Johnny Sauter was able to make a pass with two laps to go to sail into victory lane in the Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway. This is Sauter’s second win in a row, and GMS Racing’s third win in a row.
“I knew we had a good truck today. In qualifying, everyone was just so discouraged and hanging their heads a little bit. It felt really good. we just kept working on it all night. I tried to give it away there on that last restart. I couldn’t get going. I had to wait for the pressures to get up, and it went,” said Sauter in post-race victory lane.
The first half of the race saw Spencer Gallagher get an early lead on the opening lap. Despite the early lead, Daniel Hemric and Gallagher set sail from the field as they battled for third on back. As the opening laps began to unravel, the field began to settle down early on. As the opening green flag run continued. Hemric was able to slowly move toward the front, but Gallagher changed his line to pull ahead. Tommy Joe Martins hit the wall, but the field remained green. Before the expiration of time on the caution clock, Gallagher had over a one second lead over Hemric. As the field hit pit road, Hemric was able to gain the lead. As the race restarted, Hemric was able to get an advantage, but was able to pull away as Gallagher and Christopher Bell battled for second. Bell was the victor of the battle. However, Gallagher was able to gain the momentum to pass Bell. As the race reached the halfway point, Hemric was the race leader, Gallagher was second, Bell was third, Crafton was fourth, and Sauter rounded out the top-five.
The second half of the race started with Gallagher making a move on Hemric to regain the lead. However, the caution flew on lap 82 for the expiration of the caution clock. As the leaders hit pit road for their second stops, Hemric regained the lead again from Gallagher. On the restart, Gallagher spun his tires, but was able to gain the lead as the field went into turn three. Gallagher was unable to pull away from the field as Bell remained on his bumper. Bell was racing Gallagher for the lead, but got loose as they hit lapped traffic. Bell lost one spot, but was able to gain it back quickly. As Gallagher and Sauter settled into their respoective positions, Hemric and Bell battled for the third position. As the laps winded down, the caution clock expired for the third time with 22 laps remaining. As Gallagher had an elongated stop, Sauter was able to gain the lead off pit road. On the restart, Sauter and Crafton were side by side going into one, but Crafton gained the advantage. Hemric and Sauter continued to battle for position, but Sauter was able to pass Hemric to catch Crafton’s bumper with less than five laps to go. With two laps to go, Sauter regained the lead from Crafton after passing him on the high side. Sauter gained the victory, Crafton finished second, Hemric finished third, Tyler Reddick finished fourth, and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five.
The race experienced three cautions due to the caution clock for a total of 12 laps.. There were seven lead changes among four drivers. Sauter led six laps, Crafton led 15 laps, Hemric led 38 laps, and Gallagher led the most laps at 88.
With his win tonight, Sauter made two positions at Homestead-Miami Speedway to be filled through points. With his second place finish despite hitting the wall, Crafton holds a one point advantage going to Phoenix over Timothy Peters in the Chase Grid. Ben Kennedy, who had an ill handling truck all night, is 13 points way from the cutoff line. Sauter holds the top seed going into Homestead with two wins, William Byron has a five point cushion over the cut line, and Bell has a four point cushion on the cut line.
The Camping World Truck Series returns to competition at Phoenix International Raceway next Friday for the Lucas Oil 150. The race will begin at 10 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.