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November 17, 2017

Austin Cindric

Johnny Sauter

Homestead, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We're going to begin our post‑race media availabilities for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200. We're joined by our third‑place finisher Johnny Sauter, driver of the No.21. Johnny, ran up close to the front there all night. Just kind of talk us through your race.
JOHNNY SAUTER: Yeah, we just started the race way too free, the loosest I had been in I can't remember how long. It's been a long time. You know, we made some good adjustments on the first stop with our ISM Connect Chevy. The guys did a good job, and I had a little bit better fire‑off speed on the next restart, but it just eventually would just go away on me. It would just die. Just way too free, especially corner exit, which is crazy.
You know, I could never commit to the top. I'd have to drive in straight and shallow into the corners because it was so free, and then I could make really good time doing that using a little bit of brake and then just part throttle and up off the corner.
At one point there with like 25, 30 to go we were actually running quicker than the 4, I just didn't have anything left. I just absolutely could not touch the throttle on the corner exit. But we gave it all we had, and when it comes down to one race like this, that's what you've got.
Just needed to be one spot better, I guess. Proud of everybody's effort at GMS. Everybody did a good job, just got a little bit of work to do.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by the driver of the No.19 Ford, Austin Cindric. Fifth‑place finish tonight. Talk us through your race.
AUSTIN CINDRIC: Yeah, actually a lot of my comments when it comes to our race truck actually sound a lot like Johnny. I could never really find myself committing myself to the top until it came to about 10 to go where I said it didn't matter because I'm in fourth, so I've got to run down Crafton.
But yeah, super loose all night. Awesome on short run speed, so I felt like if we were able to get a restart there, put on tires, I thought we were going to be some form of a threat. I'm over the moon for the guys on the 29 at BKR. To finish out that era on a win is massive, and I'm so excited, excited to get third in the championship after the climb we've had. We've scratched and clawed and fought our way up and did the same thing tonight. I love racing for BKR, and I couldn't think of any other better way to finish it out other than winning a championship. Obviously I'm racing the best in the business, and I've still got a lot to learn. Had a lot of fun tonight. First time I've had to pedal a car in a mile‑and‑a‑half. I've got a few more things to put in the memory bank, and hopefully this performance will help me solidify some stuff for next year.

Q. Austin, how do you feel like this momentum you had at the end of the season is going to help you get that deal for next year?
AUSTIN CINDRIC: Yeah, just to be in the playoffs and just to be in the Final Four I think it's a huge step forward for me. Obviously it puts a lot of eyes on you in high‑pressure situations, and lots of team owners want to know how their driver is going to work in a high‑pressure situation, and I think we executed as well as we possibly could have all throughout the playoffs. Looking back at every race, even getting caught up in incidents, even getting dumped, we'd still come back, finish in the top 10, finish as good as we could have, getting the most out of our race truck. So that's the most I could ask for, and like I said, I think next year is still a bit of a work in progress, but I'd love to be on the NASCAR circuit and doing as many races as I can, and obviously this place is a lot of fun, so hopefully I can come back next year and be racing for a championship in some form of something and be able to have the same experience we had tonight and use that experience I learned today.

Q. Johnny, you were able to outlast Bell last year. He's been pretty strong this year. Is he doing anything differently this year than he did last year?
JOHNNY SAUTER: Well, hmm, I don't know. I don't know the inner workings of their program. I don't know what they're doing differently. Obviously he's getting smarter. And I think honestly him winning that XFINITY race I believe probably gave him a big boost confidence‑wise. I was a little worried about that when he did that.
But that's life. I mean, he's obviously driving a great truck. That truck has been very fast over the last four or five years no matter who's driven it. You know, but he did a good job and took care of his stuff, and obviously he was way too loose here last year, after I watched the replay of the race from last year. And this year they said that he was too tight on the radio all night. Obviously he learned and did good there.
You know, they've got a good program, and he did a good job. Just it's a bummer coming up one spot short to him, but that's the way it goes.

Q. Johnny, earlier today it was announced you were returning to GMS. Are you to come back working with that same group of guys next year, and are you ready to get back to Daytona and start working at it again?
JOHNNY SAUTER: Yeah, I'm pumped to be able to go back to GMS and continue to work with Chevrolet and all the great people there. We've got a great organization there, and for where they've been for the last couple years and last year obviously had a great season and this year I felt like we're even better yet, even though we didn't win the championship. So pumped up about being able to do that, and the plan is to keep the team as much intact as we possibly can. I know Joe is going to be on top of the pit box, and Beam does a great job orchestrating the stuff at the shop along with everybody else. So yeah, I feel like we'll hit the ground running when they drop the green flag at Daytona and race for another championship. That's what it's all about.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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