Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: Johnny Sauter Earns 3 in a Row With JEGS 200 Dover Win

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In a Nutshell: Johnny Sauter scored his third consecutive win at Dover International Speedway Friday afternoon (May 3) as he edged polesitter Brett Moffitt by just over a half-second. The driver of the No. 13 Ford recovered from lost track position when he tried to save fuel early in stage three and couldn’t get the truck to refire immediately. Rookie Harrison Burton ended up third, followed by ThorSport Racing teammates Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton.

It was Sauter’s first win since reuniting with Thorsport after GMS Racing dumped him last offseason in favor of reigning Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Moffitt.

“When you get kicked to the curb, you feel like you have a lot to prove,” Sauter said in Victory Lane. “I have to thank (owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson, most importantly — a couple months ago I didn’t know if I’d be racing.

“To get three in a row here is extra special. I have to thank these guys. I was highly motivated. I shut the motor off earlier today in the race and it wouldn’t re-fire and I was like, ‘Oh well.’ Track position was so important, but experience paid off.

“It’s so special. This ranks up there as one of the biggest wins of my career. We’ve got to keep it going—that’s the main goal here, not to get complacent. I knew after Atlanta (where Sauter finished second on Feb. 23) we’d have a shot to win races. I felt like we gave one away at Martinsville but got it today.”

Who Should Have Won: Sauter, Moffitt and Sheldon Creed combined to lead all but 17 of the 200 laps run, and any of the three could have easily found their way to victory lane. But when the checkered flag flew, it was Sauter who emerged victorious by beating the driver who replaced him at GMS Racing late during the offseason. Meanwhile, Moffitt led a race-high 81 laps but blamed lapped cars for costing him the lead and the win.

“It’s all about track position, really,” Moffitt said. “When we were out front, we could lead and won the first stage, but it was just a lot of traffic cost us track position that we never got back.”


Race Rundown

Sheldon Creed’s Strong Run Spoiled Late

Rookie driver Creed almost saw his race at Dover end before it really got going when an early wiggle from a loose truck nearly sent him spinning. But instead, an incredible save allowed the driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet to continue on.

Creed later took advantage of a quick pit stop under the caution following stage two and snagged the top spot for 59 laps before relinquishing it on pit road with just over 40 laps remaining. Despite losing the lead, he still remained inside the top five and within striking distance of his first career win until a restart on lap 160.

He got loose on a restart where the entire field was expected to be aggressive as the laps wound down. Snapping around, the No. 2 went spinning right in front of the field. Somehow, the only other drivers involved were Tyler Ankrum, who barely clipped Creed’s back end, and Todd Gilliland, who took the brunt of the hit and was slammed into the inside wall.

The damage proved terminal and Creed was forced to retire with a disappointing 27th-place result.

Matt Crafton Rebounds to Top Five After Engine Change

After qualifying fifth, Crafton was forced to drop to the rear of the field before the start of the JEGS 200 due to an engine change. But once the green flag flew, he made quick work of the field and was 10th by the time stage one ended.

Fast forward to stage two and suddenly, the No. 88 Ford suffered a bit of a power loss and Crafton dropped through the field. Under the caution at the end of the second stage, the team raised the hood and found a plug wire that had come disconnected.

As it turned out, that was the issue with the loss of power Crafton had experienced and he once again raced his way from the back of the field up into the top 10. By the time the checkered flag flew, he was fifth in what was his fourth straight top-10 finish.


Quick Hits:

  • NASCAR really needs to consider moving the Friday afternoon Dover Truck Series race to Saturday and make it a doubleheader with the Xfinity Series. It’s an odd time for a race to be held at 5 p.m. ET on a Friday while most people are either still at work and just heading home. The Saturday doubleheader has worked well for Atlanta Motor Speedway and you’d think the same could be done at the Monster Mile.
  • With his win in the No. 13 Ford, Sauter now has victories for ThorSport Racing with all three manufacturers in the Truck Series. Interestingly enough, he ran the No. 13 for wins with each one, too.
  • Following a crash in practice, courtesy of a blown right front tire on Thursday, Spencer Boyd was forced to a backup truck. The team had the decals for the No. 20 Chevrolet overnighted in order to get them on the truck before the race. After starting at the rear of the field, he worked his way up to 22nd by the time the checkered flag flew.

  • Ross Chastain managed to keep his top-10 streak alive despite struggling with handling on the No. 45 Florida Watermelon Association Chevrolet. But it almost wasn’t a race he could run to the finish when he was forced to make one heck of a save with just over 20 laps remaining.

  • Ryan Sieg recovered to a 16th-place finish at Dover behind the wheel of the No. 33 Reaume Brothers Racing Chevrolet following an engine change on Friday. According to an earlier tweet from Sieg, the team faced multiple issues with the truck during Thursday’s practice sessions.

  • Meanwhile, the other Reaume Brothers Racing truck saw a driver change for “undisclosed circumstances” according to the team’s Reddit account. Daniel Sasnett was on the entry list and didn’t run any laps during the first practice Thursday. Josh Reaume was in the No. 34 truck for final practice, qualifying and the race.

2019 Rookie of the Year Candidates

No. 02 – Tyler Dippel
No. 2 – Sheldon Creed
No. 12 – Gus Dean
No. 17 – Tyler Ankrum
No. 18 – Harrison Burton
No. 54 – Anthony Alfredo/Natalie Decker

Number of Rookies in the Race: 6
Number of Rookies finishing in the Top 10: 2; Harrison Burton, finished third; Tyler Ankrum, finished ninth
Rookie of the Race: Burton

Up Next: The Gander Outdoors Truck Series now heads to Kansas Speedway next Friday night. Coverage for the Digital Ally 250 begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.

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