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Johnny Sauter Making More ASA Memories at Madison

The former American Speed Association and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion is excited to be part of the ASA's return to Madison International Speedway.


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It’s only fitting that a Sauter will be in the field when the ASA STARS National Tour heads to Madison International Speedway Sunday for the Joe Shear Classic.

Back in 1984, the ASA National Tour made its first trip to what was then known as Capital Super Speedway. Jim Sauter took the checkered flag, finishing ahead of Joe Shear and Dick Trickle.

In the grandstands, Jim’s son Johnny Sauter watched on and cheered for dad, long before his own storied career which includes the 2001 ASA championship and the 2016 NASCAR Truck Series championship.

“I can remember going there, it was called Capital Speedway back in 1984, my dad won the ASA race,” Sauter recounted while on Racing America’s ‘The Bullring’ this week. “He and Trickle were running door-to-door forever. I was sitting in the grandstands that night, I think I was six or seven years old.”

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I can remember going there, it was called Capital Speedway back in 1984, my dad won the ASA race. He and Trickle were running door-to-door forever. I was sitting in the grandstands that night.

Johnny Sauter

This weekend, in the event memorializing one of Jim Sauter’s closest competitors that day, Johnny will be on track, while his brother Tim Sauter (the last ASA National Tour winner at Madison) will serve as guest of honor.

That means a lot to Sauter going into Sunday’s race.

“That’s how far back I go with ASA racing. To bring it to this venue, Madison Speedway, it means a lot to me. It’s a home game, close to home, and I’ve been there a million times, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The Joe Shear Classic will be part of a busy weekend for Johnny Sauter. On Saturday, he will compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, driving the No. 04 CarQuest Ford for Roper Racing at Kansas Speedway.

“I’m going to run for the Roper brothers, Roper Racing at Kansas and maybe some other Truck races. We’ll run that Saturday and then high-tail it to the airport and try to get back up to Madison on Sunday. It will be a busy weekend.”

While he will miss Saturday’s ASA STARS practice day racing at Kansas, he will have time to dial in his entry on Sunday morning during the final practice rounds before qualifying. He also shook down his Super Late Model last weekend in preparation for the Joe Shear Classic.

“I’m going to miss all day Saturday practice, for sure. Luckily, for me, that track is only about 30 minutes from my house. I was able to go down there last Saturday and shake down for a couple of hours, dodge the rain drops a little bit. I got out two or three times. It should be alright, I felt comfortable. Who knows what people will run for speeds, but we’ll chase that Sunday.”

No matter what it took, Sauter was eager to compete under the ASA banner once again, especially at his home track.

“I think it’s great. Obviously, short track racing is what I grew up doing. It’s number one in my heart, so to speak. Having said that, I think it’s great to have a national tour again. I hear fans say all the time, ‘I wish we had something like ASA back.’

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“To finally have that and to be able to bring that to people is great. I love short track racing as much as anything I’ve done throughout my career, so I look forward to running a couple of those races, have fun and maybe win a couple of them.”

And just like when he was younger, watching his father race against the likes of Joe Shear, Dick Trickle and other ASA greats, the next racing Sauter is just around the corner.

Johnny’s son, Penn, has been competing in Bandolero races over the past year, with eyes set on moving up to Limited Late Models in the future.

“We’ve been running some Bandolero stuff, and we’re in the process of building him what they call a Limited Late Model up by us. I had a lot of fun racing with him last summer. We’ve been working on his stuff here for the last couple of weeks.

“He enjoys it and works hard, so I’m going to teach him the way I grew up. Just having to know the ins and outs, how the car works, how to put it together and those kinds of things. We can play hockey all winter and race during the summer, so it works out.”