Saturday, October 29, 2016

Caution Clock Chaos: Johnny Sauter wins at Martinsville, punches ticket for Championship 4

Johnny Sauter celebrates at Martinsville on Oct. 29, 2016.
Credit: Jerry Markland

by Courtney Horn 

Johnny Sauter secured his chance to run for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 victory at Martinsville Speedway.

Sauter, who led the second-most laps, held off Chase Elliott by 0.316 seconds for his 12th career victory.

“To be able to come to a place like this that’s been pretty kind to me over the years, to get a win here was extra special,” Sauter said.

Along with the victory at Martinsville, Sauter is already looking forward to Homestead, where he won in 2011.

"The key deal is liking a race track, and I can’t think of a better race track to decide a championship than Homestead," Sauter said. "It’s a very racy place – you can run all over the race track. I feel like we are peaking at the right time. I feel like we’ve kind of saved some of our best bullets, so to speak, for the end, and we can go and really work hard on our Homestead piece for these next couple weeks.”

Unlike his teammate, Sauter, Ben Kennedy’s title hopes are in jeopardy after an incident with Ben Rhodes resulted in an 18th-place finish.

Rhodes sent the No. 33 Chevrolet driver spinning in Turn 2. In addition, John Wes Townley, having no where else to go, ran into the back of Kennedy.

Kennedy exchanged some words with the No. 41 ThorSport Racing driver on pit road after the race.

"He just wrecked us," Kennedy told reporters. "He tried to wreck us earlier and failed. On to the next."

Still, Rhodes took responsibility for the incident.

"I owe him an apology for sure," Rhodes said. "I know he’s in the Chase. I thought I could nudge him cleanly but got into him a second time and spun him around."

How the Chase is Shaping Up 

The Camping World Truck Series moves on to the second race of the Chase at Texas Motor Speedway next weekend.

Two-time CWTS champion Matt Crafton is looking for redemption. Crafton currently sits fifth in the Round of 6 after a broken left rear brake caliper ended his day at Martinsville.

William Byron sits fourth in the standings and looks for a seventh victory during his rookie campaign.

Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and look to continue their solid performances to secure their spots in the Championship 4.

Watch the NCWTS drivers battle it out Texas style on Nov. 4, 2016 at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

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