Johnny Sauter Wins NASCAR Truck Series Race at Bristol and Claims 2018 Regular Season Title

Johnny Sauter's win of the UNOH 200 was his fifth NASCAR Truck Series win of the season.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UHOH 200
Sarah Crabill—Getty Images

Johnny Sauter capped off the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season with a win Thursday night in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. The win was Sauter’s first at Bristol but his fifth overall of 2018 and garnered him the honor of regular-season champion.

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Johnny Sauter tops in 2018 regular season

Johnny Sauter hoists the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular-season champion's trophy after winning the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 16, 2018.

“I‘m so proud of this team,” Sauter said. “I knew we had a great truck today. What a way to cap off the regular season with a win. I had to race really hard with the 52 [Stewart Friesen] there for a while, which was exciting.”

Stewart Friesen finished second to Sauter. It was his third second-place finish of the season and the fourth-career runner-up showing for the driver still looking for his first-career win in the Truck Series.

“That was probably the most fun I‘ve had all year,” Friesen said. “Bumping and grinding, and no better guys to race with than John Hunter [Nemechek]  and Johnny. We‘ll take it and move on.”

John Hunter Nemechek finished third after leading 104 of the 200 laps that made up the race. He also won both of the 55-lap stages. After Christopher Bell started on the pole and led the first 31 laps, Nemechek began to dominate the race with his first lead on a Lap 32 restart.

Nemechek didn’t pit along with most of his fellow competitors between the first two stages, waiting instead until the end of Stage 2. Sauter got out of the pits first after the second stage, while Nemechek came off fourth. Noah Gragson took the lead from Sauter on the restart, but on Lap 131, Sauter was back up front and Nemechek in second.

Nemechek led again for a few laps late in the race before Sauter took his final lead on Lap 196, and Friesen also got by Nemechek for second.

Since Bristol didn’t produce a new race winner, the three drivers in position to make the playoffs on points—Matt Crafton, Friesen and Grant Enfinger—did so, joining race winners Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Gragson, Justin Haley and Ben Rhodes to make up the eight-driver 2018 playoff field. Crafton and Enfinger also posted top-10 finishes, finishing eighth and 10th respectively.

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2018 NASCAR Truck Series playoff field set

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2018 playoff drivers (L to R) Noah Gragson, Matt Crafton, Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Justin Haley, Stewart Friesen and Johnny Sauter with the series championship trophy at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 16, 2018

UNOH 200 RESULTS:
1. Johnny Sauter, No. 21 Chevrolet
2. Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Chevrolet
3. John Hunter Nemechek, No. 8 Chevrolet
4. Parker Kligerman, No. 75 Chevrolet
5. Todd Gilliland, No. 4 Toyota
6. Justin Haley, No. 24 Chevrolet
7. Ben Rhodes, No. 41 Ford
8. Matt Crafton, No. 88 Ford
9. Noah Gragson, No. 18 Toyota
10. Grant Enfinger, No. 90 Ford
11. Dalton Sargeant, No. 25 Chevrolet
12. Ross Chastain, No. 38 Chevrolet
13. Austin Wayne Self, No. 22 Chevrolet
14. Tanner Thorson, No. 20 Chevrolet
15. Riley Herbst, No. 54 Toyota
16. Codie Rohrbaugh, No. 9 Chevrolet
17. Stefan Parsons, No. 15 Chevrolet
18. Brett Moffitt, No. 16 Toyota
19. Cody Coughlin, No. 2 Chevrolet
20. Clay Greenfield, No. 68 Chevrolet
21. Austin HIll, No. 02 Chevrolet
22. Jordan Anderson, No. 3 Chevrolet
23. Wendell Chavous, No. 49 Chevrolet
24. Justin Fontaine, No. 45 Chevrolet
25. Cory Roper, No. 04 Ford
26. Jesse Little, No. 97 Ford
27. Korbin Forrister, No. 7 Toyota
28. Christopher Bell, No. 51 Toyota
29. Myatt Snider, No. 13 Ford
30. Chad Finley, No. 42 Chevrolet
31. Scott Lagasse Jr., No. 30 Toyota
32.Bayley Currey, No. 83 Chevrolet

UP NEXT:
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series begins its seven-race playoff August 26 with its only road-course race of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Austin Cindric is the defending winner of the Truck Series race at the track. In five previous series races there, none of the 2018 Truck Series regulars have won.