216_Anthem Annual 2017 February Edition.p1

2017 Anthem Annual February

to the next level competitively and help mentor younger, less-traveled teammates. “He shows up with the experience, and I call him the ‘old salt,’ and you just can’t put a price on that kind of, ‘I’ve been there, done that,’” Gallagher said. “He was terrific with the younger guys, and you couldn’t ask for a better teammate. It’s an investment; you do it, and you hope to have the outcome we had.   “You’d like to think that every investment pays off. It’s hard in this business, but this one has paid off in spades.” It took no time for the Sauter/GMS Racing union to bear fruit. Under the guidance of crew chief Marcus Richmond, Sauter won the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in his debut with the Statesville, North Carolina-based organization. While many folks probably didn’t expect Sauter to find success so fast out of the gate with an unproven team, he did. “Honestly, yes,” said Sauter, who had been with ThorSport from 2009-2015 and won 10 races with the Sandusky, Ohio-based team. “You know, as I mentioned, any successful organization in racing that I’ve ever seen, they surround themselves with people, people that work very hard and do the right things, I guess, a lot of times. You know, I can sit here and say that I don’t think I would have ever made this kind of move if I didn’t feel comfortable with it. When you see what we’re building — I’ve said this a thousand times — but if you check out what GMS Racing in Statesville, North Carolina, has to offer, the way they’re going about it, building our own chassis in-house, hanging our own bodies in-house, obviously we had ECR Earnhardt Childress Racing horsepower all this year. They executed on the pit crew. … I mean, all that stuff was just top-notch.” After a brief rough patch for Sauter following his victory at Daytona, GMS reunited the driver with one of his former ThorSport Racing crew chiefs, Joe Shear Jr., and it was instant magic. In 17 races with Shear calling the shots on his No. 21 Chevrolet, Sauter finished outside the top 10 only once and came home no worse than 13th. Sauter’s final stat line for the season: 19 top-10 finishes, including 12 top fives, in 23 starts. Johnny Sauter (No. 21) clinched the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title with a third-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images Johnny Sauter spent seven seasons at ThorSport Racing before joining GMS Racing for the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series campaign. Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images 216 ANTHEM MOTORSPORTS ANNUAL


2017 Anthem Annual February
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