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NASCAR Truck: Johnny Sauter gets first win at Dover

Johnny Sauter celebrates in victory lane at Dover International Speedway after winning the Bar Harbor 200 Presented by Sea Watch International on June 2, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Johnny Sauter celebrates in victory lane at Dover International Speedway after winning the Bar Harbor 200 Presented by Sea Watch International on June 2, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Johnny Sauter claimed his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of 2017 Friday with his victory in the Bar Harbor 200 Presented by Sea Watch International. He also grew his championship points lead by keeping his streak alive of earning points in all stages throughout the first six races of the season. He was in the top-five at the end of the 45-lap stage and still inside the top-10 at the end of stage two.
“We’ve had a phenomenal start to the season,” Sauter said. “We had the dominant truck at Daytona, led a lot of that race, and unfortunately, got torn up there at the end. Other than that, a third and three second-place finishes and a win today.”
GMS racing swept the top-two of the finishing order, with Sauter’s teammate Kaz Grala taking runner-up honors. ThorSport teammates Grant Enfinger and Ben Rhodes finished third and fourth. Rhodes led a race-high 71 laps of the 200-lap race.
“I wish we would have been able to bring it home in victory lane for these guys to give them a win and my first win,” Rhodes said. “We’ve had awesome performances all year long, and we’ve been so close, but we seem to always come up short. We were very conservative in today’s race. We started out really tight and just let the track come to us, and as it did, we picked up a lot of speed, and we were able to lead a lot of laps, but the track started changing again, and we didn’t stay on top of the adjustments, just trying to be easy with it and make sure we had consistent finishes.”
Friday’s race at Dover was Sauter’s first win at the track, and the laps he led after lap 168 were the first laps the reigning Truck Series champion had ever led there. When most of the race field cycled through green-flag pit stops in the final 45 laps, Sauter and Enfinger, having pitted during a lap 118 caution, went into fuel conservation mode and ran the remaining distance without additional stops.
“You know; it’s definitely a good run for us,” Enfinger said. “We needed a solid finish going into the busy part of the season, here. We haven’t got off this year to a great start, but we have all the tools to work with there. We just haven’t performed, but Jeff Hensley (crew chief) made a great call, there; got us some track position.”
Sauter took his one and only lead after the rest of the race field cycled through their final stops.
Chase Briscoe started on the pole, but lost the lead to Ryan Truex on the first lap. Truex went on to lead the first 47 laps of the race, including claiming the first-stage win.
Pit strategies varied at the end of each of the first two stages. After pitting during a previous caution, Matt Crafton stayed out between the first two stages to inherit the lead for the restart at the beginning of the second stage. After leading the remainder of stage two, he lost the lead the way he gained it when Rhodes stayed out at the end of stage two to take the lead.
Rhodes ran up front until the cycle of green-flag stops that ended with Sauter taking the lead after staying out.
Austin Cindric finished fifth. Taking sixth through 10th were Brandon Jones, Regan Smith, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson and Truex. Although posting top-10 finishes, Gragson and Truex were a lap down, losing a lap when the yellow flag waved for the eighth and final time of the race after the late-race cycle of green-flag stops.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on June 3, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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