And the trend continues. In a world where talent in racing is beginning to mean less and age and money mean more, the older veterans are starting to find themselves pushed out of the big leagues and back to their roots.
living at, but do so without the big pressures that you see in the NASCAR world.”
Sauter has secured a full-time sponsor that he will announce in the coming weeks. He will be teaming with an established team for his run at the 2004 ASA championship which will also be announced at that time.
“We are building toward a major announcement that we’ll have in the coming weeks. I’m pretty excited about everything. I always loved racing with ASA and when a sponsor I was dealing with showed some interest, I jumped on the opportunity. This series has been very good to our family over the years and I think I can add to that legacy even more.”
However, Sauter knows that despite only being away from the series for three years (minus one race in 2001 as a teammate to brother Johnny), the look and feel of ASA racing has changed.
“I think the competition level has picked up a bit. The guys behind the wheel and on the crews have gotten a little sharper. I feel that I’m going to be behind the eight ball after being away from the series for a couple of years, but it won’t take long to get back in the swing of things. I’m going to have some pretty good guys behind me.”
The Sauters (l-r: Tim, Johnny, Jay) have always been a big part of ASA racing.
After last running ASA full-time in 2000, Sauter made the move south and to the NASCAR Busch Series. After some early season success, Tim’s team fell on hard times and disbanded in 2001. In 2002, his former ASA owner, Alec Pinsonneault, started up a Busch team with Tim as its full-time driver. The team worked through some normal “start-up” issues and was a competitive, top-10 team by the end of the year, finishing 13th in the final point standings. However, the team shut down due to a lack of sponsorship, with Tim moving on to a part-time ride in 2003.
Enter, Tim Sauter, who after three pretty successful years on the NASCAR Busch Series (one of which saw him finish 13th in the final point standings), is heading back to his roots. The 1999 ASA National Champion will return to ASA full-time in 2004.
“Yes, we are coming back to run full time in 2004,” said Sauter, who’s older brothers Johnny and Jay both also found success in ASA. “But I don’t view it as me ‘coming back to ASA.’ This is a place that I want to be and that I see growing in the future. This is a place you can come and race and make a
Tim was the 1999 ASA National Champion and will go for his second title in 2004.
When negotiations with a sponsor started leaning towards a return to ASA, Sauter jumped on the deal.
“Basically, one of the sponsor contacts I’ve been dealing with showed interest in the ASA series as far as the region and dollars and it all made sense. The ASA deal has always been in the back of my mind so I was really excited when I found out they were interested in it.
“I’m pretty excited. I like the short track stuff. I think it will be a lot more fun than the last couple years have been. It will be more relaxed being back to ASA.”
Tim Sauter tried a run at the Busch Series, but will find himself back in the ASA Series in 2004.
FORMER CHAMP SET FOR ASA RETURN by Jeremy Troiano
Sauter Back After Run At The Busch Series, Big Announcement Soon
The series will also see much more “big track” time in 2004, which Sauter is used to. Even without his Busch Series experience, Sauter spent plenty of time racing with ASA at tracks like Milwaukee and Pikes Peak.
“I think (the big speedways) is going to change the look of the series and the concentration of some of the teams. Back in the days, if you went to one or two of those races, you could let you program slide and still be good for the rest of the year. That is because back then, there was only two big track races or so per year. Now, with six races, you have to be focused on that part of the schedule. It will be good exposure for the series though. I’ll be excited to see how that first race at Kentucky goes.”
Sauter will announce his full 2004 plans in the coming weeks and we’ll have it right here on Speed51.com.