[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”233″][/media-credit]To say that the beginning of the year has been good for Johnny Sauter would be understatement as currently the driver of the No. 13 for ThorSport Racing sits first in points with his teammate Matt Crafton second with a win from Martinsville under his belt.
This weekend marks a big date on the schedule for Johnny as Curb Records, which has been associated with Johnny his entire career, will make their 500th career shot next weekend at Nashville Speedway.
Johnny took some time to answer some questions with regards to his season, Nashville and more.
Ashley McCubbin: What are some of your thoughts on the season so far?
Johnny Sauter: Its been a good year. To be first in points and have a win in the first four races, there’s nothing to ashamed off so we got to keep going. There’s 21 races left so hopefully we can win a couple more races and make a good run for the championship.
AM: What are some of your thoughts with regards to the competition level in the series?
JS: As far as the competition level, personally I think its one of the most competitive seasons so far with all the teams that are involved. I think we had a lot more teams show up at Daytona than anybody probably even realized. You got some rookie drivers, you got some veteran drivers, you got them all paired up with good teams. I think its, you know obviously you got some of the Cup guys that come run with us, so I think you obviously got to look at it as being really competitive and pretty tough right now.
AM: You spoke of some of the Cup drivers coming in and running in the Truck Series. What are some of your thoughts on that?
JS: I mean, it doesn’t bother me at all. You could make a case for everything, especially now a days, so obviously they’re going to come down and race and there’s no rule against it. A lot of people spend, in my mind, too much time worrying about what Cup drivers are doing in the Trucks or the Nationwide Series. That’s part of life and we feel that we got a team that we can beat the Cup guys. We just got to keep doing what we’re doing at ThorSport with what we’re doing and not get caught up in what everybody else is doing.
AM: How did you originally get involved with ThorSport Racing?
JS: Well, I mean it was a deal where in 2005, I ran a race down for them at Homestead, the final race of the year, and that was the first time that I met some of the people with ThorSport. I think it’s just one of those deals where there was a opening and I happened to be looking and we were able to put a deal together to race together and here I am in my third season with them and the rest of the history as they say.
AM: What are some of your thoughts on working with your teammmates Matt Crafton and Dakoda Armstrong?
JS: Matt has been in the Truck Series for a while and has been real consistent and we both kind of have the same background with short track late model racing so we have fun cutting up with each other, being teammates, and whatever. We race each other hard and have fun. Dakoda is obviously the new face and just to get to see his development and getting starting in the series and all the things that he has to learn and hopefully me and Matt can help him along with all that stuff. It’s just going to be interesting to watch and fun through the year.
AM: This weekend marks the 500th start for Curb Records. What are some of your thoughts on that?
JS: I don’t think a lot of people know that much of his background in the sport. You know, he’s been around a long time and have had a lot of success with a lot of different drivers – Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty when he won his first race. He’s been involved in the sport for a long time and he’s always liked me as a driver and me as a person and he’s always been involved wherever I’ve been racing. It means a lot to me and to have his 500th start and me be going to the guy going to his hometrack, that’s a big deal.
AM: How’d you originally get involved with Mike Curb?
JS: He was always racing and he had a Nationwide team and he was looking for a driver and I was looking at different avenues and I was able to come in and fill the void and Mike and Kari and I won a race together in the Nationwide Series a while back and that’s how I originally got to meet him and got to know him and he’s been around hanging with me ever since.
AM: What track is at the top of your list to win at next?
JS: I think knowing how hard it is to win the Superspeedway races, like Daytona and Talladega, would be pretty cool. Everything just has to go right, no mistakes, no wrecks, just a different type of racing so I think Daytona or Talladega would be pretty sweet to win.
AM: What would it mean to you to win the championship this year?
JS: It would be huge. A championship in any division is huge. I don’t care if its NASCAR or Late Models or Sportsmen division or whatever. Championships are hard to win and not only do you have to win races, but you have to be consistent week-in-week-out to win championships so that’s what we aim for – we try to win races and win championships. So I don’t know how you put that into words as that’s what we’re here to do.
AM: What is your first racing memory?
JS: I mean, I first started racing, I still remember my first race driving a Sportsmen car at Wisconsin Dells Motor Speedway and I spun out two people out in 25 laps and the officials and the people there weren’t happy with me. I didn’t understand why I was spinning people out; it was something I had to learn.
AM: And what would your favourite racing memory be?
JS: I’ve got too many of them to narrow it down that much. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of good memories. I mean, winning the ASA championship and winning 10 of 20 races, winning two Nationwide races and last year in Trucks winning two races. There’s so many good memories that I just can’t tell you one that’s my favourite.
AM: What are some of your thoughts heading into Nashville this weekend?
JS: Just excited, obviously. We got a brand new truck that we’re taking so excited to see how we can do with that new truck. It’s a race track that I feel that I’ve been close at before, as far as winning. So with that bundled up with Curb’s 500th start, I’ve had some good races and it’s been a good track. So I feel we should go there and try to win the race and see what happens.