Johnny Sauter, Toyota blaze to record-setting NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Michigan
Autoweek AUGUST 16, 2014
Johnny Sauter won for the 10th time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career and for the first time at Michigan International Speedway.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC
TOYOTA RUNS WINING STREAK IN THE TRUCK SERIES TO 13
Johnny Sauter won the fastest NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in history on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. Sauter set a blistering pace, followed new crew chief Jeff Hensley’s pit streategy instructions to the letter and held off ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton to win the Careers for Veterans 200 presented by CooperStandard Foundation and Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation by 0.433 seconds.
Sauter completed the 200 miles with an average speed of 161.110 mph. The previous record was 154.737, which was set at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012. Ron Hornaday Jr. was third, and he was followed by Taler Malsam, Kyle Busch, German Quiroga, Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton and Joey Coulter as nine of the 29 starters finished on the lead lap. Joe Nemechek rounded out the top 10.
“This is a great day for us,” Sauter said. “This puts us in the points lead (by nine points over Crafton), just halfway through the season, with some really good races coming up for us.”
Sauter led three times for 21 laps. He took the lead for good when Crafton came in for a splash of fuel with just four laps to go. Crafton led Sauter by 31 seconds when he entered the pits but came out a few car lengths behind Sauter and was not able to retake the lead.
“The team said after the race, ‘Sorry, we should have tried to make it,’ ” Crafton said of the last decision to give up the lead to make sure he had enough fuel to make it to the end. “But, we were just on the [bubble] of making it or not, and it was a tough call. At the same time, we’re [racing for a championship}. IF we would have been fifth, sixth or seventh in the points, we could have rolled the dice and just gone for the win. All in all, not a bad day.”
For Busch, the race marked the first time in six races this season that he failed to win. Busch had the fastest truck through much of the race but his chances for victory ended when he ran out of rule after leading laps 38 though 51. Busch’s crew had trouble restarting his Toyota Tundra, and Busch came back on the track in 15th place. With no caution flags over the final 86 laps, Busch had no chance to make up the gap.
The race featured just one caution period for six laps. That caution was for oil on the track from the truck of Travis Kvapil. That truck developed engine trouble just nine laps into the race.
The win was also the record 13th-consecutive Truck Series win for Toyota. The manufacturer has swept all 11 races in 2014.
Ryan Blaney started the race on the pole after winning that pole with a speed of 173.152 earlier in the day. Blaney finished 21st.