Midwest racing icon, former NASCAR driver Jim Sauter passes away

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Jim Sauter, a top short-track driver from the Midwest that was the head of a successful racing family and made 76 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, passed away last night at the age of 71.

In his home region, the Wisconsin native twice captured the ARTGO Series championship (1981, 1982). He also took the checkered flag in several prestigious short-track races around the country, including the All-American 400.

During the early 1980s, Sauter began racing part-time at NASCAR’s top level. He reached a high point of 19 starts during the 1989 season, and his best career Cup finishes were a pair of ninth-place runs in 1987 (Charlotte) and 1989 (Watkins Glen).

Sauter also served as a test driver for the International Race of Champions series with fellow Wisconsin racing greats Dick Trickle and Dave Marcis.

Sauter’s last NASCAR national series event came in the Camping World Truck Series’ 2004 race at the Milwaukee Mile, where he finished 13th.

One of his four sons, Johnny Sauter, currently races in the Truck Series for ThorSport Racing. His other three sons – Jim Jr., Tim, and Jay – as well as a grandson, Travis, have also carved out their own racing careers.

The passing of Jim Sauter has triggered an outpouring of sympathy from many figures within the NASCAR community…

Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Sauter family at this time…

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.