Sauter Wins Truck Race at Texas Motor Speedway

LA Times Photo

FORT WORTH, TX - RIS - Johnny Sauter, who was so frustrated in a race at Martinsvillle Speedway a week ago, used veteran saavy to get past Austin Cindric and go on to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck race at Texas motor Speedway.

After taking over the lead on Lap 135 of 147 of the JAG Metals 350 Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief, when John Hunter Nemechek ran out of gas while leading at the end of a cycle of green-flag pit stops, Sauter kept fellow Round of 6 Playoff driver Austin Cindric behind him and crossed the finish line .170 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer.

Sauter had passed Cindric for the lead on Lap 109, charging around the outside of the No. 19 Ford into Turn 1. The drivers ran 1-2 until they pitted on Lap 117 to start the pit stop cycle. Attempting to stretch fuel mileage, Nemechek ran out of gas 12 laps short and saw his championship hopes dim considerably.

Sauter won the Playoff race at Texas for the second year in a row and the fourth time overall. With his third win of the season, he raised his career victory total to 16 in the series and guaranteed a run for the title at Homestead.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Sauter, who celebrated the birth of a daughter, his third child, earlier in the week. “I was actually pretty worried about our truck after qualifying – it was pretty loose. And all we did was lower the track bar a half-round.”

Sauter said after the race he would like to think the season is following the same course as last year, but he’d prefer to stay in the moment.

“I’m a realist, and I know you have to execute,” Sauter said. “Yes, this is looking a lot like it did last year, shaping up like it is. Honestly, this is our third win this year. I think we should have six or seven right now…

“We’ve got to be humble and stay nose to the grindstone, so to speak. You can’t let your guard down.”

The 19-year-old Cindric felt he ran the best race of his career on a mile-and-a-half track, but he couldn’t find a way around the 39-year-old Sauter at the end.

“I think it was youth versus experience tonight, and experience won, in more ways than one,” said Cindric, who moved into fourth place in the standings with the cut to four Championship 4 drivers looming next Friday at Phoenix.

“Johnny taught me a few things, but he basically taught me while he passed me for the race win.”

Bell owns a four-point lead over Sauter in the series standings, with two-time champion Matt Crafton 31 points back in third.

Trouble on a late pit stop dropped Ben Rhodes to 18th at the finish and out of the top four in the standings. Nemechek ran 19th and, for practical purposes, must win next Friday at Phoenix to advance to the Championship 4 race.

Sauter said after the race he would like to think the season is following the same course as last year, but he’d prefer to stay in the moment.

“I’m a realist, and I know you have to execute,” Sauter said. “Yes, this is looking a lot like it did last year, shaping up like it is. Honestly, this is our third win this year. I think we should have six or seven right now…

“We’ve got to be humble and stay nose to the grindstone, so to speak. You can’t let your guard down.”

The 19-year-old Cindric felt he ran the best race of his career on a mile-and-a-half track, but he couldn’t find a way around the 39-year-old Sauter at the end.

“I think it was youth versus experience tonight, and experience won, in more ways than one,” said Cindric, who moved into fourth place in the standings with the cut to four Championship 4 drivers looming next Friday at Phoenix.

“Johnny taught me a few things, but he basically taught me while he passed me for the race win.”

Bell owns a four-point lead over Sauter in the series standings, with two-time champion Matt Crafton 31 points back in third.

Trouble on a late pit stop dropped Ben Rhodes to 18th at the finish and out of the top four in the standings. Nemechek ran 19th and, for practical purposes, must win next Friday at Phoenix to advance to the Championship 4 race.

Total Race Length - 147 Laps - 220.5 Miles
Fin Str Trk Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 4 21 Johnny Sauter (P) ISMConnect Chevrolet 147 2 9 51 Running 2 21 5
2 6 19 Austin Cindric # (P) Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford 147 3 7 47 Running 1 36
3 3 4 Christopher Bell (P) JBL Toyota 147 1 3 52 Running 2 20 1
4 10 29 Chase Briscoe # Cooper Standard Ford 147 33 Running 1 1
5 1 24 Justin Haley # Zeality Chevrolet 147 32 Running 1 25
6 7 33 Kaz Grala # Stealth Chevrolet 147 8 4 41 Running
7 19 98 Grant Enfinger # Ride TV Toyota 147 30 Running 1 1
8 5 16 Ryan Truex Chiba Toyopet Toyota 147 5 35 Running
9 8 88 Matt Crafton (P) Ideal Door/Menards Toyota 147 6 8 36 Running 1 5
10 2 18 Noah Gragson # Switch Toyota 147 10 1 38 Running 1 9 1
11 17 02 Austin Hill United Rentals Ford 147 9 28 Running
12 12 51 Myatt Snider Liberty Tax Service Toyota 147 7 2 38 Running 1 21
13 14 92 Regan Smith BTS Tire & Wheel/AdvncAtPrts Ford 147 24 Running
14 16 52 Stewart Friesen # Halmar International Chevrolet 147 23 Running
15 18 45 Austin Wayne Self TxsGrnSrghmBrd/AMTchnclSltns Chev 146 22 Running
16 15 13 Cody Coughlin # JEGS Toyota 145 21 Running
17 13 20 Tyler Young CNR Electric/Young's Building Systems Chevrolet 145 20 Running
18 9 27 Ben Rhodes (P) Safelite Auto Glass Toyota 145 4 6 31 Running
19 11 8 John H. Nemechek (P) ROMCO Equipment./Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet 145 5 10 25 Running 1 8
20 26 50 Josh Reaume Motorsports Safety Group Chevrolet 139 17 Running
21 21 49 Wendell Chavous # Low T Center Chevrolet 138 16 Running
22 28 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet 130 15 Running
23 29 6 Norm Benning H&H Transportation Chevrolet 92 14 Brakes
24 24 1 Jordan Anderson Barrett Cattle/Bommarito.com Chevrolet 70 13 Power
25 30 44 Ted Minor Shawn Magee Designs/Las Vegas Tribute Chevrolet 41 12 Engine
26 23 83 Patrick Emerling Fr8auctions/Cue Vapors Chevrolet 24 11 Accident
27 20 15 Gray Gaulding(i) Chevrolet 23 0 Electrical
28 27 0 Ray Ciccarelli Star Sales Chevrolet 21 9 Electrical
29 25 63 JJ Yeley(i) Fr8auctions Chevrolet 18 0 Electrical
30 31 57 Mike Senica Chevrolet 8 7 Oil Pressure
31 22 87 Joe Nemechek ROMCO Equipment Co. Chevrolet 7 6 Vibration
32 32 42 Tommy Joe Martins(i) Diamond Gusset Jeans Chevrolet 3 0 Accident
Time of Race: 01 Hrs, 40 Mins, 42 Secs. Average Speed: 131.380 MPH Margin of Victory: 0.170 Seconds

 

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2017, Issue 11, Posted 1:52 AM, 11.04.2017