Johnny Sauter Earns Big Points Gain At Bristol

Johnny Sauter

Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 Allegiant Travel / FireAde Chevrolet Silverado, drove to a fifth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200. The Necedah, Wis., native rebounded after going a lap down to earn his seventh top 10 of the 2016 season.

Sauter started from the seventh position in the 200-lap event but dropped back to ninth before he found an opening to get in line with his competitors. The first caution of the night occurred on lap 29 and he reported to crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., that the No. 21 was handling free and it felt as though the throttle was sticking. Due to rain earlier in the day, the field was slowed on lap 42 for a competition caution with Shear bringing Sauter to pit road for tires and fuel. The Allegiant Travel / FireAde Chevrolet restarted 16th on lap 46. Two quick caution periods followed, with Sauter reporting a continuing issue with the throttle. Despite the problem, he worked his way into the top 10 before the eventually falling back to the 13th position because of tire wear. The fifth caution of the night occurred on lap 135 and a slow stop for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment put the No. 21 a lap down, in the 16th position. The field was slowed two laps later for yet another caution and Sauter returned to the lead lap, allowing him to gain two positions on the lap 148 restart. Sauter steadily advanced toward the front of the field and re-entered the top 10 with just over 20 laps remaining in the race. During the final restart of the night on lap 194, the No. 21 broke into the top five and Sauter held position until he crossed the finish line in the fifth position.

Sauter is now third in the driver championship point standings with one win and three races left before the Chase field is set at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I truly believe that we had the truck to win tonight but I’m very happy for GMS Racing and for Ben (Kennedy). It’s a great feeling to finally get your first win and to do it under the pressure of making the Chase is even more rewarding. We just had some issues tonight with the throttle sticking a bit and I didn’t want to give up track position to come in and try to fix it, so we did the best we could to get to the front with what we had. I felt like our handling was off a little, it just freed up throughout a run, but we still had speed off the corner and that’s where I was able to make up a few positions. I’m happy with a top five but I think it’s well known that I like to win so I just need to get a win in these next three races, keep our nose clean and see what we can learn going in to the Chase.”

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to action on August 27 at Michigan International Speedway.


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