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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Jim Sauter #89 Evinrude Outboard Motors Pontiac

    Before writing this post, I was under the impression that Jim Sauter was retired, and living somewhere in Wisconsin~ Sadly, he passed away last Halloween, following a brief illness~ He was 71~ His Cup career consisted of 76 races during the span of 16 years, where he tallied 0 wins, 0 poles, and 4 top 10's~ He also ran 4 BGN races from 1989-2002, with 0 wins, 0 poles, and 0 top 10's~

    Sauter started racing modifieds in 1964 @ Raceway Park in Savage, Minnesota, moving up to the late models in 1965~ He moved to Wisconsin, where his career took off after winning the North Star 500 @ the Minnesota State Fair in Dave Marcis's Chevelle~ Sauter later commented about the race "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 on Sauter again in 1978, asking him to run his car in the ARCA 200 race, where Sauter battled with Bruce Hill for the win on the last lap~ They crashed, with Hill ending up against the wall, while Sauter went on to win~ His first Cup race came in the 1980 National 500 @ Charlotte, where he started 31st, and finished 41st~ Sauter won back to back ARTGO Challenge Series Championships in 1981 and 1982, along with winning the 1983 All American 400~ To help pay the bills, Sauter did Goodyear tire tests, along with Marcis~

                                       Sauter battles it out on the track with Rusty Wallace~
Jim Sauter #89 Evinrude Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog die age


     His best Cup season came in 1989, where he had 17 starts, with 2 top 10's, as well as leading 8 laps @ Rockingham~  I had the privileged of meeting Jim in what would turn out to be his final Cup race, the 1996 Goody's Headache Powder 500 @ Bristol~ His last BGN start came in the 2002 GNC Live Well 250 in Wisconsin, at the age of 59, driving for Richard Childress in the #29 Advance/Rockwell Automation Chevrolet,  he started an impressive 10th, but finished 29th due to brake issues~

    Also competing in the race, were his son's Tim, Jay and Johnny~ His final ride in a top tier NASCAR event came in the 2004 Black Cat Fireworks 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race held @ Milwaukee~ Driving the #43 Curb Records Chevrolet, fielded by Cary Agajanian, Sauter qualified 22nd, and clawed his way up to finish in 13th~

                                     Jim Sauter #89 Evinrude Outboard Motors Pontiac~
Jim Sauter #89 Evinrude Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog die age
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Jim Sauter #89 Evinrude Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog die age


    I chose to review this car today in part due to my previous post, where I had mentioned that I loved this color on a race car, and the pink and white added to the blue make it that much better~ The crisp white stripe along the bottom gives the car added eye appeal~ Also, I just really liked the body styles of the Pontiac's that Racing Champions was making at the time~ I was always amazed at the amount of drivers they would make die-casts of, with Greg Trammell's #18 Melling car being the most shocking, in my opinion~

    Jim's sons Tim, Jay, and Johnny have followed his footsteps by competing in the NASCAR circuit, while his son Jim Jr. has raced in regional events, along with his grandson Travis~ In all, at the time of his death, Sauter had 12 children, along with 51 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren~

    His son Johnny's lone 2014 win came @ Michigan, where he mentioned his father, saying "I'm just going to relish in this win because this has been a tough, tough race track for me throughout my career~ My Dad always said, 'That place is easy~' But, I never felt that way~ Until today, I mean when you have a truck like this -- it was just awesome~"

    Jim Sauter, like J.D. McDuffie was a true racer, and hard working gentleman, something the NASCAR world hasn't seen in quite some time~ Alan Kulwicki was the last to have true fame as an independent, but drivers like Sauter and Morgan Shepherd helped keep the dream of being a common man in racing alive~ Below are a few videos from Jim's career~ Enjoy~

                       **Bonus Car** Jim's #89 Handy Snacks Ford from 1993~ Custom~
Jim Sauter #89 Handy Snacks Bullseye Kraft Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993


                                                           1981 ARTGO interview~

                                                     1989 Winston 500 Sauter spin~
 
                                              1997 Myrtle Beach Sadler Sauter tangle~

                                                  Jim's final Cup race 1996 Bristol (full race)

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