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Johnny Sauter earns first Truck win of season and first career triumph at Dover

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Veteran Johnny Sauter held off hard-charging rookie Kaz Grala to win Friday’s Bar Harbor 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway.

It was the first win of the season for the reigning Truck champion and the 14th of his career. It was first career win at the Monster Mile. He had never led a lap at the track until today.

Sauter also broke a streak of three consecutive runner-up finishes, and made it a 1-2 finish for GMS Racing.

“I’m so proud of everyone at GMS and the 1-2 finish,” said Sauter, who led 33 laps in the 200-lap event. “It’s just a great day, unbelievable after three second-place finishes to get a win.”

MORE: Results from Friday’s Bar Harbor 200 Truck Series race at Dover

MORE: Truck Series driver standings after Bar Harbor 200 at Dover

 

The 18-year-old Grala, who skipped his high school graduation to race today, showed the maturity of a veteran and crept closer to Sauter in the final laps but could not get close enough to make a pass for the win.

“We were close,” Grala said. “Overall, it was a solid day. These races are all about track position and clean air. This was a really good race car, glad we got another top-five and it was another good points day.”

Rookie Grant Enfinger bounced back from a wreck earlier in the race to finish third, followed by Ben Rhodes, who led a race-high 71 laps, and rookie Austin Cindric.

Sixth through 10th were Brandon Jones, Regan Smith, rookie Justin Haley, rookie Noah Gragson and Ryan Truex.

Truex won the first stage. Matt Crafton won the second stage, his first stage win of the season.

HOW SAUTER WON: After three straight runner-up finishes, Sauter had his doubts that he’d have a good truck today. But he used patience and veteran wiles to not only get to the front, but also to hold off teammate Kaz Grala.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger bounced back from an early wreck to finish third. Austin Cindric earned his best career finish with his fifth-place finish.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Christopher Bell came into the race second in the standings and had top-10 finishes in all prior races this season. He was in a three-truck wreck with nine laps to go in Stage 1 and his day was done. Bell finished 25th in the 32-truck field.

NOTABLE: Todd Gilliland’s Truck Series debut came to an end with 82 laps to go when he hit the wall and broke the suspension on his truck. He finished 20th. … Brad Keselowski Racing is facing some major penalties after Chase Briscoe left pit road late in the race and the left front tire fell off. According to the Truck Series rule book, “loss of wheel(s) due to improper installation will result in a mandatory minimum four Race suspension of the crew chief, tire changer and tire carrier for the lost wheel(s).”

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “There’s just some days when you wake up and don’t think it’s your day and don’t think things are clicking.” – Even so, Sauter still wound up winning the race.

WHAT’S NEXT: Friday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET, WinstarOnlineGaming.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler having fun mentoring William Byron

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If there’s anyone in the Xfinity Series William Byron should turn to for advice during his rookie season in the series, it’s Elliott Sadler.

A veteran of more than 800 NASCAR races across all three of its national series, Sadler has taken the lead in advising the 19-year-old driver this season. During his appearance on NASCAR America, Sadler praised the driver and the time he’s spent with him.

“That kid is special,” Sadler said. “I want to be that guy (that helps), because I had that guy. I had Jeff Green when I started, I had Dale Jarrett, people I could lean on all the time that could help the learning curve.”

Sadler leads the points standings with four races left in the regular season, but he is winless so far. Byron has earned three wins and is second in points behind Sadler.

“He’s a student of the game,” Sadler said. “I’ve been in meetings with young kids that come along, we’ve been in the meeting and kids are still playing on their phones. I’m in a meeting with William … and he’s still learning and taking notes. He’s got great questions. We’re usually sitting beside each other on the airplanes and we’re talking about things for that particular weekend. I can’t help him drive the car faster. But I can help him maybe with restarts and getting on pit road. Maybe things to think about on Friday to maybe make your car better for Saturday.”

Watch the video for more from Sadler on Byron and his friendship with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler paying tribute to Cale Yarborough with Darlington paint scheme

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Xfinity Series points leader Elliott Sadler will honor childhood racing hero Cale Yarborough with his paint scheme for the Sept. 2 race at Darlington Raceway.

Cale Yarborough poses with his Hardee’s car during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Exhibit Unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 22, 2012. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The JR Motorsports driver revealed the paint scheme Tuesday on NASCAR America. His No. 1 Chevrolet will have the same color blocking, but not colors, of Yarborough’s famous No. 28 Hardee’s car.

Sadler is not the only driver that will have some form of the Hardee’s paint scheme at Darlington. Dakoda Armstrong, driver of JGL Racing’s No. 28, will have the exact colors of the Hardee’s car and a logo on the hood commemorating Yarborough.

A five-time winner at Darlington and a three-time Cup champion, Yarborough is a native of Timmonsville, South Carolina, which is roughly 20 miles from Darlington.

Watch the video for the full reveal of the car.

Former Truck Series driver Shane Sieg dies at 34

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Shane Sieg, a former Camping World Truck Series driver and older brother of Xfinity driver Ryan Sieg, died over the weekend at the age of 34.

Ryan Sieg Racing announced his passing Tuesday on social media. He would have turned 35 on Wednesday. A team spokesperson could not provide additional details.

“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers,” the team said on Twitter. “We lost a great driver and an incredible person. Forever in our hearts.”

A native of Tucker, Georgia, Shane Sieg was a veteran of 68 Truck Series races and two Xfinity starts.

He earned three tops 10 in the Truck Series. His best result was eighth at the Milwaukee Mile in 2004. Sieg also won one race in the NASCAR Southeast Series in 2003 at Huntsville Speedway in Alabama.

Sieg made his last Truck start in June 2011 at Pocono Raceway.

Sieg was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in August 2011 for violating its substance abuse policy and for actions detrimental to the sport.

Ryan Reed honors Alan Kulwicki, Sam Bass with Darlington paint scheme

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Roush Fenway Racing and artist Sam Bass have worked together to create Ryan Reed‘s throwback paint scheme for the Sept. 2 Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway on NBCSN.

Reed’s No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford will resemble the No. 7 Zerex Ford driven by Alan Kulwicki in 1989.

Kulwicki was sponsored by Zerex from 1987-90, earning two of his five Cup wins in that time.

“My dad was huge fan of Alan and had a lot of respect for him, so it’s awesome to get to run this throwback scheme in Darlington,” Reed said in a press release. “My Dad ran his own race team and drove for himself throughout the 90s, just like Alan. Alan overcame a lot of challenges to become a champion and I can’t help but have a lot of respect for him.”

Bass, who lives with type 1 diabetes like Reed, worked with Kulwicki during his career and helped design Reed’s car. In a Facebook Live video, Bass said he took extra care to make the one in Reed’s No. 16 resemble Kulwicki’s No. 7.

Bass’ name will also be on the passenger-side nameplate on the roof of Reed’s car.

Reed’s car won’t be the only one at Darlington that will pay tribute to the 1992 Cup champion.

Michael McDowell‘s No. 95 Chevrolet in the Cup Series will resemble the car Kulwicki drove in his 1986 rookie year.