Johnny Sauter continued his uncanny mastery of Texas Motor Speedway Friday night, holding off Stewart Friesen on a three-lap shootout to win the 22nd annual PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
The series points leader, Sauter posted his fifth career win on TMS’ 1.5-mile oval and fourth in eight events this season. But he and crew chief Joe Shear Jr. had to gamble on fuel as the laps wound down and then keep pole-sitter Friesen at-bay following a restart on Lap 165 of the scheduled 167.
Sauter finished 0.092-seconds ahead of Friesen, who was aiming for his first career Truck Series victory.
Sauter took the lead for the first time on Lap 117 passing teammate Justin Haley between Turns 1 and 2. Sauter’s margin of victory is the closest in series history at TMS. The previous record was the June 9, 2006 Sam’s Town 400 won by two-time series champion Todd Bodine over Mike Skinner by 0.116-seconds.
“I complained about it all night long, just no balance, no grip,” said Sauter, driver of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado fielded by GMS Racing.
“We made great adjustments and played the track position game. That’s where the speed is at, getting in clean air. This has been a dream start and proud to get this win. I’m speechless…don’t know what to say anymore. Five wins at Texas – it’s awesome.”
Only Bodine has more wins in Cowtown, with six.
Sauter has won six of the last 11 series races, and posted top-threes in 10 of the last 12. The native of Wisconsin now has 21 career victories in 229 series starts.
With his win Friday night, Sauter became the third driver in series history to post four or more wins in the first eight races of a season. Kyle Busch and Skinner are the only other drivers to do so.
Sauter now has compiled 16 top-10 finishes in 20 races at “The Great American Speedway.” Additionally, Sauter hasn’t started outside of the top-10 and has finished in the top-five in every race this season except for the half-mile Martinsville Speedway, where he placed 19th.
To read more, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.