Eldora Race Report 7.19.17

JOHNNY SAUTER
No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado

Eldora Recap
Johnny Sauter’s Eldora Speedway experience started off rocky when a spin in final practice and contact left the No. 21 Allegiant team repairing their Chevrolet Silverado up until the start of Wednesday’s qualifying session. Despite the damage, Sauter was happy with the handling but only turned the 14th-fastest qualifying time, placing him in the third starting spot for the fourth qualifying race. The Necedah, Wis., native finished third, advancing to the main race and lining up 14th for the fifth running of the Eldora Dirt Derby.

After gaining a few spots on the initial start, Sauter reported to the team that he was running “way hot,” and like many of his competitors, couldn’t see anything out of the windshield. On lap 20, he was caught up in an incident that sent several trucks spinning, causing minimal right side damage. He visited the Allegiant team on pit road to clear the grille and clear the windshield and returned to the field in the 17th position. Caution occurred once again just five laps later, keeping Sauter from advancing past the 16th position as stage one ended under yellow.

Pitting for tires and fuel, Sauter relayed that he was happy with the feel of his Silverado and felt confident he’d be able to pass to get up front. Under the extended caution, crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., told his driver he had a small hole in the radiator. The team ultimately decided to make a radiator change as the race returned to green, placing the veteran driver seven laps down.

Sauter continued, happy with the handling of the Allegiant machine, and stayed out of any addition trouble to finish in the 23rd position, seven laps down.

Quote
“I’m not a dirt racer in any sense of the word, so the best I could hope for was to survive and get a decent finish, but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be one of those races for us. The Allegiant team did an amazing job repairing the truck after the wreck in practice and I thought, with the spin early on in the race, that we’d still be okay. The guys did a great job switching out the radiator as fast as they did, just wish I could have had a shot at a good finish there at the end. It was probably the most comfortable I’ve ever felt going into Eldora, and Joe (Shear, Jr., crew chief) and the team showed we’re making progress everywhere, so I’ve got nothing to hang my head about.”

Additional Info
– Despite finishing outside the top 10 for the second time this year, Sauter remains the driver championship point standing leader by 7 points over Christopher Bell.