Johnny Sauter is pretty familiar with victory at Martinsville Speedway, but Sauter’s fourth win at the track during Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race may be one of the most significant races of his career because it solidified his opportunity to race for a championship come Homestead-Miami Speedway in a few weeks time.
Sauter dominated and led 148 of 200 laps en route to his sixth win of the year at Martinsville after winning both stages. It was his fourth at Martinsville, and the 23rd win of Sauter’s Truck Series career.
“So proud of these guys. Pit stops were awesome,” the GMS Racing driver said post-race. “Track position seems to be the name of the game here [now]. Just got to thank everybody. This is a big win.”
It was a big win that will allow Sauter to compete for his second career championship after being victorious at Homestead in 2016.
Brett Moffitt, who struggled during the early stages of the race, rebounded as the race continued to finish in the runner-up spot. He was followed by Myatt Snider. The rookie put on one of his best performances to date to complete back-to-back top-five finishes. Finishing fourth and fifth were Ben Rhodes and Kyle Benjamin.
Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Harrison Burton, Christian Eckes and Timothy Peters rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Polesitter Todd Gilliland finished a disappointing 12th after leading the opening 39 laps of the race.
ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger were the only remaining playoff drivers to finish outside the top-10. They wound up 13th and 14th, respectively, after each undergoing issues late in the race. Enfinger recovered from a late spin to finish 14th, and maintain the final playoff position.
Going into Texas Motor Speedway next weekend, Sauter has a 29-point gap over Gragson who sits second in points. He’s followed by Moffitt and Enfinger, who is 51 points out of the lead. Haley finds himself just below the cutline by two points, while Crafton is 10 points back.