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Johnny Sauter scores Dover Truck victory in overtime

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Johnny Sauter had to fend off multiple challengers late to win Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway for the second year in a row.

The victory also is Sauter’s second of the season and 19th of his career.

Sauter, who led 137 of the 210 laps, held off Matt Crafton on an overtime restart to win. That came after a spirited duel with Noah Gragson.

Crafton finished second and was followed by Justin Haley, David Gilliland and Harrison Burton.

Gragson crashed two laps from the scheduled distance after bumping Sauter as they battled side by side for the lead entering Turn 3. The contact turned Gragson and he backed into the SAFER barrier. Gragson was seeking his second career series win.

“Extremely disappointed in myself,” Gragson told FS1 before going to Victory Lane to congratulate Sauter. “It was just a racing deal. Not the way I try to race people. I take full responsibility in that. It was 100 percent my fault. Just unacceptable on my part. All I could think about was the mistake I made. I’m just devastated.”

Stage 1 winner: Noah Gragson

Stage 2 winner: Johnny Sauter

How Johnny Sauter won: He had the strongest truck, survived a duel with Noah Gragson and then outran Matt Crafton on the overtime restart to win. 

Who had a good race: Matt Crafton was steady throughout the race and put himself in position to finish second. … Justin Haley finished third to earn his best result since his runner-up effort at Daytona. … David Gilliland placed fourth in his second start of the season.

Who had a bad race: Jesse Little, who had one of the strongest trucks, was penalized a lap for pitting outside the box with 42 laps to go, ending his hopes for a win. … Todd Gilliland overcame an early speeding penalty and was running in the top five when a battery issue left him stalled on the track with 18 laps to go. … Parker Kligerman had a vibration early because of a loose wheel, used pit strategy at the beginning of the second stage to take the lead but saw his race end early with an oil leak.

Notable: David Gilliland will have bragging rights on his son Todd. In their first race together in NASCAR, David Gilliland finished fourth and Todd placed 10th.

Quote: “I’m just devastated,’’ Noah Gragson told FS1 after wrecking while battling Johnny Sauter for the win.

Next: The series races at 8:30 p.m. ET, May 11 at Kansas Speedway

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Friday 5: Chevrolet’s struggles harken back to 1982

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Ten races into the Cup season, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s debut is starting to reach historic proportions.

Not since 1982 — before Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon were born — has Chevrolet failed to lead a lap in three races in the same season. It’s already happened this year. No Chevrolet paced the field at Las Vegas, Martinsville and Richmond.

Only 11 times in the 656 Cup races run since the beginning of the 2000 season has Chevrolet failed to lead at least a lap in a race.

A couple of other races nearly joined that list this season. Chevy teams led three of 200 laps at Auto Club Speedway and five of 334 laps at Texas Motor Speedway.

That Chevrolet didn’t lead a lap at Las Vegas and struggled to do so at Auto Club and Texas — tracks where aero plays a key role — is a concern.

The Camaro’s woes, though, are not surprising. There can be teething problems when working with a new car. Look back to last season when Toyota ran a new Camry body. Toyota won one of the first 10 races (same as Chevrolet this season with that victory by Dillon in the Daytona 500).

In the first 10 races of last season, Toyota teams won one race, had eight top-five finishes and 23 top 10s.

In the first 10 races this season, Chevrolet teams have won one race, had 12 top-five finishes and 28 top 10s.

Keep in mind that there are more Chevy teams than Toyota teams, so Chevy teams should have better numbers.

Take out the two restrictor-plate races, the Daytona 500 and the spring Talladega race, this year and last year and the numbers are closer between the models.

Toyota had one win, seven top-five finishes and 21 top 10s in the first eight non-plate races last year

Chevrolet has no wins, eight top-five finishes and 20 top 10s in those same events this year.

This doesn’t guarantee that Chevrolet will continue to struggle. Toyota won two of the first 17 races last year — both by Martin Truex Jr. — before winning 14 of the final 19 races.

One difference is that NASCAR employs the Optical Scanning Station this season to tech cars. The station has been credited with helping Ford, which has the oldest body among the manufacturers, remain competitive because of how closely the station can scan a car. More rigorous inspections can keep cars even. Of course, that also could make it more difficult for Chevrolet teams to find the speed in their cars to be more competitive.

The two Chevy drivers who have shown the most promise this season are Larson and Elliott.

Larson has been the top-finishing Chevy driver in four races and Elliott has held that honor three times.

Rookie Darrell Wallace Jr. finished second in the Daytona 500 and scored an eighth-place finish at Texas. He noted this week that his team has more work to do with refining his Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

“We need more raw speed out of our car,’’ he said. “I think we’re heading in the right direction.

“We’re finding some things, for sure. We look back at Richmond. We weren’t really a big factor, but our car drove really good. So, we’re still trying to figure out where we were so far off, but we had the handling down to a T. I felt like we were the best car there handling-wise but speed-wise we were one of the slowest.’’

Said Dillon on Friday at Dover: “We’ve been decent all year long, we haven’t had the speed and there are reasons for the speed not being there. As far as Chevy as a whole right now, we’re working to find the speed.’’

Here’s a look at the Cup races since 2000 where Chevrolet did not lead a lap in the event:

April 21, 2018 — Richmond

March 26, 2018 — Martinsville

March 4, 2018 — Las Vegas

July 24, 2016 — Indianapolis

Sept. 12, 2015 — Richmond

August 22, 2015 — Bristol

June 28, 2014 — Kentucky

October 20, 2002 — Martinsville

October 28, 2001 — Phoenix

August 19, 2001 — Michigan

September 17, 2000 — New Hampshire

2. Learning the way

Paul Menard, in his first season with the Wood Brothers, scored the team’s first stage win of the season last weekend at Talladega.

The Wood Brothers are aligned with Team Penske, so that means Menard takes part in competition meetings with Penske drivers Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and their teams.

“We’re all very different people and we have different perspectives, which is interesting,’’ Menard said. “The way that Brad breaks down his car is much different than Joey and much different than Ryan.’’

Menard compares his time with the Wood Brothers with his early time at Richard Childress Racing.

“When I first went there, we had some really fast cars and then we got off,’’ said Menard, who drove for RCR from 2011-17. “So in the last couple of years, every week was trying to dig out of a hole basically. This year there’s really no hole to dig out of, kind of have a proven package and more fine-tuning than swinging for the fences.’’

3. Father vs. son

Today’s Camping World Truck Series race at Dover will pit David Gilliland against his son Todd in a race for only the second time.

The only other time they ran against each other was in July 2014 in a Super Late Model race at Irwindale Speedway. Also in that race was David’s father (Todd’s grandfather) Butch to make it a three-generation race.

David Gilliland said Thursday he’s excited about today’s race.

“I’ve got into a lot of races in my career,’’ David Gilliland said. “I’ve looked forward to a lot of them and nothing’s been like this.’’

Said Todd: “It’s cool. We’re hoping to beat each other, but also you just kind of focus on the real race out there. It’s going to be good.’’

4. A different driver each race

The Xfinity Series has had a different winner in each of the first nine races of the season.

Should there be a 10th different winner Saturday at Dover, it would tie the 1987 season for the second longest streak of different winners to open a season. The record for most different winners to start a season is 13 in 1988.

The winners this year have been: Tyler Reddick (Daytona), Kevin Harvick (Atlanta), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas), Brad Keselowski (Phoenix), Joey Logano (Auto Club), Ryan Blaney (Texas), Ryan Preece (Bristol), Christopher Bell (Richmond) and Spencer Gallagher (Talladega).

5. Soon …

A week from today Matt Kenseth will be back in a Cup car. He makes his return in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 at Kansas Speedway in place of Trevor Bayne. Kenseth’s schedule hasn’t been released yet, but he will run at Kansas and the following week in the Monster Energy All-Star Race.

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Bump & Run: Biggest upsets in NASCAR

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In light of UMBC’s upset of Virginia in the NCAA basketball tournament, what’s an upset in NASCAR that stands out to you?

Nate Ryan: David Gilliland in the Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway in 2006. That’s the closest approximation in modern-day NASCAR of what the Retrievers pulled off last Friday.

Dustin Long: David Gilliland’s Xfinity win at Kentucky in 2006 with a part-time and independent team. Remarkable upset that eventually led to a Cup ride.

Daniel McFadin: Front Row Motorsports’ two Cup wins, at Talladega in 2013 and Pocono in 2016. The first because David Ragan‘s surge to the lead on the final lap is the definition of “Where did he come from?” The second, because Chris Buescher earned his first Cup win via pit strategy and … fog.

Jerry Bonkowski: Actually, a two-part answer. First, when Trevor Bayne came out of nowhere and was pushed to the win in the 2011 Daytona 500 by Carl Edwards. And then there was the 1990 Daytona 500, when underdog Derrike Cope won.

What was something that stood out to you from the West Coast swing?

Nate Ryan: That the storylines from the end of last season (Toyotas, particularly Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, are fast; Kevin Harvick is a championship contender; Hendrick Motorsports still is searching) generally have remained intact.

Dustin Long: Overlooked was that Erik Jones was one of only three drivers (Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were the others) to score a top-10 finish in all three races.

Daniel McFadin: Joey Logano going from 16th to first in four laps in the Xfinity race on Saturday thanks to fresh tires. It’s the closest thing to a video game I’ve ever seen in real life.

Jerry Bonkowski: I thought for sure that we’d see more success from some of the young drivers. But when it came down to it, veterans won all three races. Sooner or later, the young drivers have to start making more of a name for themselves, guys like Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, William Byron and others. And by making a name for themselves, I mean winning.

What’s a special Martinsville memory you have?

Nate Ryan: John Andretti rallying from a lap down to win the first race I covered (and attended) there in April 1999. I was crossing the track in Turn 1 when Andretti drove the No. 43 right by into victory lane … with “The King” sitting on the driver’s window opening (to an enormous cheer from the crowd).

Dustin Long: John Andretti’s April 1999 win, which completed a weekend sweep for Petty Enterprises. Jimmy Hensley won the Truck race for the organization the day before Andretti’s victory. “It looked like the good old times,’’ Petty said in victory lane after riding in on the driver’s window opening of the No. 43 car.

Daniel McFadin: When I covered my first race there in the fall of 2014 as an intern for Sporting News. It turned out to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s first and only win at the track and the only time I attended a race he won. He’s retired now so I can say he’s my favorite driver. I still have confetti from the celebration in a plastic bag. 

Jerry Bonkowski: This is more of a sad rather than special memory. I was at the fall race in 2004 when the Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed into nearby Bull Mountain, killing all onboard. We got word about halfway through the race that there had been an incident, and as we got closer to the end of the race, things became confirmed. I recall it as if it was yesterday, and it’s a day I’ll never forget.

Eight teams going to backup cars for Daytona 500

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — NASCAR has confirmed that eight teams will go to a backup car and start at the rear of the Daytona 500 after being damaged in Thursday’s qualifying races.

The eight cars represent 20 percent of the field.

Those going to backup cars are Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson and David Gilliland.

NASCAR also confirmed that the cars of Keselowski, Almirola, DiBenedetto and Johnson each will go to a backup engine. Since the engine change is due to crash damage, none of those four will have to go to the rear also at Atlanta.

NASCAR has stated that any engine change not related to crash damage would force that car to start at the rear of the Daytona 500 and its next race. That particular rule is only for Daytona Speedweeks.

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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