NASCAR Truck: Johnny Sauter gets second-straight win
Johnny Sauter celebrates in victory lane at Texas Motor Speedway after winning the Striping Technology 350 on Nov. 4, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Johnny Sauter remains as the only winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series chase round of six, two races into the round, with his second-consecutive series win Friday night in the Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth. It was the third-straight win for GMS Racing
“This is amazing,” Sauter said. “Matt (Crafton) was content to keep running the bottom, and I made a couple of runs on that restart.”
Crafton, also one of the six remaining chase drivers, finished second.
Sauter and Crafton got off pit road in the top-two spots during the third and final caution of the race and combined to lead the final 21 laps, with Crafton running up front for 15 laps and Sauter six. Sauter restarted the race with the lead, but gave up the top spot to Crafton on the final restart. He retook the lead with two laps remaining and drove on to the win.
“We were just off all night,” Crafton said. “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.”
Before final pit stops, pole sitter Spencer Gallagher and Hemric combined to lead all laps, with Gallagher leading a race-high 88 laps. Gallagher was the race leader each time the yellow flag waved, but each time, he’d lose positions on pit road. During the first two cautions, Hemric was first off pit road to inherit the lead. And each time, Hemric would lead several laps before Gallagher would return to the front.
Hemric finished the race third, while Gallagher wound up outside the top-five in seventh. Gallagher got off pit road seventh during the final caution that came out on lap 127, the lowest he ran the entire race, and was unable to advance his position before the checkered flag.
Exactly half the remaining chasers finished in the top-10. Joining Sauter and Crafton in the top-10 was sixth-place finisher, William Byron. Drivers finishing eighth through 10th were Austin Dillon, Cole Custer and Cameron Hayley.
Two chase drivers, Ben Kennedy and Timothy Peters, had trouble during the first caution that came out on lap 39. Peters was issued a pit-road speeding penalty, while Kennedy spent extra time on pit road with the hood up on his truck as his team dealth with an engine issue. At the checkered flag, Kennedy was 13th and 14th. One other chaser, Christopher Bell, was just outside the top-10 in 11th.
The 147-lap race ran incident free, with all three cautions a result of caution-clock expirations.