Sauter and crew chief Marcus Richmond used Thursday’s lone practice session to dial-in the WaterPulse Chevrolet for what was scheduled to be a Friday night race. After rain led to the cancellation of all on-track events for Friday, including qualifying, Sauter lined up for the NC Education.
From the start, Sauter reported that the No. 21 was free and he needed more rear grip in the center of the corner. During the first caution of the day on lap 24, Richmond called for air pressure and track bar adjustments, along with four tires and fuel. Sauter pitted from the third position and returned to the track in fourth after the leader took only two tires. Almost immediately following the pit stop, Sauter stated the previous adjustments to the WaterPulse Chevrolet had caused it to tighten up too much.
The caution clock expired on lap 68 and Richmond brought Sauter to pit road for tires, fuel, and track bar and air pressure adjustments. The No. 21 lined up fifth for the lap 73 restart, but a quick caution on lap 73 prevented Sauter from making a run at the lead. Lining up sixth on the outside for the restart, Sauter was held up by the trucks in front of him and quickly fell back as far as 15th. From the 13th position, Sauter reported the No. 21 was “plowing off the corner” and the team began to discuss what changes they would make during the next stop.
As the caution clock reached 30 seconds, the leaders crossed the start-finish line marking 20 laps to go and negating the call for a yellow flag. Richmond told Sauter to begin saving fuel, understanding that most of his competitors would need to pit before the end of the race. The leaders began to pit as Sauter climbed through the field, taking over the lead on lap 130. Sauter was told that in order to ensure he would make it through the next four laps without needing to pit, he would have to relinquish the lead and race for a top-five finish. Sauter crossed the line to finish the race in the third position.
The third-place finish is Sauter’s third top five of the season. He is now 10th in the driver championship point standings with one win.
Johnny Sauter Quote:
“Our WaterPulse Chevrolet started off really free and Marcus made what I would consider a good adjustment. From there on we were way too tight center-off, especially in traffic. The further I got back on the restarts I would just drive off into the corner and it would go straight. I don’t know if we didn’t have our attitude quite right or not but proud of the way it came out for all of the guys at the shop. Marcus did a hell of a job calling the race and we were just trying to save fuel at the end. Definitely not how you want to get a result but then on the flip side we’ve had some bad luck this year so it’s nice to have something go our way like this.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to action on June 10 at Texas Motor Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!