Johnny Sauter Secures NASCAR Truck Series Championship Shot With Martinsville Win
Sauter claimed his sixth NASCAR Truck Series win of 2018 and his fourth career Martinsville victory.
Johnny Sauter kicked off the second round of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs with a win Saturday in the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway. With the victory, Sauter clinched a berth to compete for the 2018 championship in next month’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Just so proud of everybody,” Sauter said. “It’s a good day to be in a Chevrolet. Pit stops were awesome. We’re going to Homestead to race for a championship. That’s what it’s all about.”
Fellow playoff driver Brett Moffitt finished second.
Sauter dominated the race before taking his sixth win of 2018 and his fourth at Martinsville. After taking the lead from pole sitter Todd Gilliland on Lap 40, he led most of the remainder of the 200-lap race. Gilliland led the first 39 laps before giving up the top spot to pit during the first caution for a Chad Finley spit.
Sauter inherited the lead by staying out. He and other playoff drivers, including Noah Gragson, Grant Enfinger, and Matt Crafton, stayed out during the first caution and, again, during the second caution that signaled the end of the opening stage at Lap 50.
"Track position just seems to be the name of the game here any more,” Sauter said. “This is a a big win."
Sauter was up front at the end of both 50-lap stages that made up the first half of the race before making his first and only pit stop after the second stage ended at Lap 100.
Kyle Benjamin gained several positions by staying out after the second stage after making a stop during a Lap 62 caution for a Stewart Friesen spin. He restarted with the lead, but when the race returned to green, Sauter returned to the front.
Sauter also lost the lead briefly when Myatt Snider took the top spot on a restart as Grant Enfinger spun around Lap 160 to bring out another caution, the sixth and final caution of the race. But like Benjamin before him, Snider lost the lead to Sauter when the race restarted.
Both Snider and Benjamin remained in the top-five for the remainder of the race to finish third and fifth, respectively.
TEXAS ROADHOUSE 200 RESULTS:
1. Johnny Sauter, No. 21 Chevrolet
2. Brett Moffitt, No. 16 Toyota
3. Myatt Snider, No. 13 Ford
4. Ben Rhodes, No. 41 Ford
5. Kyle Benjamin, No. 17 Toyota
6. Justin Haley, No. 24 Chevrolet
7. Noah Gragson, No. 18 Toyota
8. Harrison Burton, No. 51 Toyota
9. Christian Eckes, No. 46 Toyota
10. Timothy Peters, No. 23 Chevrolet
11. Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Chevrolet
12. Todd Gilliland, No. 4 Toyota
13. Matt Crafton, No. 88 Ford
14. Grant Enfinger, No. 98 Ford
15. Jeb Burton, No. 30 Toyota
16. Parker Kligerman, No. 75 Chevrolet
17. Tyler Dippel, No. 24 Chevrolet
18. Tyler Ankrum, No. 54 Toyota
19. Sheldon Creed, No. 2 Chevrolet
20. Austin Hill, No. 02 Chevrolet
21. Chase Purdy, No. 99 Chevrolet
22. Kyle Donahue, No. 63 Chevrolet
23. Austin Wayne Shelf, No. 22 Chevrolet
24. Dawson Cram, No. 83 Chevrolet
25. D.J. Kennington, No. 49 Chevrolet
26. Jordan Anderson, No. 3 Chevrolet
27. Justin Fontaine, No. 45 Chevrolet
28. Brad Foy, No. 15 Chevrolet
29. Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Chevrolet
30. John Hunter Nemechek, No. 8 Chevrolet
31. Tanner Thorson, No. 20 Chevrolet
32. Chad Finley, No. 33 Chevrolet
UP NEXT: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will continue Nov. 2 at Texas Motor Speedway. The Texas race will be the third to last race of the 2018 season. Johnny Sauter won the last two Truck Series races at TMS and three of the last four.