Johnny Sauter is a two-time champion in the Gandrud Auto Group 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway, an event his father Jim Sauter won in 1982. Sauter hopes he can add another win in the race to the family name Tuesday night, and promises to make a trip to the Snowball Derby if he can pull it off.
Sauter’s pledge was inspired after going to another Wisconsin race track, Dells Raceway Park, on Saturday night. There, Dalton Zehr scored the win in the Capital 100 for the Alive for Five Series.
Zehr’s Beale Racing team agreed they would make the trek to the biggest race in Super Late Model racing if he could win Saturday’s race.
“I was at the Dells Saturday night, and I heard Dalton Zehr’s interview as he was walking out that his team owner was taking him to the Snowball Derby if he won that night,” said Sauter.
Similarly inspired, Sauter pledged he would join Zehr at the Derby if he can win Tuesday’s Gandrud Auto Group 250 during an interview on Speed51’s “The Bullring.”
“I’ll make you a deal. If I can win tomorrow night, which, you never know, I run pretty good there, I’ll go to the Snowball Derby.”
To say Sauter runs “pretty good” at Kaukauna is an understatement. Sauter has twice won the Gandrud 250. He hasn’t competed frequently at Wisconsin International Raceway, but enjoys every opportunity he has to race there.
“It’s got a lot of character, to say the least. It’s probably one of the race tracks I went to as a kid the most to watch my dad race. I think he won a couple of track championships there, and it has a lot of history.
“Personally, I’ve only raced there four or five times, but I’ve been pretty successful at it. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve raced there. I’m looking forward to getting there to race tomorrow. My favorite thing to do is to walk into the pits and look at the concrete slab that’s still there from 1980 or 1982 with his No. 5 still in the concrete slab. That’s probably my favorite thing to do while I’m there. Getting there to race is pretty cool.”
Sauter is also a fan of the racing surface at Wisconsin International. The unique racetrack presents a different challenge at both ends of the half-mile, keeping racers on their toes throughout the night.
“It’s a great race track, really racey. The front straightaway has a dogleg in it. Turns one and two are super tight and rough, and turns three and four are a longer, sweeping corner.
“You want your car to turn down there, and it can throw you a curveball every time you hit a bump differently. I thought I had it turning and then it’s not. Then you’ve got the long back straightaway and you get to turn three and four, and it’s a long, flat corner. Then you come off of four, and there’s typically a lot more room there because the track moves out a little bit. You can get in the gas a little quicker than you think you can.
“You can run side-by-side there, especially if your stuff is working okay. Funky is a good word, no doubt about it. Most people when they go there the first time, they like it or they don’t like it. Fortunately, I adapted to it pretty quickly. It’s one of my favorite places, for sure.”
Race fans can watch Sauter compete in the Gandrud Auto Group 250 live on Speed51 Tuesday night. Click here to order your pay-per-view of Tuesday’s broadcast. They can also see Sauter’s interview on “The Bullring” in its entirety by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo