There will be a new face behind the wheel of the No. 9 Jett Motorsports Late Models in 2016. The Florida-based team has reached an agreement with Midwest driver Travis Sauter for select Super Late Model and Pro Late Model races this upcoming season.
The partnership between Sauter and team owner Kurt Jett all started back at the Snowball Derby, when Scott Wimmer helped Jett Motorsports on their Pro Late Model piloted by Derek Thorn. Jett mentioned to Wimmer some of the races they would like to do in 2016, but said Thorn had some conflicts. Wimmer mentioned Sauter’s name, and the rest is history.
“As a race team that doesn’t race as much as some of the bigger teams and that doesn’t race full time we need somebody who is talented but at the same time brings knowledge and experience to the table,” Kurt Jett told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We did some research into what Travis has done in his racing career and his lifestyle and it fit what we were wanting to represent Jett Motorsports and Jett Concrete on and off the race track. Ever since Travis flew down for the first time we have bonded well and he fit right into what we were doing.”
Sauter has always run his own program and found great success doing so, cementing himself as one of the guys to beat in the Midwest. From 2012 to 2014 he won 10 races in a row at Madison International Speedway, eight ARCA Midwest Tour events and piled on additional victories at Dells Raceway Park, Golden Sands Speedway, La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway and more.
Having a history of doing things mostly on his own, Sauter admits that driving for another team will be “a little different.” Regardless, the Necedah, Wisconsin driver is very excited about the opportunity he will have driving for a proven race team.
“I am used to having complete control over everything and making all the decisions,” Sauter said. “That can be a burden at times but that’s the way I have to do it here to be successful. I’m looking forward to being able to focus on driving and working on the car and not having to worry about all the little details.”
Sauter and Jett hit it off right away and now are in constant communication as they prepare for their first race together, the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway on March 19. Sauter even went to Speedweeks with the Jett Motorsports Team and helped work on the car with the crew and driver Thorn.
“I’ve been down there twice to the shop and to Speedweeks with them. That is a grind for sure, but I get along well with these guys and Derek so we had fun with it. It was a good deal for me to go and build some chemistry before I drive,” said Sauter. “I will be at the shop again before the Rattler. We talk every day about what we need to do.”
Additional races for Sauter during the 2016 season include the Blizzard Series events at Five Flags Speedway, an April Pro Late Model race at Five Flags, the Southern Super Series/ARCA CRA Super Series combo race at Nashville, the All American 400, Cordele (GA) in June, the Florida’s Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna (FL) and the Snowball Derby.
“I want to win and so do they,” said Sauter. “I think there is a lot of potential with this team. It may take a little while to get to our ceiling but I’m confident we can be a contender every time we go.”
Teaming with Jett also gives Sauter a chance to widen his racing resume. Of all the tracks they will visit in 2016, Sauter has only turned laps at one of them.
“It’ll be fun to run new tracks,” said Sauter, “As long as the car handles well.”
Of course, no Wisconsin race season would be complete without seeing Sauter’s white and red No. 05 on track.
“I am running around six races in my own car in the Midwest with Habelman Bros Cranberries and Cranberry Creek Cranberries,” said Sauter. “My racing budget is down a little bit this year so it was nice to put this Jett deal together to be able to race more often.”
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Doug Hornickel – www.fastlapphoto.com