Johnny Sauter Spanked the Youngsters to Take Texas Roadhouse 200
MARTINSVILLE, VA – RIS Rookie Todd Gilliland started from the pole position of the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway, but 40 year-old veteran Johnny Sauter led three times in the #21 GMS Racing / ISM Connect Chevrolet for a total of 148 of the 200 laps to take his fourth victory at the famous paper clip shaped half mile track in southern Virginia. Sauter finished first in all stages of this race on his road to domination over the field during a race that was completed in only 1 hour, 31 minutes and five seconds. Sauter has now won 23 times in 241 Camping World Truck Series races.
Crossing the finish line in second position, 4.572 seconds behind Sauter, was Brett Moffitt in the #16 AWN N.C./AISIN Group Toyota. Myatt Snider finished third and was the highest finishing rookie of the race. Rounding out the top five were Ben Rhodes (#41) and Kyle Benjamin (#17).
Perhaps it was the lack of practice that resulted in a slightly calmer race than normal as far as wrecks and cautions were concerned. The competition was tight and the battles were many, but the race was slowed only six times for a total of 43 laps under caution. Two of the cautions for a total of 19 laps were for the end of stages 1 and 2.
There were a total of five lead changes among four drivers. Pole winner Todd Gilliland led laps 38-43, Sauter then took over to lead laps 40-105 until Kyle Benjamin led the field for laps 106-111. The later half of the race was dominated by Johnny Sauter who led laps 112-159 and the final portion of the race laps 167-200. Myatt Snider did push around Sauter once to lead laps 160-166.
The hottest contest of the race burst forth as the race went back green on lap 160 when Myatt Snider charged to the inside lane on the restart and rooted underneath Johnny Sauter’s #21 entering turn 1 and grabbed the lead before the pack piled up in turns one and two behind them bringing out the sixth and final caution of the race. Myatt was credited with the lead position but Sauter quickly battled back into the lead after the restart and was not challenged the remainder of the laps to the finish.
Regarding the lack of practice for the race, Sauter said that crew chief Joe Shear Jr. had to “go back to old faithful set-up”. Continuing his description of the track, Sauter declared that Martinsville is “one of the toughest places we go to. Not to drive, but to get everything to work out”. Well, work out it did. Sauter now leads the point standings by 29 over Noah Gragson who finished seventh in the race.
The next race for the trucks series is November 2, 2018 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Staff Writer and editor for RIS since 2001. Been attending NASCAR and stock car races since my dad starting taking me in 1960 at the age of 5.