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Johnny Sauter overtakes Matt Crafton late for second Truck win in a row

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Johnny Sauter threw the Camping World Truck Series Chase for a loop when he passed Matt Crafton with two laps to go and won the Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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.'”

But Sauter rebounded, passing Christopher Bell and Daniel Hemric to get to Crafton.

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.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Point standings

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

NASCAR America: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks Phoenix finish, racing roots

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins NASCAR America to go over his fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver also shares his racing origins in Mississippi and the hobbies he and girlfriend Danica Patrick share with each other.

Stenhouse is in his fifth full-time year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Alaska

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NASCAR America continues its journey through the United States with the second chapter in “50 States in 50 Shows.”

Following South Alabama Speedway, the show features Capitol Speedway and Alaska Raceway Park in Alaska.

Owned by Nancy and Wes Wallace, Capitol Speedway is a 3/8th-mile oval and features sprint car racing and demolition derbies.

 

Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

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Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

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NASCAR docks Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 35 points; suspends crew chief Paul Wolfe

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NASCAR docked Brad Keselowski 35 points, suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races and fined Wolfe $65,000 because Keselowski’s car failed inspection after finishing fifth in last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR also docked the team 35 owner points for the L1 infraction. NASCAR stated that Keselowski’s result is an encumbered finish.

NASCAR cited Keselowski’s car for failing weights and measurements on the laser platform. NASCAR stated in Wednesday’s penalty report that the team failed the rear wheel steer on the Laser Inspection Station. 

MORE: NASCAR suspends crew chief Rodney Childers one race

Team Penske issued a statement Wednesday:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question. In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

The penalty drops Keselowski from second in the standings to fourth heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The more significant issue is how this could impact Keselowski, who already has a win, in the playoffs.

The top 10 in points before the playoffs begin earn additional points. The points leader earns 15 playoff points. The driver second in the standings earns 10 playoff points, the driver third in the standings earns eight playoff points, the driver fourth in the standings earns seven playoff points. It goes down to the driver 10th in the standings earning one playoff point.

Those playoff points carry through the first three rounds, which is different from last year. Falling behind in the regular season – or losing points because of a penalty – could have ramifications in the playoffs. 

“I think it’s real important to explain why points matter this year,” Keselowski said on Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub” on Wednesday night. “Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there’s a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you’re one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team.”

 

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