Trackin’ Trucks: Johnny Sauter wins at Phoenix

Johnny Sauter celebrates his win at Phoenix.
Credit: Robert Laberge

by Courtney Horn

Johnny Sauter survived a wild night during the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway to score back-to-back wins in the Round of 6 of the Camping World Truck Series Playoffs.

Sauter held off a charging John Hunter Nemechek in the final laps to score his fourth win of the season.

“We didn’t have the best truck,” Sauter said. “We had a really good truck on long runs, and obviously the two KBM trucks took care of each other, so just a great night.

“I was really worried at the end there with those red flags 'cause my stuff took awhile to get going, and then I figured something out there. Hornaday has been wearing me out about not getting good enough restarts, so I’ve been working on it. Hats off to everybody at GMS.”

Christopher Bell clinched his way into the Championship 4 early in the race after winning Stage 1. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver led 90 laps and secured the Stage 2 victory before finishing eighth.

While the first half of the event was relatively quiet, a late crash took out two of the CWTS Playoff contenders. On a restart on Lap 129, Austin Cindric went to the bottom of the track to make a pass on Ben Rhodes, but Rhodes blocked and ended up spinning in Turn 1. Rhodes’ teammate Matt Crafton had nowhere to go and was also collected.

“He put me in a bad place, and I tried everything I could to keep the spot,” Rhodes said. "... it looked like a desperation move to me because there was so much racing left to do.

“He didn’t have the position on me at all. … Driving over his head, I guess.”

Shortly after that incident, three drivers suffered heavy damage while battling for ninth. Jessie Little, Ryan Truex and Dalton Sargeant were the victims of a five-wide battle gone wrong.

A Look Into The Playoffs 

The Camping World Truck Series heads to Homestead-Miami, where four drivers will battle for the 2017 championship.

Bell, Sauter, Crafton and Cindric all advance to the season finale. Bell leads Sauter by three points.

Sauter and Crafton each have a win at the 1.5-mile track. Bell finished eighth a year ago, while Cindric will be competing for the title in his rookie season.

The final race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series airs next Friday, November 17, 2017 at 8 p.m ET on FS1.

Trackin’ Trucks: Johnny Sauter wins at Phoenix Trackin’ Trucks: Johnny Sauter wins at Phoenix Reviewed by Anonymous on Saturday, November 11, 2017 Rating: 5