O’Reilly Auto Parts 500


FORT WORTH, Texas (November 4, 2016) – Johnny Sauter is threatening to turn the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase into a one-man show.

Sauter’s victory in Friday night’s Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway was his second in the Round of 6 that will determine which four drivers compete for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 18.

Sauter secured the first berth in the Championship 4 via his victory last Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. Friday night, Sauter passed two-time series champion Matt Crafton and his No. 88 DampRid/Menards Toyota on Lap 145 of the scheduled 147 en route to a margin of victory of 0.836-seconds. Sauter, who led only six laps, scored his third victory of the season and third at Texas Motor Speedway.

“This is amazing,” said Sauter, driver of the No. 21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet fielded by GMS Racing, LLC. “I can’t thank the Gallagher family enough for giving me this opportunity. This truck was awesome on long runs. Awesome pit stops, the whole deal. Feel very lucky to be here.”

Non-Chaser Daniel Hemric finished third in the No. 19 Blue Gate Bank Ford. Non-Chasers Tyler Reddick finished fourth in the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford with Daniel Suarez placing fifth in the No. 51 ARRIS Toyota.

Sauter, who swept the truck series races at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012, leads the standings by 20 points over William Byron, who won the Rattlesnake 400 in June. Byron finished sixth in the No. 9 Liberty University Toyota. Christopher Bell, Byron’s Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, is third in the standings and only one point behind Byron and 21 points back of Sauter after an 11th-place finish in the No. 4 JBL Toyota.

Crafton is fourth in the standings, 24 points behind the leader. Fellow-Chaser Timothy Peters finished 14th in the No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota and is fifth in points, 25 behind the leader.  And Chaser Ben Kennedy, who finished 13th in the No. 33 Jacob Chevrolet, is 37 points behind Sauter.

Crafton appeared headed to his third series victory here after taking the lead from Sauter on a restart on Lap 130 following the race’s third caution clock expiration. Sauter fell to third, behind Hemric, before rallying into second on Lap 144.

“It was all about these guys on pit road just having great, great pit stops,” said Crafton, who led once for 15 laps. “We were just off all night. I got drove into the fence off Turn 2 and the right-rear tail is moved over quite a bit and we got really freed-up off the corner. I was trying to manage and trying to manage and with about four (laps) to go I just got really free and I was like, ”˜Oh boy!’”

Recapping Crafton’s pass on the last restart, Sauter said, “A lot of times in the trucks on a mile-and-a-half the top is the preferred groove. The key to this place is it’s getting pretty rough, the track itself. Right away we drove into Turn 1 and bounced”¦and we (crew chief Joe Shear Jr.) talked about how we’ve got to keep the splitter on the ground. If you start skipping the splitter off the racetrack the only option is to lift off the throttle and you lose momentum. Our strong suit all day was running the top in (Turns) 3 and 4.”

Sauter scored his 13th career victory in 196 truck series starts while posting his 17th top-10 finish of 2016. The winning average speed was 148.291 mph.

“We’ve been very consistent all year”¦we haven’t set a blazing trail, so to speak,” said Sauter, a 38-year-old native of Wisconsin who now has led 29 total laps at TMS. “Tonight I was able to throw caution to the wind. It’s kind of cool to have that confidence.”

Polesitter Spencer Gallagher, Sauter’s GMS Racing teammate, led a race-high 88 laps but saw his victory chances evaporate during that final pit stop. Gallagher entered pit road with the lead but the No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevy exited in seventh after taking on four Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel.

The final two championship slots will be determined at Phoenix International Raceway next weekend.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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