wisconsin’s top Super Late Model racers due to the racer-friendly format and the big money on the line.
Saturday’s race will pay $4,000 to the winner, with a $3,000 top prize for the series champion at season’s end. Sauter has kept an eye on the series and believes it’s one of the best things going in asphalt Super Late Model racing.
“I like it. Number one, the pay is pretty good. That’s kind of what I look at sometimes. I think it’s a good deal,” he stated. “I can’t run all the races but there’s championship money there, which is always a nice extra bonus for the guys running for it. I think it’s good. I think we need to figure out how to have more shows like this where you show up at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, practice, qualify and race, and then get the hell out of there.”
As a native of the Badger State, being able to win a memorial race with short track legend Dick Trickle’s name on it would be a special victory for the former NASCAR Truck Series champion. Sauter was victorious in the Dick Trickle 99 during Oktoberfest Weekend at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway and hopes to be able to net another Trickle victory this weekend.
“My dad raced against Trickle for a long time and Trickle was the man around here,” he said. “Then when I lived in North Carolina, Dick didn’t live too far from me and would occasionally stop in at the shop and check in on the Late Model stuff and all that. I feel like I had a pretty good relationship with Dick, so that adds a little extra flare to the whole night being a tribute race.”
With a brand-new Super Late Model ready to be unloaded out of the box, Sauter is hoping to tackle more Super Late Model events in 2019. He has already committed to competing in the Slinger Nationals on July 8, and he hopes to add more races to his schedule throughout the year.
“The Slinger Nationals are right around the corner. I committed to that a long time ago,” Sauter explained. “There’s some other stuff coming up around the pike, maybe just do some weekly stuff at some of these other places. Just when the time opens up or there’s a night that pops open, I just try to go enjoy it. I love Wausau (State Park Speedway), I’d love to go there and race. There’s just some cool race tracks in the state here that I want to get to.”
Speed51.com will be on hand at Dells Raceway Park Saturday night and video highlights will be available on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Johnny Sauter Twitter