by Gregg Paul
There are always peaks and valleys in the sport of auto racing. The highs of winning and the lows of failure are always present. Preparation, determination, and the drive and hunger to succeed separate the great drivers from the mediocre drivers. However, in this era of racing the playing field has been leveled more by the rule book than anything else. For that reason a long winning streak isn’t as prevalent as it once was in the golden era of the sport.
While long winning streaks are not unprecedented, in today’s world they are certainly noteworthy, especially considering Travis Sauter’s current nine race winning streak at the Madison International Speedway.
When the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment and Lester Buildings rolls into Wisconsin’s fastest half mile oval for the Border Wars Part 2 on August 11th, the pride of the ARCA Midwest Tour drivers will be on the line against the ARCA/CRA Super Series drivers. The other thing on the line will be that winning streak that Sauter has amassed over his nine previous visits to the speedway.
Yet Sauter calmly looks at the streak nonchalantly and perhaps with even a tad bit of disdain. Sauter doesn’t even consider there to be any undue pressure to continue the streak any more than trying to win any other race he enters.
“I’ve had a fast car and avoided bad luck,” says Sauter. “No added pressure….I want to win every race so that’s how I prepare.”
Sounds simple enough, although during the streak Sauter did have a few anxious moments. Despite his dominance at MIS, the car still wasn’t exactly perfect. Two races ago he nearly ran out of brakes before the break, and was fortunate to keep them working to the checkers.
“We had a great car and I was trying to save it, but I was still losing the brake pedal,” said Sauter. “They got the brakes cooled off at the break and we were able to win. My crew guys really won that race with their work at the shop and again at the break. It’s nice to be able to come to the race track and know you have great people on your side. We gotta try to keep it rolling now.”
The last race at MIS saw Sauter have to survive several late race restarts, but each time his car performed when he needed it to.
“We had a great car again and it’s a lot of fun to come to the track with my crew right now,” said Sauter. “We made some adjustments on the car since the last race, so that’s always positive. There were quite a few cautions and you never know what’s gonna happen on the restarts, but my car was good enough to pull away each time. Obviously we’ve had a great run of success lately, but we don’t take anything for granted and keep working to get better.”
It’s hard to imagine that Sauter and the crew can still get better, but every race driver will tell you that there has yet to be a completely 100% perfect race car. They are always looking to improve upon it. That is definitely something that not only the ARCA Midwest Tour drivers need to worry about, but the traveling ARCA/CRA Super Series guys coming to invade are going to need to wonder if they can end the streak as well.
Travis Sauter knows that a big race such as the Border Wars will be a race that everyone will be gunning for, whether the streak was on the line or not.
“This week is obviously a big race with great competition so anytime you can win one of those it feels good,” said Sauter. “I’m not sure what the ARCA/CRA Super Series guys think. I’m sure they want to win, but it’ll be tough for them to come to a new track just like it is for us when we travel. There’s no substitute for experience.”
Having nine consecutive races to not only gain experience, but to use that experience to excel, the ARCA Midwest Tour and ARCA/CRA Super Series drivers will be hard pressed to stop Travis Sauter, regardless of the winning streak.
Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).
To learn more about the Automobile Racing Club of America Midwest Tour, log on to arcamidwesttour.com. For questions call the ARCA Midwest Tour office at (262) 729-4111 or Tim Olson at (612) 327-5831 or Steve Einhaus (630) 212-6022 at or e-mail Tim Olson at email@example.com Steve Einhaus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.