Saturday, February 17, 2018

Trackin’ Trucks: Johnny Sauter wins at Daytona

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

Johnny Sauter held off GMS Racing teammate Justin Haley by .098 seconds to win the season opener Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Sauter led 39 laps to earn the third Daytona victory of his career. Sauter, who won Stage 2 of the NextEra Energy Resources 250, regained the lead on Lap 92 and stayed out front for the remainder of the night.
Sauter celebrates in Victory Lane
Credit: Brian Lawdermilk
“I felt like we executed flawlessly,” Sauter said. “I don’t even remember the pass for the lead. We had good track position and we lost it a couple times. I’m just so thankful to be driving this truck. This is the best group of guys I’ve ever been around, and it’s great to start the season off like this.”

Sauter dedicated the victory to his crew chief Joe Shear, whose wife passed away in December.

“This is very, very, very special,” Shear said. “I don’t know if a lot of people know, but I lost my wife in December. She’s looking down on us. She was in love with racing just as much as I was.

“She was looking over us and helped us to this win. And I’m so grateful to be in the position that I’m at and have these people around me. This means so much. I’ll never forget this one.”

Haley finished second in his first Daytona event. The 18-year-old was not able to run the 2.5-mile track a year ago because he was too young.

“Those final laps were crazy,” Haley said. “I finally got shuffled back a little bit there on the last lap, and there wasn’t that much energy on the high side.”

Veteran driver Joe Nemechek finished third, followed by Ben Rhodes and Scott Lagasse Jr.

Grant Enfinger and Dalton Sargeant earned top-10 finishes after being involved in a multi-car crash on Lap 55 when Enfinger’s Ford got loose in Turn 4.

John Hunter Nemechek blew a tire on Lap 73 and collected five other drivers, including Myatt Snider, Brett Moffitt, and Stewart Friesen.

A Look Ahead 

The Camping World Truck Series head to Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 24, 2018. Christopher Bell dominated a year ago, while Matt Crafton finished in the runner-up position.

Can Crafton earn an early season victory? Find out next Saturday, February 24th at 4:30 p.m ET on Fox Sports 1.


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