Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Family Patriarch/Veteran Racer" Jim Sauter Born - June 1, 1943

June 1, 1943 - October 31, 2014
Jim Sauter
 Born in Necedah, Wisconsin, USA.
He formerly raced in all three of NASCAR's national series, and is best known for having been a test driver for the International Race of Champions, as well as winning two championships in the Midwest-based ARTGO Challenge Series.

Sauter started racing in 1964 in a modified at Raceway Park in Savage, Minnesota. He moved up to late models the following year. Sauter moved to Wisconsin, and his career took off after he won the North Star 500 at the Minnesota State Fair in a Dave Marcis Chevelle. Sauter said "The funny thing about that race was the fact that we had a barn full of various brands of tires that we wanted to use up and ended up with Goodyear on the outside and Firestone on the inside for no other reason than that. Everyone thought it must be the hot tip." Marcis called Sauter in 1978 and asked him to drive his racecar in the ARCA 200. Sauter battled Bruce Hill for the win on the last lap. They crashed, with Hill ending his race along the wall and Sauter won.

Sauter raced part time in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the 1980s and 1990s, posting four top ten finishes in 76 starts. He was an independent driver with limited funds. To help pay the bills, Sauter did Goodyear tire tests along with Marcis.

Sauter raced primarily in the ARTGO and ASA series. Sauter returned to Wisconsin to win the 1981 track championship at Wisconsin International Raceway. Sauter won the 1981 and 1982 ARTGO championships with 16 of 20 career victories in those years. Sauter won several major regional races including the 1980 National Short Track Championship at Rockford Speedway and the 1983 All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. He also competed at the Slinger Nationals, Snowball Derby, Winchester 400 and the World Crown.

His sons Tim, Jay, and Johnny have followed his footsteps by racing on the NASCAR circuit. His other son Jim, Jr. has raced on regional events along with his grandson Travis Sauter. Sauter raced in his final NASCAR Nationwide Series at the Milwaukee Mile racing against Tim, Jay and Johnny. None of Sauter's seven daughters nor his son Joe are involved in racing.

Sauter was also well known for preparing the setups and testing International Race of Champions cars with Dick Trickle and Dave Marcis.

Sauter died following a brief illness on October 31, 2014. He was 71 years old.
Jim Sauter (top middle) poses with sons Tim (from left), Johnny and Jay in 2002 before the three of them raced in the GNC Live Well 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at the Milwaukee Mile. Credit: Russ Lake

1 comment:

  1. Jim was the son of Harold E. and Lucy M. (Pahl) Sauter and was born on June 1, 1943 in Bloomington, MN. Jim was a 1961 graduate of the Bloomington High School.