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Sauer getting hang of ‘Junior NASCAR’ racing

Michael Sauer (left) talks with his wife, Carmen, who serves as his crew chief, as he waits to test his car on the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

Michael Sauer (left) talks with his wife, Carmen, who serves as his crew chief, as he waits to test his car on the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

HAMPTON — Michael Sauer learned that looks can be deceiving.

His first impression of a Thursday Thunder Legends car was that it would be easy to drive.

After racing Formula One cars in his native Germany, Sauer decided to give Legend cars a try once he arrived in the United State in 2001.

His impression now?

“There is no comparison between the two cars,” Sauer said Wednesday evening inside the garage at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “From the looks of it (Legend cars), it looks easy, but its not.”

He is learning his way around the track in the car, as his schedule doesn’t allow him to race each week at AMS’s Thursday Thunder. He has only participated in one race this season going into Thursday’s double feature races.

Sauer with his wife, Carmen, who serves as his crew chief, was at the track testing his car.

“I don’t know anything about the car, other than how to drive it,” he said. “Carmen is the crew chief. She gets it ready.”

This is only his second season of racing in the grassroots summer series. Last year, he had one race at AMS, finishing 11th in Week 7 of Thursday Thunder in the Masters division.

Because of his work schedule in commercial real estate, Sauer was able to race full-time in the Winter Flurry series at the track. He finished fifth in the 12-driver Masters division this season with five of his races netting a top five finish.

“Once I started racing these cars, I fell in love with it,” he said. “It is very competitive out here.”

But there is one major difference he says between Formula One racing and the “junior NASCAR league” that makes a difference.

“The people out here are very nice and helpful,” he said. “In Formula One, it they see you doing something wrong, they just laugh and talk about you. Out here, drivers come up and offer advice. It has been a wonderful experience.”

Martin Synder calls him a good competitor.

“He is a great guy,” said Synder, who is in his first season as a Thursday Thunder driver. “He is competitive. These cars are a lot faster than they seem.”

And Sauer has learned that lesson. He has had a few bumps during the learning process.

“This is very challenging and the cars are unforgiving,” Sauer said. “You learn that you brain, and dumb right foot connection goes through your wallet.”

Aside from the learning curve, Sauer said racing has been “extremely fun” for him and his wife.

They are in the process of buying a new car, and securing more sponsorship. He said iCap Realty Advisors has been his main sponsor this season.

Since moving to Atlanta from Germany, Sauer said he has learned to appreciate NASCAR driving. Besides

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