Johnny Sauter takes Chicagoland Truck win as playoff grid is set
The reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion showed he’s ready for two-in-a-row.
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Johnny Sauter passed Christopher Bell with 27 of 150 laps remaining in Friday night’s TheHouse.com 225 and held off Chase Briscoe to win the regular season finale at Chicagoland Speedway.
The win is Sauter’s second of the season (he also won at Dover) and 15th of his career.
Bell finished third and will be the top seed in the Truck series playoffs. Ryan Truex was fourth and Grant Enfinger completed the top-five.
Joining Sauter and Bell in the 2017 layoffs are Matt Crafton, Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Cindric and Kaz Grala.
See the complete playoff grid after the points reset HERE.
“We had a great truck yesterday (in practice) and we were worried with the Cup guys and the Xfinity guys here, the track might change a little bit,” Sauter said in Victory Lane. “I can’t thank Hendrick horsepower enough.
“This is what we needed. This is the momentum, this is a shot in the arm. I can’t thank my guys enough – this truck was on rails tonight.”
Crafton spun on Lap 106 to bring out the caution and set what would likely be the final pit stops of the race. Briscoe was the first off pit road, followed by Bell and Truex.
Justin Haley stayed out under the caution and inherited the lead on the restart on Lap 111. Bell quickly made his way to the lead on the restart with 40 laps remaining.
Bell appeared to be in control until Sauter ran him down for the lead with 27 laps remaining.
With 15 laps remaining in the 35-lap second segment, Bell passed Briscoe to take the lead for the third time in the race and held on for the Stage 1 victory.
Briscoe ended up second, Crafton was third, Sauter was fourth and Cindric completed the top-five.
It’s the fifth Stage win of the season for Bell, the series points leader.
With about 10 laps left in Stage 2, Sauter was powering up through the field and slammed into Noah Gragson to take fifth place from the rookie.
“I just ran into that (expletive) idiot, I did it on purpose,” Sauter said over his team radio right after the incident.
After a round of pit stops before the start of the final stage, Bell led the way, followed by Crafton and Cindric.
Truex held off Sauter in a one-lap dash to claim the Stage 1 victory.
The one-lap restart was set up when a caution was displayed for Myatt Snider, leaving just one lap before the conclusion of the 35-lap stage.
“We’re we just a little but off the first stage,” Truex said during the stage break. “I feel like we’re one or two adjustments way from winning this thing.”
Rhodes finished third, Nemechek was fourth and Briscoe completed the top-five.
During pit stops between Stages 1 and 2, Rhodes was penalized for an uncontrolled tire on pit road and sent to the rear of the field on the restart.
Gray Gaulding stalled on the track to bring out the race’s first caution on Lap 4. Kevin Donahue hit the wall on Turn 2 to bring out the second caution on Lap 12.
|7||8||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||150||16.588|
|12||92||Regan Smith||Ford||149||1 lap|
|13||02||Tyler Young||Chevrolet||149||1 lap|
|14||24||Justin Haley||Chevrolet||149||1 lap||2|
|15||19||Austin Cindric||Ford||148||2 laps|
|16||88||Matt Crafton||Toyota||148||2 laps||1|
|17||45||Justin Fontaine||Toyota||148||2 laps|
|18||49||Wendell Chavous||Chevrolet||144||6 laps|
|19||50||Josh Reaume||Chevrolet||143||7 laps|
|20||44||Austin Wayne Self||Toyota||143||7 laps|
|21||1||Jordan Anderson||Chevrolet||133||17 laps|
|22||83||Camden Murphy||Chevrolet||102||48 laps|
|23||6||Norm Benning||Chevrolet||101||49 laps|
|24||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevrolet||27||123 laps|
|25||15||Gray Gaulding||Chevrolet||25||125 laps|
|26||14||Ted Minor||Chevrolet||23||127 laps|
|27||74||Mike Harmon||Chevrolet||12||138 laps|
|28||0||Tommy Regan||Chevrolet||11||139 laps|
|29||63||Kevin Donahue||Chevrolet||10||140 laps|
|30||36||B.J. McLeod||Chevrolet||10||140 laps|
|31||87||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet||7||143 laps|
|32||57||Mike Senica||Chevrolet||0||150 laps|
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