Johnny Sauter won the season-opening NextEra 250 NASCAR Truck Series race Friday at Daytona International Speedway. But it was what happened behind Sauter as he crossed the start-finish line that grabbed most of the attention.
Rookie Christopher Bell crashed as he made contact with Timothy Peters as they finished the race. Bell’s No. 4 Toyota spun and barrel-rolled at least 10 times before it came to a stop. Bell immediately got out of the car and, although he walked away, was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.
An 18-car crash – more than half the remaining field – had red-flagged the race on Lap 93. The wreck claimed pole-sitter Grant Enfinger and Austin Theriault, who had led the most laps in the race to that point. The race was stopped for 27 minutes, 54 seconds.
Rookie William Byron, a Charlotte Country Day student, finished 12th. Mooresville’s John Hunter Nemechek, who was swept up in the Peters-Bell accident, was 17th.
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Sauter, who started second, was on the outside of the front row after the final restart. He made his way past Truex to win in his first race for GMS Racing.
3 who mattered
1. Johnny Sauter: First time we can say this about a Truck driver Sauter’s victory all-but assures him a spot in the Chase.
2. Ryan Truex: Stayed out of trouble, coming from 20th to second.
3. Christopher Bell: Walked away from horrific-looking, multiple barrel roll on race’s final lap.
▪ There was a dangerous-looking wreck at the entrance of pit road, just before the 20-minute caution clock was about to expire. Cody Coughlin spun and hit the wall, and came to rest in the tri-oval grass. Also involved were Christopher Bell and Spencer Gallagher.
▪ Belmont Abbey-grad Jordan Anderson got into the top 10 at one point, but had to leave the race when he hit the Turn 4 wall on Lap 77. He finished 30th.
They said it
“They told me this thing was going to haul the mail back in January, and I said let’s go do it.” – Sauter on the performance of his No. 21 Chevy.
Great Clips 200
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports 1