Sauter, who started 16th, caught his former teammate at the start-finish line and passed on the outside.
“This truck was awesome on long runs all night,” Sauter told Fox Sports 1. “In practice I knew I was downplaying my truck, ‘It’s not good, it’s not good.'”
After the caution clock expired for the third time of the night with 23 laps to go, Sauter won the race off pit road with Crafton behind him. But Crafton took the lead on the final restart with 18 to go as Sauter lost two spots.
“The guys in the pits put me into a position to win ultimately there at the end, and I just couldn’t going on the restarts, I was on the splitter too hard,” Sauter said. “We drove right into Turn 1 wide open there on the restart and it took off up the hill and I’m like, ‘Uh oh, this is bad.'”
The win is Sauter’s second in two weeks after winning at Martinsville Speedway, giving him victories in the first two races of the Round of 6.
The victory ensures that two Chase drivers will clinch spots in the championship race based off points. One of them might be Crafton, a two-time champion.
“It’s cool to be able to keep him from winning a race, there’s no doubt about it,” Sauter said. “If anything happens to him a Phoenix, hopefully we don’t have to race him for the championship.
HOW JOHNNY SAUTER WON: He passed Matt Crafton with two laps to go and wasn’t challenged for the final five miles.
WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Spencer Gallagher had the best night of his career, leading a career-high 88 laps from his second career pole … Daniel Hemric led 38 laps for the third time this year and finished third … Matt Crafton earned his first top five in five races … In his first Truck race since last season, Austin Dillon finished eighth.
WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Spencer Gallagher. He led three times for 88 laps, but lost the lead on all three visits to pit lane, losing six spots on the final stop and finishing seventh … Tommy Joe Martin got into the wall on Lap 31 but managed to get to the pits for repairs. He finished 31st … Matt Tifft was the recipient of the free pass twice and finished 17th, his worst result in eight starts this season.
NOTABLE: All three cautions were because of the caution clock expiring, the first time that has happened.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “This is the most disappointed I’ve ever been. This is stupid to lose this race. We lost it. But, hey, three in a row for GMS (Racing). We’re winning this damn championship. Hell or high water, we bring trucks like this week in and week out, we ain’t losing this.’’ – Spencer Gallagher after leading a career-high 88 laps and finishing seventh following a slow final pit stop.
NEXT: Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway at 10 p.m. ET on Nov. 11 on Fox Sports 1