Sauter scores first win of 2017 after strategy puts him in the lead
Reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter picked up his first win of the season Friday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Sauter held off GMS Racing teammate Kaz Grala to win the Bar Harbor 200, Sauter’s first win of the season, 14th of his career at first at Dover.
A round of green-flag pit stops got interrupted on Lap 171 of 200 when a wheel came off Chase Briscoe’s No. 29 Ford, which brought out a caution.
Sauter was among those who did not need to pit for fuel, remained on the track and inherited the lead on the restart on Lap 176.
“There are just some days when you wake up and you feel like it’s not going to be your and things don’t seem to be clicking. I felt like we were off a little bit all weekend,” said Sauter, who had finished second in the series’ last three races.
“I’m so proud of everybody at GMS – a 1-2 finish today. What a great (pit) call to try to make it to the finish on fuel. Pit stops were great today. It’s just unbelievable after three second-place finishes to get a win.
“I’m so proud of my guys.”
Watch video of Sauter's win by clicking below on the image:
Grala restarted fourth on the final restart and closed the distance considerably in the final laps, moving into second, but could not attempt a pass.
“We were close. The handling on my truck was pretty good at the end,” Grala said. “These races are about track position and clean air and we had both.”
Grant Enfinger finished third, Ben Rhodes was fourth and Austin Cindric finished fifth – a career-best in his rookie season.
During the break between Stages 2 and 3, many of the lead-lap cars elected to pit, but several remained on the track, including Rhodes who took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 100.
He was followed by Jesse Little, Harrison Burton, Briscoe and Sauter.
Matt Crafton claimed the win in the second Stage of the race when an incident involving John Hunter Nemechek, Parker Kligerman and T.J. Bell erupted on the final lap and placed the race under caution.
It was Crafton’s first Stage win of the season.
“It was good to get that win and lead a few laps” Crafton said. “We have a little bit of work to do to get the win.”
Crafton led on a restart with two laps remaining and was working to hold off Truex when Nemechek triggered the accident.
Rhodes finished third, Todd Gilliland was fourth and Cindric rounded out the top-five in the segment.
During the break between Stages 1 and 2, many of the lead-lap trucks pit for fuel and tires but several stayed out with Crafton taking over the lead on the start of segment on Lap 54.
Truex pit and restarted 12th but quickly made his way to the front.
Truex took the lead on the first lap and led the entire way to win the first Stage of Friday’s race, easily holding off Briscoe.
Little finished third, Sauter fourth and Noah Gragson rounded out the top-five of the first segment.
“The track’s changed a little bit. Our truck is fast, man – it’s fun to drive,” Truex said. “I’m actually using something I learned from watching Kyle Busch.”
On Lap 37, Christopher Bell – who was second in points entering the race – had a tire going down and was attempting to reach pit road but got involved in an accident, which brought an abrupt end to his day.
Truex continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 41.
|9||18||Noah Gragson||Toyota||199||1 lap|
|10||16||Ryan Truex||Toyota||199||1 lap||47|
|11||88||Matt Crafton||Toyota||199||1 lap||46|
|12||29||Chase Briscoe||Ford||199||1 lap||4|
|13||51||Harrison Burton||Toyota||198||2 laps|
|14||97||Jesse Little||Toyota||198||2 laps|
|15||66||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet||197||3 laps|
|16||13||Cody Coughlin||Toyota||197||3 laps|
|17||44||Matt Mills||Chevrolet||196||4 laps|
|18||50||Cody Ware||Chevrolet||190||10 laps|
|19||49||Wendell Chavous||Chevrolet||118||82 laps|
|20||46||Todd Gilliland||Toyota||116||84 laps|
|21||75||Parker Kligerman||Toyota||96||104 laps|
|22||8||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||91||109 laps|
|23||45||T.J. Bell||Chevrolet||89||111 laps|
|24||1||Jordan Anderson||Chevrolet||82||118 laps|
|25||4||Christopher Bell||Toyota||35||165 laps|
|26||6||Norm Benning||Chevrolet||27||173 laps|
|27||02||Austin Hill||Ford||22||178 laps|
|28||52||Stewart Friesen||Chevrolet||20||180 laps|
|29||36||J.J. Yeley||Chevrolet||16||184 laps|
|30||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevrolet||12||188 laps|
|31||83||Todd Peck||Chevrolet||4||196 laps|
|32||63||Camden Murphy||Chevrolet||4||196 laps|
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