Johnny Sauter pulls away for first Truck win at Charlotte
That’s three and counting for Johnny Sauter.
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As Kyle Busch and Brandon Jones raced hard for second behind him, Sauter pulled away to win Friday night’s N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for his third Camping World Truck Series victory of the 2018 season.
“Yeahhhhhhh – I won at Charlotte!” Sauter screamed over his team radio as he took the checkered flag.
The win is the 20th of his career and first at Charlotte. He’s also won at Daytona and Dover this season.
“It’s a tough place and everybody wants to win here and I never thought I’d win here,” Sauter said in Victory Lane. “I’ve good runs here and I’ve had very humbling runs here, to say the least.
“To win this race is just super special. I can’t thank everyone at GMS Racing enough. It was a team effort. I was worried about out pit strategy there at the beginning and then we just mowed right through (the field).”
Busch ended up winning the battle for second, Jones was third, Brett Moffitt finished fourth and Ben Rhodes completed the top-five.
“It was a great day for us,” Jones said. “It was a blast to come run this race and I think we learned some things when we come back next weekend to run the Xfinity race.”
With 22 to go, a caution was displayed for a large piece of debris on the backstretch.
Most of the lead-lap trucks remained on the track. The race returned to green with 17 laps remaining and Sauter clinging to a lead.
Matt Crafton, Todd Gilliland and Austin Wayne Self got together after the restart to bring out another caution. Sauter led the way again on the restart with 10 laps to go. He was followed by Haley and Busch.
John Hunter Nemechek held off Busch to claim the Stage 2 victory.
Moffitt finished third, Gilliland was fourth and Sauter completed the top-five.
“We’ve got pretty good speed here,” Sauter said of his No. 21 Chevrolet.
Following some pit stops during the break between Stages 1 and 2, Moffitt stayed on the track and remained in the lead when Stage 2 went green on Lap 38.
On Lap 44, Nemechek got around Moffitt to the take the lead for the first time in the race with Haley close behind in third.
With nine of 30 laps remaining in the stage, Busch moved into second behind Nemechek as Moffitt dropped to third.
Moffitt, on new tires, took the lead with two of 30 laps remaining and claimed the Stage 1 victory.
“I got to credit that stage win to the pit crew. They got us close to the front,” Moffitt said during the break. We’ve got a hell of a chip on our shoulders. We want this tonight.”
Haley finished second, Sauter third, Dalton Sargeant and Nemechek completed the top-five.
Sauter, who started from the pole when qualifying was rained out, took the early lead in the race.
On Lap 10, Gragson moved into the lead as Sauter slipped to second followed by Busch.
With 10 laps remaining, Gragson moved out to a more than one-second lead over Sauter,
On Lap 22, caution was displayed for debris on the track after Grant Enfinger made contact with the wall. Sauter elected not to pit and remained in the lead on the restart on Lap 27.
He was followed by Austin Hill and Self, who both also remained on the track. Moffitt, in fourth, was the first truck that pit for tires. Gragson had to restart from the rear of the field after being penalized for speeding on pit road.
In one lap, Moffitt took over the lead.
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