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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, 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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NASCAR America: Steve Letarte: Denny Hamlin showing ‘remarkable consistency’

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Things have been going relatively well for Denny Hamlin on the track in 2018.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver enters this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway sixth in points. Through five races, he’s finished outside the top six once (17th, Las Vegas).

NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan discussed his season so far in addition to Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.

Letarte said Hamlin has displayed “remarkable consistency.”

“Denny Hamlin is in my mind a super star driver that I know I am guilty of leaving him out of super star conversations,” Letarte said.

Ryan pointed to mistakes on pit road that have prevented Hamlin from enjoying more success this season and in his career overall. His result at Las Vegas was the result of a speeding penalty.

“Five races this season, four pit mistakes,” Ryan said. “He overshot his box at Daytona, he did that at Fontana, he sped in the pits at Phoenix. While I think they’ve had speed, I think that team is still stumbling in the same ways it has in the past. Unless they correct that, I don’t know if they’re championship level yet.”

Hamlin heads to Martinsville where he has won a career-best five races.

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Trevor Bayne on Charlotte Roval: ‘You have to be on your game’

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Rain washed out the second day of Goodyear tire testing Wednesday on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval. Goodyear has tentatively scheduled May 1 as a make-up test date.

Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson took part in the test Tuesday.

“I just took some slow pace laps and got a feel for the race track,” Bayne said in a statement from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I was nervous, but I wasn’t anxious because I was never going to go out there and make qualifying laps. We worked our pace in and our plan, we stuck to it. I felt really good by the end of the day.

“You have to be on your game, that’s for sure. You can’t really let your guard down anywhere. There’s no room to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it pretty quickly. If you try to do something and it doesn’t work, you’ll pay the price. It’s going to be a survival race. … If you’re smart, you take care of your car and you don’t make mistakes, you’ll have a really good shot at the end for a good finish. I enjoyed it. It was a challenge for me – something new – and I enjoyed that part of it.”

Organizational tests at Charlotte will be in July. There will be two different sessions. Each team is allowed to test at one of the two sessions, which will be July 10 (rain date of July 11) and July 17 (rain date of July 18).

The Charlotte Roval hosts the final race of the first round of the Cup playoffs on Sept. 30 on NBC.

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NASCAR issues two fines for unsecured lug nuts at Auto Club Speedway

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NASCAR announced two crew chief fines for unsecured lug nuts last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Adam Stevens, crew chief on Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

In the Xfinity Series, Eric Phillips, the crew chief for Ryan Preece‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

No other penalties were announced.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Drivers to watch, favorite sports upsets

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and begins to look forward to this weekend’s racing at Martinsville Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Dale Jarrett, Steve Letarte and Nate Ryan from the “Big Oak Table” in Charlotte.

What to expect from today’s show.

  • The same names have been dominating the headlines in the first five races in the 2018 season. We will take a look at some of the other drivers to be on the lookout for as the season rolls on.
  • One of NASCAR’s most historic tracks is up this weekend – Martinsville! We’ll check out some of the recent drama “The Paperclip” has provided ahead of the race.
  • In the spirit of March Madness, our panel will tell us about their most memorable sports moments, as well as some of NASCAR’s biggest upsets.
  • Plus, The Indianapolis 500 will have a new home in 2019. We’ll have all the details on NASCAR America.

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.