Thursday, September 08, 2011

Crafton, Sauter Re-Sign With ThorSport

ThorSport Racing announced today that Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter will return to drive for the Sandusky, Ohio based team in 2012. Crafton and Sauter both signed new deals to keep them behind the wheel of their current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rides next season, under the ThorSport Racing banner, owned by Duke and Rhonda Thorson. The organization recently christened a new, 100,000-square foot racing facility in Sandusky, Ohio.

ThorSport has competed in the Truck Series since 1996, and has fielded at least one truck in more races than any NCWTS team. They are also the longest tenured team in the Series, and have accumulated. The team has six wins, 11 total poles and has led the Truck Series driver points 13 of 17 weeks in 2011 between Crafton and Sauter.

Crafton, the 35-year old driver of the No. 88 Menards Chevrolet Silverado, currently has 239 starts with ThorSport Racing and will be beginning on his 12th full-time season with the team. The Tulare, California native made his ThorSport Racing debut in the final event of the 2000 season, and currently holds the title of the longest relationship between an active driver and team in the series. He also extends the longest sponsor-team relationship in the series, signing for an 11th season with Menards. Crafton has earned two wins and six poles in his Truck Series career, with a career-best finish of second in the 2010 championship standings.

"I'm really proud to be extending my relationship with ThorSport Racing," said Crafton. "Team owners Duke and Rhonda Thorson and all the guys on my team have really become like a second family to me. When I first came to ThorSport, Duke promised me that this team would keep getting better every single year, and every year we continue to break records and raise the bar on the way to being what I believe is the best organization in the series. I'm really happy to continue to have the opportunity to race for them again next season."

Next season will be Sauter's fourth with the team. The 33-year-old driver from Necedah, Wisconsin took NCWTS Rookie of the Year honors in 2009 behind the wheel of the No. 13 Chevrolet. In his 67 starts for the team over the last three years, Sauter has three wins and four poles, and has led the point standings for 10 of 17 weeks this season. He has a career-best points finish of third (also in 2010), and his aggressive driving style has made him a mainstay of the series.

"It's an honor to drive for a fourth year with Duke and Rhonda Thorson," said Sauter, who is currently second in driver championship points with eight races to go. "They have progressively built championship-caliber teams over the course of 16 years. It's rare to find the support I've found here on the 13 team. I'm proud to have a home at ThorSport Racing, and I hope to continue that championship spirit in 2012."

"With all the exciting things we've had going on in the 2011 season, having all of our drivers back in 2012 continues the good news here at TSR," said David Pepper, Team Manager. "We feel as if we have two of the top competitors in the NCWTS in Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter; and an outstanding young talent in rookie Dakoda Armstrong. We're excited about getting all of our drivers and teams together in 2012 so that we can compete for poles, race wins and top fives into the future."

Details regarding sponsorship of the No. 88 and No. 13 Chevrolet Silverados are forthcoming.

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