Family patriarch and veteran racer Jim Sauter passes away at 71

Jim Sauter (right center) poses with sons Jay, Tim and Johnny Sauter.

Kevin Kane/WireImage

Sauter, who recorded four top-10 finishes over 76 starts in what is now the Sprint Cup Series and won multiple championships as a short-track racer in the Midwest, is the father of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter.

Jim Sauter’s other sons — Tim, Jay and Jim Jr. — also followed in their father’s footsteps with racing careers of their own. None of Sauter’s seven daughters are involved in racing.

A native of Necedah, Wis., the elder Sauter made starts in each of NASCAR’s three major series, but is perhaps best known for his role as a test driver for the now-abandoned International Race of Champions, which featured top drivers from different genres of motorsports competing on the same track for an annual championship.

Sauter raced on a limited basis in what was then known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the 1980s and 1990s. As an independent driver with limited funds, he conducted Goodyear tire tests to help pay the bills and support his racing endeavors.