Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

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

Leave a comment

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

Kyle Busch wins Stage 2 of Brickyard 400; Dale Earnhardt Jr. out after accident on restart

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kyle Busch continued his domination of the Brickyard 400 by winning Stage 2 of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Busch, who has led 85 of the race’s 160 laps, led the final 13 laps of the stage. Busch also won Stage 1.

Busch restarted ninth on Lap 75 after eight cars stayed out of the pits during the preceding caution. He passed Ryan Blaney to return to the lead on Lap 87.

The top 10 after 100 laps were Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Blaney, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s final Brickyard 400 ended early when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne on the Lap 75 restart. The collision smashed in the front of his No. 88 Chevrolet and damaged the radiator, which began trailing smoke and brought the caution back out. Earnhardt went to the garage with his sixth DNF through the first 20 races of the year.

“We had a great car, I was having a lot of fun, the car was fast, we had a top-10 car for sure,” Earnhardt told NBCSN. “It’s frustrating because I really enjoyed being out there.

“Hopefully, our luck’s going to turn around. It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”

The race’s second caution for an accident occurred on Lap 57 when David Ragan spun in Turn 1 and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt and JJ Yeley. Earnhardt and Yeley were able to continue, but the severe damage to Ragan’s No. 38 Ford ended his day.

Yeley’s day ended when he brought out another caution on Lap 70 when his No. 7 Chevrolet lost his right-front tire and hit the outside wall.

The Brickyard 400 is scheduled to end on Lap 160.


Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last Brickyard 400 ends early after making contact

Leave a comment

Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s hopes of finally winning a Brickyard 400 in his final career appearance in the mid-summer classic ended abruptly on Lap 77 of Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt made contact with the rear of the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne, causing significant damage to the front end and radiator of Earnhardt’s No. 88.

Shortly after that, smoke began to billow from the rear of Earnhardt’s car. He didn’t take the car to pit road, going straight to the garage instead, his day officially over.

“There were just a bunch of cars slowing down and stopping and caused a chain reaction,” Earnhardt told NBC. “I got into the back of the 6 car (Trevor Bayne), they were all getting into each other, and just knocked the radiator out of it.

“We had a great car, I was having a lot of fun, the car was fast, we had a top-10 car for sure. It’s frustrating because I really enjoyed being out there.”

Earnhardt now has just six races to qualify for the NASCAR playoffs. He’s pretty much in a must-win situation if he hopes to make the 10-race playoffs.

“Hopefully, our luck’s going to turn around,” Earnhardt said. “It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”

Earnhardt is the second Hendrick Motorsports driver to see his day come to an early end. Chase Elliott suffered engine failure on Lap 45.


Engine issue ends Chase Elliott’s Brickyard 400 hopes early

Leave a comment

Chase Elliott‘s hope of winning the Brickyard 400 went up in smoke about one-quarter of the way through Sunday’s 24th edition of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Elliott had some issues with his engine that brought him to pit road. After his team looked over the car, it sent him back out on the racetrack and shortly after, smoke began coming out of the rear of his Chevrolet on Lap 44. Elliott took his car to the garage, his day officially over.

“We don’t know, it was some type of motor issue,” Elliott told NBC of the apparent cause of the engine failure. “We went down a cylinder and then started blowing smoke out of the pipes. I’ve been racing Hendrick engines since 2013 and this is the first engine problem I’ve ever had. … We’ll move on to next week and see what we have there.”

Elliott came into the race hoping to repeat what his father did in the latter’s win in the 2002 Brickyard 400.


Kyle Busch leads Brickyard 400 at end of Stage 1; Chase Elliott out due to engine problems

Leave a comment

Pole-sitter Kyle Busch led all 50 laps to win the first stage of the Brickyard 400.

Busch is seeking to win his first Cup race in his last 36 starts since capturing last year’s Brickyard 400.

The top 10 after 50 laps were Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Denny Hamlin finished the stage in 24th after he pitted twice under the competition caution to fix damage from contact with Ryan Newman on his first trip down pit road.

Chase Elliott is out of the race after his No. 24 Chevrolet blew an engine on Lap 45. Elliott had begun dropping off the pace around Lap 20 and he was a lap down after an extended stop during the competition caution.

It is the first time Elliott has lost an engine in his Cup career.

The first caution of the race occurred on Lap 9 when Corey LaJoie hit the wall in Turn 3. During the caution the field was brought to pit road on Lap 12 ahead of severe weather.

The race was red flagged for lightning before it began raining. The red flag lasted one hour, 47 minutes and three seconds and was lifted at 4:47 p.m.

The race went back to green on Lap 18.

The competition caution originally scheduled for Lap 20 was pushed back to Lap 30.

Stage 2 will end on Lap 100 with the race scheduled to go 160 laps.