Saturday, August 18, 2018

Trackin’ Trucks: Johnny Sauter wins at Bristol; Playoff Grid set

Bristol2 NCWTS BurnOut 081618
Johhny Sauter celebrates his win at Bristol with a burnout.
Credit: Sarah Crabill

by Courtney Horn

Johnny Sauter clinched the 2018 Camping World Truck Series regular-season championship with a win Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, the GMS driver’s first at the .533-mile track and his fifth of the year.

Sauter led 58 laps before claiming the victory. He battled with runner-up Stewart Friesen for second in the closing laps, before Stage 1 and Stage 2 winner John Hunter Nemechek dropped off the pace with fuel pickup issues.

“I’ve never won at Bristol before, so I was pumped,” Sauter said. “I’m so lucky I’ve got this group of guys. We won at Bristol—this is the ultimate. For a short track guy, and I consider myself a short-track guy, to get a win at a place like this is so special. 

“I’m just pumped, and I can’t wait to start our championship run.”

Sauter battled with Friesen through lapped traffic for position, ultimately making the winning move by going through the middle of two trucks.

A few laps later, Nemechek was forced to hand over the lead. He finished third after dominating the UNOH 200, leading a race-high 104 laps. Parker Kligerman and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top five.

The CWTS Playoff grid of eight was set on Thursday, with three drivers making it to the post season on points.

Friesen earned the fifth playoff spot after finishing second for the third time in 2018. Grant Enfinger held enough points to clinch his position just by starting the race, while former champion Matt Crafton earned the eighth and final playoff position.  

Sauter holds the series lead with 42 playoff points over four-time winner this season Brett Moffitt, who has 27 playoff points to his credit. Noah Gragson is third, while Ben Rhodes is fourth. 

Justin Haley, who won at Gateway in late June, sits seventh. 

A Look Ahead (Into The Playoffs)

The CWTS kicks off the 2018 Playoffs on August 26th for the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. 

Austin Cindric won his first career series victory at the track one year ago over Noah Gragson. Can Friesen find victory lane for his first or will another driver punch their ticket to the next round of the playoffs? 

Find out on Sunday, August 26, 2018 for, the CWTS stand-alone event at 2:30 PM/ET on Fox Sports 1.

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