Jim Sauter drove this Dodge (which belonged to Dave Marcis) to victory in the 1978 ARCA Daytona race.
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Jim Sauter was a pioneer of short-track racing throughout Wisconsin. He raced against greats like Dick Trickle, Mark Martin, and Alan Kulwicki.
NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dave Marcis asked Sauter to drive his Dodge in the 1978 Daytona ARCA 200. Marcis previously raced in ARCA before making his way to Cup.
1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Bruce Hill won the pole with a time of 48. 343 seconds (186.17 mph).
Grant Adcox, the 1986 race winner, started alongside, with Sauter in his #02 Dodge in third.
Canadian driver Earl Ross was in the race as well, who grabbed his only Cup win at Martinsville in 1974.
The race had a high attrition rate, with only ten cars at the finish. The 1978 ARCA 200 came down to Hill and Sauter in the final laps. To say the race was eventful in the end was an understatement. It was a thriller.
The two drivers duked it out on the last lap, giving neither an inch. Both made contact, with Hill ending up in the wall and Sauter continuing on in the race.
As funny as it sounds, the 1978 ARCA 200 sounded like a precursor to the 1979 Daytona 500. Sauter soldiered on and collected the biggest victory of his career.
“Up until then,” Sauter said in Dave Grubba’s The Golden Age of Wisconsin Auto Racing
“I never dreamed I would race on the NASCAR circuit. It wasn’t on my list of things to do. Now I know the challenge is here. The teams are awesome. It appeals to me”
And appealed he was, as Sauter went on to race in all three of NASCAR’s top three series. He made his last NASCAR National Series start in a Craftsman Truck Series race at the Milwaukee Mile in 2004, and finished a respectable 13th.
The year after the 1978 ARCA 200, President John Marcum had the last say as he denied both Sauter and Hill entry into the 1979 Daytona ARCA race. Marcum tried to sidestep the controversy, and an 18-year-old Kyle Petty went on to win the 1979 ARCA 200. Although Marcum went to further circumstances by not allowing either Hill or Sauter into the 1979 race, the 1978 ARCA 200 will go down as one of the best ARCA battles at Daytona.
1978 Daytona ARCA 200 Top Ten
- #02 Jim Sauter (driving a Dodge for Dave Marcis)
- #47 Bruce Hill (1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year)
- #90 Earl Ross (won his only Cup race at Martinsville in 1974)
- #21 Delmar Clark
- #25 Jim Hurlbert
- #78 Sandy Satullo
- #9 Gober Sosebee
- #37 Bill Clemons
- #66 Garry Sharp
- #53 John Haver