ThatsRacin

Johnny Sauter takes season-opening NASCAR Truck Series win at Daytona

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter celebrates his victory in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter celebrates his victory in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

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.

Turning point

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.

Observations

▪  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.

Next race

Great Clips 200

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports 1

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

  Comments