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.

Johnny Sauter takes Chicagoland Truck win as playoff grid is set

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.

Stage 2

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.

Stage 1

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.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 21 united_states Johnny Sauter  Chevrolet 150 1:49'51 28
2 29 united_states Chase Briscoe  Ford 150 2.005 18
3 4 united_states Christopher Bell  Toyota 150 7.108 72
4 16 united_states Ryan Truex  Toyota 150 11.333 29
5 98 united_states Grant Enfinger  Toyota 150 14.251  
6 27 united_states Ben Rhodes  Toyota 150 15.686  
7 8 united_states John Hunter Nemechek  Chevrolet 150 16.588  
8 18 united_states Noah Gragson  Toyota 150 16.834  
9 33 united_states Kaz Grala  Chevrolet 150 19.095  
10 51 united_states Myatt Snider  Toyota 150 19.930  
11 13 united_states Cody Coughlin  Toyota 150 25.611  
12 92 united_states Regan Smith  Ford 149 1 lap  
13 02 united_states Tyler Young  Chevrolet 149 1 lap  
14 24 united_states Justin Haley  Chevrolet 149 1 lap 2
15 19 united_states Austin Cindric  Ford 148 2 laps  
16 88 united_states Matt Crafton  Toyota 148 2 laps 1
17 45 united_states Justin Fontaine  Toyota 148 2 laps  
18 49 united_states Wendell Chavous  Chevrolet 144 6 laps  
19 50 united_states Josh Reaume  Chevrolet 143 7 laps  
20 44 united_states Austin Wayne Self  Toyota 143 7 laps  
21 1 united_states Jordan Anderson  Chevrolet 133 17 laps  
22 83 united_states Camden Murphy  Chevrolet 102 48 laps  
23 6 united_states Norm Benning  Chevrolet 101 49 laps  
24 10 united_states Jennifer Jo Cobb  Chevrolet 27 123 laps  
25 15 united_states Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 25 125 laps  
26 14 united_states Ted Minor  Chevrolet 23 127 laps  
27 74 united_states Mike Harmon  Chevrolet 12 138 laps  
28 0 united_states Tommy Regan  Chevrolet 11 139 laps  
29 63 united_states Kevin Donahue  Chevrolet 10 140 laps  
30 36 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 10 140 laps  
31 87 united_states Joe Nemechek  Chevrolet 7 143 laps  
32 57 united_states Mike Senica  Chevrolet 0 150 laps  
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About this article

Series NASCAR Truck
Event Chicagoland
Location Chicagoland Speedway
Drivers Johnny Sauter
Teams GMS Racing
Author Jim Utter