Johnny Sauter Locked Into Championship 4 With Texas NASCAR Playoff Winby Hunter Thomas November 3, 2017
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Johnny Sauter led the final 13 laps and won the Jag Metals 350 Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. The win locks Sauter and his GMS Racing team into the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR Playoff contender, John Hunter Nemechek ran out of gas with 13 laps to go, surrendering the lead to Sauter who held off a hard charging Austin Cindric to capture his third win of the season. Sauter entered the weekend as the defending winner of the race. He has now won four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Texas Motor Speedway.
“I’ve just got to thank everyone at GMS on our ISM Connect Chevrolet,” Sauter said. “This marks Hendrick horsepower’s 400th win tonight. Now we look to Homestead to try and win another championship.”
Austin Cindric finished second, missing out on his chance to lock his self into the Championship 4, but he’s now five points above the Championship 4 cutoff with one race remaining. In the closing laps on Friday, the Brad Keselowski Racing driver caught Sauter, but he just wasn’t able to get alongside of him to challenge for the race lead. Cindric led a race high of 36 laps.
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christopher Bell finished third. The NASCAR Playoff driver won Stage 1 and led 20 laps throughout the night. He currently leads the standings by four points over Sauter.
“Our JBL Tundra was plenty good enough to win the race, just didn’t work out today,” Bell said. “I don’t know, maybe I could have attacked pit road a little bit harder, been a little bit more aggressive getting up to speed, but yeah, that was the race right there, just not beating those guys off – off pit road.”
Chase Briscoe and pole sitter, Justin Haley rounded out the top-five.
Kaz Grala finished sixth, followed by Grant Enfinger, Ryan Truex, Matt Crafton and Noah Gragson.
Throughout the 147-lap race, there were three accidents that brought out the caution flag.
The first caution came out on lap five when Tommy Joe Martins crashed hard in Turn 2 and then ricocheted into the inside wall on the backstretch.
Patrick Emerling spun and hit the inside wall on the backstretch to bring out the caution on lap 27.
On lap 59 while battling for position, Sauter made contact with the back on Haley’s truck, sending him spinning through Turn 1.
With one race to go before the cutoff to the Championship 4, Christopher Bell leads the standings, followed by Johnny Sauter (-4), Matt Crafton (-31), Austin Cindric (-50), Ben Rhodes (-55) and John Hunter Nemechek (-89).
The Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday, November 10.
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway