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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.

Jordan Anderson plans to compete full-time in Truck Series

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Jordan Anderson announced Wednesday he will compete full-time in the Camping World Truck Series for himself.

Anderson will drive the No. 3 for Jordan Anderson Racing. He will receive support from Niece Motorsports and will run a spec engine.

On SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint,” Anderson said he originally thought about driving the No. 7 to honor the late Alan Kulwicki.

While the No. 3 is synonymous with seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, Anderson was inspired to race the number based on Junior Johnson’s history with it.

Anderson has four trucks and will drive a Toyota at restrictor-plate races and a Chevrolet at intermediate and short tracks. He also acquired a Ford truck from the now defunct Brad Keselowski Racing.

“The deal with manufacturers for us just came down to dollars and cents,” Anderson said. “Before this year I wouldn’t have made the moves in acquiring those trucks because it would have made no sense to have one Toyota motor, one Ford motor and a Chevrolet motor. But now with this Ilmor (spec) motor, you can run this motor in the truck you race and it doesn’t have to be manufacturer specific.”

Last year, Anderson competed the entire season with one truck. He crowdfunded support from fans in order to compete after his Truck was wrecked in the second race of the year at Atlanta.

Anderson’s sponsors will include Lucas Oil, Bommarito Automotive Group, LTi Printing, Jacob Companies and Knight Fire.

The 26-year-old driver has 57 starts in the Truck Series since 2014. Last season he started 20 of 23 races.

His career-best finish is 11th at Gateway Motorsports Park in 2016.

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Rick Ware Racing acquires NASCAR Cup charter for 2018, will also field ‘open’ car

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Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced Friday that it has acquired a NASCAR Cup Series charter for the 2018 season.

However, RWR did not identify which Cup team it acquired the charter from.

As a result, RWR will be able to compete full-time in the Cup Series with the No. 51, beginning in the 60th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018.

The team will also field an “open” team – one that will not have a charter and will have to qualify for every race it enters – sporting the No. 52 car number.

In addition to not identifying where it acquired the Cup charter, RWR is not identifying at this time what manufacturer it will field for either car in the upcoming season.

In a media statement, however, it did say that will be both be building and acquiring cars both during the off-season and in-season, including Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Fusions and Toyota Camrys.

The Thomasville, North Carolina-based organization is also increasing the amount of personnel, updating equipment, adding engineering support on and off the road, as well as upgrading its 20,000-square-foot shop.

The team said it will finalize its driver lineup for both the No. 51 and No. 52 “in the immediate future,” it said in a media release.

Six drivers drove a combined 29 races for RWR in the 2017 NASCAR Cup season: Timmy Hill (9 races), B.J. McLeod (8 races), Cody Ware (5), Ray Black Jr. (3), Kyle Weatherman (2) and Josh Bilicki (2).

The team’s two best finishes were both by Hill: a 28th-place showing at the spring race in Kansas, followed the next week by a 29th-place finish at Charlotte.

The team also entered three Camping World Truck races, with 2 starts by Jordan Anderson and one by Spencer Boyd. It also competed in one Xfinity race.

Johnny Sauter wins at Texas, locked into Truck championship race in Miami

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Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champ Johnny Sauter took a big step towards repeating, winning Friday night’s JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.

It is the Wisconsin native’s third win of the season, which equals the number of wins he earned en route to last year’s championship.

It also marks the second consecutive year that Sauter has won the fall playoff race at Texas, assuring himself a spot in the championship race in Miami in two weeks.

“I haven’t been pumped up this much in a long, long time,” Sauter said.

Sauter held off a late-race challenge by runner-up Austin Cindric to earn his fourth career triumph at TMS. In addition, it was the Hendrick Motorsports Engine Department’s 400th overall win.

Christopher Bell finished third, followed by Chase Briscoe and Justin Haley, who spun on Lap 58 after making contact with Sauter, his teammate at GMS Racing.

Haley kept his truck off the wall and sustained only minor damage to the left rear and was able to continue on.

Sixth through 10th were Kaz Grala, Grant Enfinger, Ryan Truex, Matt Crafton and Noah Gragson.

Crafton suffered a costly pit road penalty just past halfway when NASCAR ruled a crew member came over the wall too soon, and was never able to recover.

Justin Haley’s truck was found to be too low in inspection after the race. Christopher Bell’s truck was found to have an unsecured lug nut.

MORE: Results from JAG Metals 350 Truck race at Texas Motor Speedway

MORE: Johnny Sauter clinches spot in championship race, Christopher Bell close on points

STAGE WINNERS: Christopher Bell (Stage 1), Noah Gragson (Stage 2).

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric gave Sauter a stiff challenge in the closing laps, but couldn’t get past. … Chase Briscoe bounced back from tough races at Talladega and Martinsville to finish fourth.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Tommy Joe Martins completed three laps before suffering a hard wreck in his Chevrolet Silverado. … John Hunter Nemechek pitted late in the race, had struggles restarting and then was penalized for speeding while exiting pit road. He finished 19th.

NOTABLE: John Hunter Nemechek, who is 39 points out of the final transfer spot, must win next weekend at Phoenix to advance to the championship round in Miami.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It was a nice points day, but we already have really good points, so we really wanted to win.” — Third-place finisher Christopher Bell.

WHAT’S NEXT: Lucas Oil 150; 8:30 p.m. ET Nov. 10 at Phoenix Raceway

Updated entry lists for NASCAR at Dover, Las Vegas

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NASCAR’s three national series are once again in separate locations this weekend with the Cup and Xfinity Series making their return trip to Dover International Speedway.

The Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for all three races.

Cup – Apache Warrior 400

There are 40 cars entered into the race.

Ross Chastain will make his second Cup start driving the No. 15 for Premium Motorsports.

Brett Moffitt has been entered in the No. 83 Toyota for BK Racing.

Derrike Cope was entered in the No. 00 for StarCom Racing, but the team announced it had withdrawn in order to “ensure a fully staffed quality crew” for its eventual first start.

In the last visit to Dover in June, Jimmie Johnson won over Kyle Larson in an overtime finish.

Martin Truex Jr. won the playoff race last year, leading 187 of 400 laps to beat Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200

There are 39 cars on the entry list, including six Cup regulars.

Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Corey LaJoie are entered.

The No. 96 Chevrolet driven by Ben Kennedy has been withdrawn from the event by GMS Racing.

Josh Bilicki has replaced BJ McLeod in the No. 78 Chevrolet.

Kyle Larson won the last race at Dover in June from the pole after leading 137 of 200 laps.

Suarez won this race last year over Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier after leading 123 of 200 laps.

Click here for the entry list.

Truck Series – Las Vegas 350

There are 28 trucks entered into the race.

Travis Pastrana makes his return to the Truck Series in the No. 45 Chevrolet.

Jordan Anderson is now entered in the No. 1 Chevrolet.

Last year Tyler Reddick won this race over Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Daniel Hemric after leading 70 of 146 laps.

This is the last standalone race of the year for the Truck Series.

Click here for the entry list.