If you were to tell someone that Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona would finish without a green-white-checkered finish, most would have thought you were crazy and had never tuned in for a truck race at Daytona.
Especially after last year’s showcase which saw all three of the allotted green-white-checkers in use with virtually unknown John King taking the win.
That’s exactly how Friday night’s race started off, with virtually unknown Brennan Newberry leading the field to the first green flag of the 2013 season by winning his first career pole.
Throughout the early portions of the night, the racing was fast,dicey and at some points made you jump out of your seat at the style of two-wide racing with truck darting in and out of line under the lights of the 2.5-mile super speedway.
Even when the front half of the field was predominantly in a single-file line, multi-wide action could be found deeper in the pack of trucks, each fighting it out to score a victory at “The World Center of Racing”.
While the action was tense all night long, it picked up on lap 54 when a 14-truck crash ensued heading into the third turn after a collaboration of contact when the three trucks of Newberry, Brendan Gaughan and German Quiroga touched and carried each up into the wall at the top of the 31-degree bank.
Staying out of the the chaos deeper in the field for the majority of the night was Ty Dillon. Leading the 100 lap event on three different occasions for a total of 56 laps, it looked as though the No.3 would return to victory lane at Daytona.
However, as is the case at many race tracks and especially at Daytona, the best truck doesn’t always find it’s way to victory lane.
As the race began to hit it’s closing stages, the Toyota’s of two-time Daytona 250 winner Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch and Johnny Sauter began to show their strength at the front of the field, keeping a tight, single-file line on the bottom of the track as they were looking to duel it out among themselves for the win.
That plan was foiled, however, when a crash with eight laps to go occurred when the No.30 truck of Ryan Truex cut a tire entering turn three, spun and collected Ross Chastain, Timothy Peters and others in the process.
What that meant was a late race restart with four laps to go which featured the teammates Bodine and Sauter side-by-side on the front row with Busch and Dakoda Armstrong behind.
When the green flag dropped, it was Sauter that quickly vaulted his way into the lead as Bodine dropped through the pack like a rock in water.
Reforming in a single-file line, Busch rode the back bumper of Sauter’s Toyota closely, looking to make a move on the final lap for his first Daytona triumph in a truck.
That was a pass that Busch would never get to make after a crash ensued exciting the tri-oval after the leader’s taking the white flag.
Under NASCAR rules, the race was declared official and Sauter was the winner of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona.
“I’m speechless right now,” said Sauter in victory lane. “It’s so much luck to win out here and to be able to put it all together was big.”
Friday night’s win marks the seventh time that Sauter has visited victory lane in the Truck Series. In the process, he picked up Toyota’s 100th win in trucks, their first coming at Michigan International Speedway in July, 2004.
“We came so close a year ago and that was tough one to swallow. I thought we were in big trouble when we were like fourteenth with like 30 to go and I thought, man, we’re just not going to get there.
“But, when the good lord’s in your corner, he’s in your corner.”
The Truck Series will take nearly one whole month off before returning to action at Martinsville Speedway on April 6
NextEra Energy Resources 250 Unofficial Results:
- Johnny Sauter
- Kyle Busch
- Ron Hornaday Jr.
- Justin Lofton
- Jeb Burton
- Ty Dillon
- Miguel Paludo
- Ryan Blaney
- Matt Crafton
- Ryan Sieg
- Todd Bodine
- Darrell Wallace Jr.
- James Buescher
- Ross Chastain
- Chris Cockrum
- Tim George Jr.
- Norm Benning
- John King
- Dakoda Armstrong
- Dusty Davis
- John Wes Townley
- Joey Coulter
- Jeff Agnew
- Max Gresham
- German Quiroga
- Clay Greenfield
- Timothy Peters
- Ryan Truex
- Brendan Gaughan
- Jason White
- David Starr
- Bryan Silas
- Brennan Newberry
- Chris Fontaine
- Jennifer Jo Cobb
- Scott Riggs