Tag Archives: Johnny Sauter

10 years at Kansas Speedway: Time to Repave?

4 Jun

Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

After 10 years of hosting NASCAR races, officials at Kansas Speedway say it’s only a matter of time before the track surface needs to be revamped. (For a comprehensive article on this, check out this link.) Drivers, however, don’t necessarily agree. One reporter asked racers about this on Saturday after the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250, and Todd Bodine, Johnny Sauter and Joey Coulter all said that if they got to vote, the track would not be repaved.

“This place has got so much character now,” Bodine said. “When it was first built and we came here … it was smooth, and lots of grip, and now, even in trucks we’re out there sliding around and we’re driving the heck out of them every lap. That’s why you see great racing here. It’s got a lot of character. It’s a neat place.”

The reporter remarked half-jokingly that the track would most likely be repaved anyway, and Bodine in particular gave a passionate defense of Kansas Speedway’s current state.

“Why would they repave it?” Bodine began. “Yeah it’s got a couple of bumps and it’s wore-out, but that’s what makes it fun. It separates good trucks from bad ones and good cars from bad ones, good drivers. That’s what makes it fun. Anybody can go fast on dry pavement.”

Coulter’s statement was short and sweet but seemed to summarize what the general feeling was.

“I don’t think I’d repave it either,” the rookie said. “It’s pretty fun the way it is.”

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Clint Bowyer Gets a Happy Homecoming

4 Jun

Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR

Today Clint Bowyer found that there truly is no place like home. With his Saturday afternoon victory in the 400th race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the Emporia native became the first Kansan to win a NASCAR national series race at Kansas Speedway, which is in its 10th season.

Bowyer had been a runner-up twice at races on his home track, once in the Sprint Cup Series and once in the Nationwide Series, but as fellow racers Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine (who finished second and third, respectively, in today’s race) pointed out, coming in second place or third place is simply means a driver is the first or second loser. This time would be different for Bowyer.

“We’ve gotten close here, we’ve had good runs here, we’ve just never been able to seal the deal,” Bowyer said. “To finally be able to do a burnout in the homestretch in front of this crowd, this is big, man. That’s a good feeling.”

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR

Though the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 technically had 10 leaders and 15 lead changes, Bowyer’s performance can hardly be described as less than domination. He led 124 of 167 laps, and much of that time it did not even appear to be a close contest for first place. Bowyer did not necessarily feel secure throughout, however, and said getting into position out of the pits during restarts was key to the team’s success today. In a race that had seven cautions, that’s likely a pretty accurate statement.

“There were some nerve-wracking times,” the No. 2 driver said. “Right there at that last pit stop we took four tires. I knew four tires was the right thing to do, but I really thought a lot more people would take four tires, and they just didn’t. It was having to get through a lot of them right in that first corner, and I thought that was key, getting in position.”

Now, Bowyer is in position to be able to sweep the weekend at Kansas Speedway, as he competes in the Sprint Cup Series race tomorrow. He would be the first to do so. Having qualified 27th for Sunday’s STP 400, he will begin the race in the 14th row of drivers.

As previously mentioned, Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine came in second and third, respectively. James Buescher finished fourth, and Rookie of the Year candidate Joey Coulter crossed the line fifth.