Johnny Sauter Continues Round Of 6 Dominance With Win In Texasby Hunter Thomas November 5, 2016
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Johnny Sauter led the final three laps en route to his victory in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Sauter, the driver of the GMS Racing No. 21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet Silverado entered the weekend coming off a win at Martinsville Speedway. He now has three wins this season. On Friday night, Sauter flew by his former teammate, Matt Crafton to take the lead on lap 145. In the closing laps, Crafton just couldn’t run the same pace as Sauter, and the two drivers finished first and second.
“This is amazing,” Sauter said in Victory Lane, “I can’t thank the Gallagher family enough for giving me this opportunity. We finally won one for Allegiant Travel and Alamo on the truck this week. Matt (Crafton) was content to keep running the bottom, and I made a couple of runs there on that restart. They got me great track position on the pit stop, and I just kept bottoming the splitter out on the short run, and I just could not fire off, and I kind of had that problem all night. I thought we put a little air in the front tires to remedy that, but Matt just kept running the bottom, and I’m like ‘well, I’m going to the top,’ and I was pretty successful on the top in (Turns) 3 and 4 all night long, just big momentum.”
As for Crafton, who drove his ThorSport Racing No. 88 DampRd/Menards Toyota Tundra to a runner-up finish, he’ll stay alive in the championship battle with just one race to go in the Round of 6. So far this season, Crafton has 14 top-10 finishes. Friday’s result marked his 21st career top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“It was all about these guys on pit just having great, great pit stops,” Crafton said. “We were just off all night. I got drove into the fence off turn two and the right-rear tail is moved over quite a bit and we got really free up off the corner. I was trying to manager and trying to manage and with about four (laps) to go I just got really free and I was like, ‘Oh boy.’ I was hoping that Johnny (Sauter) and the 19 (Daniel Hemric) raced each other a lot longer than they did. This Menards Toyota Tundra – these guys kept working all night and we made progress. In clean air it would run good for a little bit, but was slow in behind and we fought that all night.”
Brad Keselowski Racing’s Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick finished third and fourth, while Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Daniel Suarez and William Byron finished fifth and sixth respectively. Rounding out the top-10 was Spencer Gallagher, Austin Dillon, Cole Custer and Cameron Hayley.
With Sauter winning the first two races of the Round of 6, there is now only one race remaining for a driver to win his way into the Championship 4. Heading into Phoenix, Johnny Sauter is the only driver that’s safe from elimination. William Byron, who is second in the championship standings, is just five points ahead of Timothy Peters in fifth. Christopher Bell in third is four points ahead of fifth, and Matt Crafton is only one point to the good.
“We are a past winner there,” Peters said about Phoenix International Raceway. “We were doing good but I put us in a box with a speeding penalty but at that point we couldn’t make any grounds. Everybody worked hard on our Tundra with that practice we got this morning and we’ll go to Phoenix next week and defend our crown.”
The Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, November 11 will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 10 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images