Johnny Sauter Captures The PPG 500 At Texas

Johnny Sauter

No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado
Start: 5th
Finish: 1st
Points: 1st (+77)


Stage One: Johnny Sauter started from the fifth position for his 20th career Texas Motor Speedway start. He reported early in the event that he was too free, lacking front grip on entry. Staying on track through three cautions in the first 42-lap stage, Sauter worked his way as high as third before settling into the fourth position for the end of Stage One. He pitted for right side tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment, lining up to start the second stage from ninth.


Stage Two: Sauter continued to fight a progressively loose-handling condition in the ISM Connect Chevy as he ran just outside the top-five. A caution with seven laps remaining in Stage Two allowed the No. 21 team to pit for four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment. Going back green with just three laps left in Stage Two, Sauter crossed the line in the ninth position and stayed on track under caution to start the Final Stage from the third position.


Final Stage: After a short battle for the lead, Sauter settled into the second position before making his last stop of the night under caution on lap 108. Pitting for fuel and a chassis adjustment, Sauter lined up second for the restart. Taking over the lead on lap 117 from teammate Justin Haley, Sauter held the top position for the final 51 laps and a two-lap shootout to close out the PPG 400. Sauter crossed the line first, earning back-to-back wins, his fourth NCWTS win of 2018, and his fifth win at Texas Motor Speedway.


Additional Notes:
– With his fourth win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway, Sauter now has five wins at the 1.5-mile track and 21 career NCWTS wins. He has now matched his career-best total for wins in a single season.


– Sauter now has 21 consecutive top-10 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks and has qualified in the top-10 for all eight races this season.


– Sauter holds a 77-point lead over Noah Gragson in the NCWTS driver point standings.


Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet

“The restart was the most important part of it. When you’re battling fuel mileage like we were you’re battling between a rock and a hard place because you really can’t scrub your tires up, clean them up good, because you’re saving fuel. It puts you in a tight spot there. We were able to get a good restart. I just timed each restart a little differently and waited longer on that one. Justin Haley gave me a great little shove there to get me out and get me clear. I actually ran out of fuel getting into turn three on the last lap but got back into the banking and it recranked and carried speed all the way through turn four before it started stumbling. I just can’t thank GMS Racing, GMS Fabrication and the 21 team enough.


We executed with strategy and led a lot of laps. The biggest thing we’ve got to do now is to keep our nose to the grindstone and not get complacent. We’ve got long way to go so we’ve got to stay hungry.”

Joe Shear, Jr., crew chief of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet
“This win is really special to me. I lost my wife in late December and she was from Dallas, TX. She always came to this race with us, her family always came out here, it was always a big race for me and still is. I’m at a loss for words. She was definitely looking over us today.”

Ron Booth, Ownership Representative
“This was a big night for GMS Racing and GMS Fabrication. Friesen took the pole, we took the top three spots in the race. That’s a testament to the guys at the shop and Mike Beam and the program that’s been ongoing for the last two years. So this is a big night for us, and Texas has always treated us pretty well, so we’re very pleased.”


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