After finishing second in last years NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final point standings, Johnny Sauter, by his own standards, got off to a bit of a slow start as things got underway this year.
With just one top-ten finish to his credit heading into last week’s race at Texas, Sauter knew he needed to make something happen, he did just that by picking up his first win of the season at a track he had been black flagged at just a season ago.
Not only did Sauter pick up his first win of the season bringing his career total to five, his teammate Matt Crafton finished second, keeping him in the top 10 of this years NASCAR Truck Standings.
ThorSport Team Manager Dave Pepper talked about how big the win was, not just for Sauter but ThorSport as a whole.
“It was huge,” said Pepper, whose Toyota team was busy getting prepared for Kentucky. “We have had all the bad luck you can imagine, but no one is pointing fingers, we knew how close we were to getting a win.”
Building off of last season’s success, the ThorSport Team added a third driver to its Truck Series roster bringing aboard Dakoda Armstrong, one of the younger drivers in the Truck Series who has showed tons of potential.
“Dakoda fits in great with our team,” said Pepper. “We started him off last season by racing a few different events and getting him acclimated to certain tracks, and this season he’s off and running.”
Pepper also talked about the expectations coming into this season compared to other’s after Sauter’s big season last year.
“We expect to compete for a championship, period.”
“We have gotten to a point where we expect to win every race were in, if we don’t win a race or finish in the top-5 it’s a disappointment.”
Much of the success can be attributed to team owner Duke Thorson who has constantly strived to give his drivers the best opportunities to win most recently by adding a brand new Headquarters which is based in Sandusky, Ohio.
“It’s an amazing building,” said Pepper. “We went from having one full time team and having four or five trucks ten years ago, to today having three full-time teams, one ARCA team and 30 Trucks and 8 ARCA cars, it’s night and day.
Pepper also talked about the negative aspects that the ThorSport Team faces by having its Headquarters in Sandusky opposed to Charlotte.
“If we need a certain part for one of our trucks we might have to order it and wait a day or two, where in Charlotte they can go down the road and get it from another driver’s garage, other than that its not to bad.”
Pepper also elaborated on it’s newest addition to the ThorSport team who needed no introduction.
It was none other than ARCA Legend Frank Kimmel, who is a 9-time ARCA Series Championship winner and has accumulated 74 wins in his career.
“Usually when you start a new team you go through a beginning phase where the driver gets used to his crew and vice versa.”
“With Frank, we were able to jump right in and start competing for wins, it’s a testament to what kind of driver he is and what he means to the sport.”
With three full-time NASCAR Truck teams and one ARCA team now going full steam ahead, you would think the next logical move would be to start a team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Not so fast.
“Logically for us, our next move would probably be to start a Sprint Cup Team, it’s just a better move in today’s economy.”
Based on the fact that Sauter has previously raced in Sprint Cup for Richard Childress Racing, there’s no doubt that ThorSport has the weapons to do just that.
“We have four of the best drivers in the world,” said Pepper.
“There is no telling what the future holds, that’s the most exciting aspect of this sport.”
If Sauter and Crafton’s one-two finish at Texas told us anything it’s this.
ThorSports Racing is no longer that small team from Sandusky,OH.
They are a team to be reckoned with.