Cody Coughlin

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Johnny Sauter wins Truck Series opener for third Daytona victory

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Johnny Sauter survived a wreckfest and led the final nine laps to win the Camping World Truck Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.

The GMS Racing driver edged teammate Justin Haley and Joe Nemechek as a two-truck crash broke out in the tri-oval.

The victory is Sauter’s third at Daytona and his second in three years.

The top five was completed by Ben Rhodes and Scott Lagasse Jr.

The victory comes just weeks after the wife of Sauter’s crew chief, Joe Shear, Jr., passed away on Dec. 28.

“This is big, this is for Joe, obviously losing Chandra about a month-and-a-half ago,” Sauter told Fox Sports 1. “Couldn’t be more proud of him to overcome something like that.”

Shear told FS1: “This is very, very special here. … She’s looking above us and was in love with racing as much as I was. This is good. She was looking over us and helped us to this win.”

Sauter led 39 of the race’s 100 laps. He took the lead when he dove beneath David Gilliland in Turn 3 with nine to go.

“This is the most unbelievable speedway truck I’ve ever driven,” Sauter said. “My teammates tonight, I felt like we executed flawlessly. At the end there I wasn’t quite sure. I was looking in the mirror and I thought I saw them coming three-wide.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: David Gilliland

STAGE 2 WINNER: Johnny Sauter

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Justin Haley finished second in his first start on a restrictor-plate track … Joe Nemechek earned his best Truck Series finish since placing fifth in last season’s Daytona race … Pole-sitter David Gilliland led 30 laps but finished 21st after he got turned into the outside wall by Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Spencer Davis with seven to go and suffered minor damage … Despite spinning as he came to the checkered flag, Jordan Anderson finished ninth for the first top 10 of his career.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: The caution came out on Lap 56 when Grant Enfinger triggered a multi-car wreck when he got loose exiting Turn 4. That caused a chain reaction that collected Jennifer Jo Cobb, Cody Coughlin, Parker Kligerman, Noah Gragson and Dalton Sargeant. Cobb hit the inside wall on the driver’s side but was able to walk away. Enfinger went on to finish sixth … Gragson and Bo Le Mastus were involved in a wreck four laps after the ensuing restart while exiting Turn 4. Gragson finished 23rd, Le Mastus placed 30th in his Truck Series debut. … A caution was issued on Lap 74 when John Hunter Nemechek lost his right-rear tire to body damage. The ensuing crash collected Brett Moffitt, Myatt Snider and Stewart Friesen, Spencer Davis and Austin HillClay Greenfield got loose in Turn 4 with just under 20 to go and collected Matt Crafton, Bryan Dauzat, Korbin Forrister and Hill. The accident resulted in a four minute and 20 second red flag period.

NOTABLE: Sauter’s win is the third in a row for GMS Racing at Daytona. Kaz Grala claimed the victory last season. Sauter started the streak.

FAILED INSPECTION: NASCAR announced that the No. 41 truck of Ben Rhodes failed inspection after the race. The truck was found to be too low. It likely would be an L1 penalty and that carries a points deduction of 10-40 points, a suspension of one to two races for the crew chief and a fine of $5,000 to $20,000. Also the finish does not count toward playoff eligibility (if a tiebreaker is needed).

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “That was badass out there. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a truck.,” Justin Haley said.

WHAT’S NEXT: Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway at 4:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 24 on Fox Sports 1.

Practice results for Truck teams at Daytona

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Daytona Beach, Florida — Johnny Sauter was fastest in the last of three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice sessions for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

The 2016 Daytona winner posted a top speed of 182.197 mph.

The GMS Racing driver was followed by Clay Greenfield (182.149), Matt Crafton (181.466), Grant Enfinger (181.262) and Stewart Friesen (181.134).

Cody Ware recorded the most laps in the session with nine.

PRACTICE SESSION 2

Ben Rhodes led the way in the second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice with a lap of 192.897 mph.

He was followed by Justin Haley (192.082 mph), Johnny Sauter (191.388), Bryan Dauzat (191.298) and David Gilliland (191.168).

Rhodes and Cody Coughlin each ran 18 laps, most in the session.

PRACTICE SESSION 1

Grant Enfinger posted the fastest lap in the first of three Camping World Truck Series practices Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

Enfinger is with ThorSport Racing, which switched from Toyota to Ford in the offseason. Enfinger topped the speed chart with a lap of 192.033 mph. He was followed by Johnny Sauter (191.767 mph), Matt Crafton (191.657), Bryan Dauzat (191.440) and John Hunter Nemechek (190.807).

The only incident came when Brett Moffitt spun on the apron at the beginning of the session. He did not hit anything and returned to the track later in the session.

Spencer Davis ran the most laps at 23 in the session.

Daytona Truck Practice 1 results

Daytona Truck Practice 2 Results

Daytona Trucks Practice 3 results

Cody Coughlin joins GMS Racing in Truck Series

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GMS Racing announced Tuesday that it has signed Cody Coughlin to compete for the team in the Camping World Truck Series this season.

Coughlin, the son of NHRA driver and JEGS President John Coughlin, joins the team after one year driving for ThorSport Racing.

The 22-year-old driver will pilot the No. 2 JEGS Chevrolet in his second full-time season in the series.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join the GMS Racing family as well as be back running for Chevrolet,” Coughlin said in a press release. “GMS is a team that has proven to be one of the teams to beat every time they unload at the race track and now I have the same opportunity. I can’t thank GMS Racing, (team owners) Maury Gallagher and Mike Beam enough for this chance. I think we have the right tools and personnel in place with the No.2 team to run up front and contend for race wins every weekend.”

Coughlin joins Justin Haley, Dalton Sargeant and 2016 series champion Johnny Sauter.

Coughlin has 35 series starts since 2015. His best finish is third at Phoenix in November last season. It is his only top-five finish. He has three tops 10s.

The native of Delaware, Ohio, will be paired with crew chief Jerry Baxter. Baxter worked with Kaz Grala in 2017. Together they won the season opener at Daytona and earned five top fives and 11 top 10s.

Baxter has 10 wins as a crew chief in the Truck Series, including five with Darrell Wallace Jr.

“I’m more than ready to get the 2018 season underway,” Baxter said in a press release. “Last year we raced against Cody every weekend, so I have an idea of the type of driver he is. It will be even better to be able to work with him now firsthand. We have a good group of hard-working guys on the No. 2 that will definitely put us in the position to run well every time we’re at the track.”

The 2018 Truck Series season begins Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway.

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ThorSport Racing parts ways with Toyota

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ThorSport Racing announced Tuesday it has agreed with Toyota to part ways after a six-year relationship ahead of the upcoming season.

The Camping World Truck Series team earned two championships (Matt Crafton), 19 wins, 117 top fives and 227 top-10 finishes and 10 poles during their tenure with Toyota.

In their announcement, ThorSport did mention which manufacturer they’ll be paired with in 2018. ThorSport had no further comment. Toyota did not respond to a request for comment.

The team, based in Sandusky, Ohio, fielded trucks for Crafton, Cody Coughlin and Ben Rhodes in 2017. Coughlin will compete for GMS Racing this season.

ThorSport will announce their full driver lineup in the coming weeks.

The Truck Series season opens Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway.

Results of Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 Truck race at Phoenix

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It was a long and wild race that included three red flag race stoppages that lasted over a combined 37 minutes.

It also saw one driver who was in a must-win situation if he wanted to advance to next week’s championship race come up one spot short of doing so.

And it also marked a first win ever in the Valley of the Sun for the victor.

Those were some of the highlights of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix Raceway.

MORE: Patience pays off for Johnny Sauter at Phoenix, wins 2nd straight race

MORE: Truck championship field set for Miami — points report

Defending Truck Series champ Johnny Sauter won his second race in a week, and his first ever at Phoenix. John Hunter Nemechek, who came up short of advancing to Miami, was second, followed by Cody Coughlin, Chase Briscoe and Kaz Grala.

Click here for the results.