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Snowball Derby

Johnny Sauter is ‘toying around with the idea’ of returning to the Snowball Derby

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Johnny Sauter is approaching one career milestone and contemplating the pursuit of another.

The 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion was victorious on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway and automatically advanced to the Championship Race next month at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It’s the third year in a row that Sauter has raced for a championship on the final night of the season and he could end up with two in three seasons.

But last year, Sauter attempted another longstanding goal of his when he traveled down to Pensacola, Florida on the first weekend of December to compete in the Snowball Derby.

It did not go particularly well.

After spending his free time preparing a car for his Derby debut last autumn, he just made three laps in it on practice day, suffering an oil leak and crashing into the wall. He was already home before a single qualifying lap was turned two days later.

As the 2018 event nears, Sauter is open to a return.

“I’m toying with it,” Sauter said on Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “Timothy (Peters) was just showing me a picture of the new car they just bought. There are people that I know that are going down there. Stewart Friesen is going. That makes me want to go. It’s a tough deal. A lot of work, resources.

“I’ve got a guy that wants to buy my car so I’m building a new one right now. I don’t know yet. I don’t know how my wife will feel about me leaving for five or six days as soon as the season ends.”

Despite the unfortunate turn of events for Johnny last winter, the Sauter family does have a rich history in the event. Johnny’s brother Tim Sauter finished fifth in the 1997 Derby and ninth in 1998. Johnny’s father Jim also competed in the race back in 1980 with a 15th place result.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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