Tommy Joe Martins

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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

Grant Enfinger fastest in final Truck practice at Texas

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Grant Enfinger was fastest in the final Camping World Truck Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway.

Enfinger, who drives the No. 98 Chevrolet for ThorSport Racing, posted a top speed of 185.274 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

Enfinger was followed by Myatt Snider (184.609), Austin Cindric (184.420), Justin Haley (184.370) and Johnny Sauter (184.332).

Sauter was fastest in the first practice session.

Snider recorded the most laps in the session with 42.

Christopher Bell, who was 10th fastest, has the best 10-lap average at 182.232 mph.

Tommy Joe Martins made contact with the wall in the session before he completed a lap. He was cleared and released from the infield care center.

Click here for the practice report.

 

Ben Kennedy roars to top of speed chart late in final Xfinity practice at Iowa

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Ben Kennedy was fastest in Friday’s final Xfinity Series practice at Iowa Speedway.

Kennedy covered the 7/8-mile track with a field-best speed of 129.929 mph late in the session. Ryan Preese continued to have a strong weekend with a second-best speed of 128.977 mph.

Sam Hornish Jr., who was fastest in the first practice, was third in the second practice (128.877 mph), followed by Kyle Benjamin (128.845) and Blake Koch (128.566).

Only one incident took place during the session. With about 17 minutes left, the No. 78 of Tommy Joe Martins spun in Turn 4. He did not hit anything and took his car onto pit road.

Fourty trucks took to the track. Qualifying for and the actual U.S. Cellular 250 race will both be held Saturday.

Click here for the speed chart for final practice.

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Martins Motorsports returns to Truck Series with Matt Mills at Iowa

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After a brief absence, Martins Motorsports is returning to the Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Iowa Speedway.

The team will field the No. 42 Chevrolet with driver Matt Mills.

Martins Motorsports shifted its focus to the Xfinity Series earlier this year and sold the rights to its No. 44 to Faith Motorsports.

“It’s been a weird year,” said driver and team spokesman Tommy Joe Martins in a press release. “So much has changed for our team in just one year. The Truck series has shifted dramatically. But I think we’ve found a good direction for Martins Motorsports. We’re at home in the Truck series. We want to be a platform for guys to take their first step in NASCAR – just like I did.”

Mills will be making his fourth Truck start of the year. His first three, at Kansas, Charlotte and Dover, were with Faith Motorsports. The 20-year-old driver finished 17th at Kansas and Dover. He finished 24th at Charlotte.

Martins Motorsports has made 29 Truck starts since 2009. Its only starts this year were at Atlanta with Martins and at Martinsville with Brandon Brown.

“We know we’ve got a chance to go out and compete for top-15’s consistently with Matt driving our trucks.” Martins said. “The relationship he’s formed with our crew chief Kevin Eagle is also going to give us a big head start on unloading fast. We want to give Matt as many opportunities as we can.”

The team hopes to compete in “several” of the remaining races in the Truck season, but a final schedule is not set.

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Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Your thirst for NASCAR will be satisfied this weekend when the sport returns from its week off to race at Bristol Motor Speedway

The Cup Series prepares for the Food City 500 and the Xfinity Series for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup Series – Food City 500

Thirty-nine cars are entered for the eighth Cup race of the year. It’s a return to the rule of the season after 40 cars competed at Texas Motor Speedway. Only the Daytona 500 and Texas have had 40-car fields this season.

Last year, Carl Edwards won this race after starting from the pole and leading 276 laps. It was the first in a two-race win streak for Edwards.

Click here for the full entry list.

Xfinity – Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300

There are six Cup drivers among the 41 entries for the race: Kyle Larson, Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez. This is a Dash 4 Cash event, meaning drivers with more than five full-time Cup seasons of racing are not eligible for this event.

One car will be sent home after qualifying.

Tommy Joe Martins has withdrawn from the event due to the threat of weather all weekend.

Last year, Jones won this race after starting from the pole of the main event and leading 62 laps. Jones led the final three laps after taking advantage of a late-race battle between Larson and Kyle Busch.

Click here for the full entry list.