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Johnny Sauter wins Truck Series race at Texas

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Johnny Sauter won his fourth race of 2018 and for the fifth time at Texas Motor Speedway by holding off pole sitter Stewart Friesen in a green-white-checkered finish to end the PPG 400.

Sauter started the race in fifth and managed to stay in contact with the leaders, but did not take the lead until the final stages of the race. Using a combination of fuel and tire conservation, he led 51 laps on the way to victory lane.

Stewart Friesen led the field to green from the pole, but got loose in the outside groove early in stage one. He fought back throughout the night – winning stage one and challenging for the lead late in the race. A determined charge in the final 20 laps put him in position to challenge Sauter. Unfortunately he got hung up behind Justin Haley on the final lap and could not get close enough to make the pass for the lead.

The biggest incident of the night came on lap 109. Battling for a position in the top 10, Dalton Sargent and Myatt Snider got together while trying to use Jennifer Jo Cobb as a pick. Snyder made hard contact with the wall and retired on lap 105 in 23rd. Sargent remained on the lead lap and finished just outside the top 10 in 11th. 

STAGE 1 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

STAGE 2 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

HOW SAUTER WON: Sauter stayed out on old tires with 55 laps remaining and stretched his fuel to race to the end.

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Enfinger inherited the lead when Todd Gilliland pitted near the end of the second segment and scored his first stage win of the season; he continued to battle among the leaders before finishing fourth. Friesen matched his career best finish of second; his previous runner up finish came on the dirt track of Eldora Speedway last July. Justin Haley gave his teammate Sauter a huge push on the final restart before getting overhauled by Friesen on the final lap; Haley finished third to score his sixth career top five.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Ben Rhodes developed an engine problem toward the end of stage one and lost multiple laps while trying to diagnose the issue; he finished three laps off the pace in 16th. Justin Fontaine hit the wall hard on lap six and pancaked the right side of his truck – finishing 30th in the 32-car field. Driftwood Texas driver Bayley Currey got loose in the outside lane on lap 11 while running 18th and hit the turn four wall; he finished 29th. With 10 laps remaining in stage one, Brett Moffitt got loose under Austin Wayne Self and spun into the turn one wall. Moffitt brought out a second yellow when he almost spun 19 laps from the end before finishing 18th. Fighting to stay on the lead lap, Bo LeMastus made contact with Norm Benning, cut a tire, and hit the wall with six to go in stage two. LeMastus finished 26th; Benning finished 21st.

NOTABLE: Gilliland received his high school diploma in a pre-race ceremony before climbing into the lead at the start of the Rattlesnake 400.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I’m speechless at this point; I don’t even know what to say anymore,” Sauter said from victory lane on FoxSports 1. “This is a lot of fun. Five wins at Texas – I feel very, very lucky … It’s all about getting that clean start. I knew that (Friesen) was going to be aggressive – obviously he’s hungry for his first win and so I just timed it right.”

WHAT’S NEXT: M&Ms 200 at Iowa Speedway at 7:00 p.m. ET on June 16 on FS1.

UPDATED: Entry lists for NASCAR Cup and Truck Series at Kansas

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The NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck Series move to Kansas Speedway this week for a Mother’s Day weekend doubleheader.

Here’s the entry lists for each race.

Cup Series

There are 38 cars on the entry list for the KC Masterpiece 400.

Matt Kenseth will make his first start of the season in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 with Wyndham Rewards as a sponsor.

StarCom Racing has withdrawn the No. 99 of Derrike Cope.

Corey LaJoie will pilot the No. 72 TriStar Motorsports entry.

Carl Long is listed as the driver of the No. 66 Motorsports Business Management Toyota.

BJ McLeod will drive the No. 51 for Rick Ware Racing.

Last year, Martin Truex, Jr. won both Kansas races, beating Brad Keselowski in the spring and Kurt Busch in the fall.

Click here for the entry list.

Truck Series

There are 30 entries for the 37 Kind Days 250.

Kyle Busch is the only Cup regular who will compete in both events. He will drive the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

Jennifer Jo Cobb has two Trucks entered this week.

Bo LeMastus will drive the No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota.

The No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet will have Robby Lyons behind the wheel.

No driver is yet listed for the No. 74 Chevrolet owned by Mike Harmon.

Last year, Busch led 91 laps and beat Johnny Sauter to the line by 2.6 seconds.

Click here for the entry list.

Friday 5: How soon until the next female driver arrives in Cup?

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Danica Patrick’s departure after the Daytona 500 (provided she secures a ride for that race) will leave NASCAR without a female driver in its top series.

It could be years before the next female driver arrives in Cup.

Only two of the 114 drivers who attempted to qualify for an Xfinity race last year were female — Angela Ruch ran four races and Jennifer Jo Cob ran one. Cobb was the only female driver among 103 who attempted to qualify for a Camping World Truck Series race last season.

The last four NASCAR Next classes — which spotlights talented young competitors — featured four female drivers among the 44 racers selected. Those female drivers chosen: Kenzie Ruston (2014-15 class), Nicole Behar (2015-16), Julia Landauer (2016-17) and Hailie Deegan (2017-18).

The 16-year-old Deegan will run the K&N West Pro Series schedule for Bill MacAnally Racing, which has won the past three K&N West titles.

Landauer finished seventh in the points last year in the K&N West Series (after placing fourth in 2016) and Behar was eighth in her second full-time season in that series.

In ARCA, Natalie Decker will run the full season with Venturini Motorsports. She stands to become the fifth female in modern-day ARCA history to compete for a driver’s title, joining Shawna Robinson (2000), Christi Passmore (2003-04), Milka Duno (2013) and Sarah Cornett-Ching (2015).

Former champion crew chief Ray Evernham understands the challenges female drivers face. His wife, Erin, competed in 10 Xfinity races from 2005-06 and 29 Camping World Truck races between 2005-08.

“I think that we’ve got to keep providing opportunities for girls to get that experience,’’ said Evernham, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 19.

“Now with the technology of the cars, the way they’re doing the setups, things like that, it will make it a little bit easier for newer people to come in. But we’ve just got to continue to provide an opportunity or a path for ladies to get experience.

Just as important will be how well they’ll handle the scrutiny.

“I know it stinks that so many people are so critical of lady drivers, much more critical than they are of a male driver of the same performance,’’ Evernham said. “Each time one of those girls weathers that storm, gets a little bit further down the road, gets some credibility, it gets a lady closer to Victory Lane in NASCAR.’’

NASCAR lists 16 women who have competed in at least one Cup race from Louise Smith, Sara Christian and Ethel Mobley in 1949 to Patrick. Patrick’s 190 career Cup starts are more than the other 15 women combined. Janet Guthrie was next with 33 starts between 1976-80 and followed by Smith with 11 starts from 1949-52 and Robinson, who had eight starts from 2001-02.

Patrick and Robinson are the only females to run a Cup race since 1990.

NASCAR lists 22 females having competed in the Xfinity Series. Patty Moise started 133 races, more than any other driver.  Patrick and Robinson are next with 61 starts each, followed by Johanna Long (42 starts) and Jennifer Jo Cobb (29 starts).

2. “The Great American Race”

The phrase has long been used as the nickname for the Daytona 500, but where did it originate?

Australia.

True story.

Let Ken Squier, who will be among the five men inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 19, explain how he came up with the phrase for the race.

“Well, (Bill) France Sr. had me (in Daytona) from the ’60s.  Daytona always stood out separately, individually, for one thing, the time of year, because most race tracks in America were closed. 

“It was the gathering of the tribes in Daytona Beach, which went all the way back to the turn of the century, when Henry Ford, the Chevrolet brothers, all of that tribe went down there.  They raced down that hard‑packed beach. That never stopped.  One way or another, they continued to go down there in the month of February and toast a few of their friends from the past and turn some wheels.

“That spirit of Daytona is more prevalent than any other when you talk about tracks and parts of the country. In my mind, it needed something that set it aside. Indianapolis was always the greatest spectacle in sports. Indeed, it was.

“But what was Daytona? Well, it was All‑American stock cars in those days, and pretty much the neighbors sounded like your neighbors, particularly if you came from a small town. What would come to mind? I fooled around with that for a long time.

“I was in Australia doing a show. They had a great race over there. It was a long one, it was a dinger, and it was a national holiday. On the way home, I thought, God, that’s what Daytona is. It’s ‘The Great American Race.’

“I got chewed up pretty good about that. Hadn’t I ever heard of Indy? I sure as the dickens had. This was coming from a different place. Sure enough in 1959, when those three cars came across wheel‑to‑wheel at the end of 500 miles, that was The Great American Race.’’

3. Revamped pit stops

Martin Truex Jr. was asked this week about his thoughts on the changes to pit road with five people going over the wall to service the car instead of six this season.

Truex had an interesting take on what pit crew position might grow in importance with the change.

“I think there’s a lot of question marks from all teams, and I know there’s a lot of talk throughout teams and in the industry of how much different it is,’’ he said during a break in the Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “Everybody is going to think they have a handle on it and then somebody is going to do it different on pit road and whip everybody’s butt in Daytona, so then you’re going to have to re-learn everything and try and figure it out.

“From what I understand, it’s been really difficult. A lot of the weight falls on the jackman as far as making the stops go fast and when all that pressure gets put on one position it makes that one position really important and really different than it’s been in the past.’’

4. Las Vegas test

NASCAR has an organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. That means that one team per organization is permitted at the test.

Among those scheduled to test are William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports), Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Brad Keselowski (Team Penske), Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing).

5. January racing

While the return of NASCAR can’t come soon enough for many, did you know the last time the Cup Series raced in January was 1981? Bobby Allison won at Riverside, California. That was the season-opening race and the Daytona 500 followed. Riverside opened the Cup season from 1970-81.

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Two sisters, cousin will make Martinsville Truck race a family affair

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NASCAR has confirmed that three female drivers — all related — are entered for this weekend’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

Sisters Paige and Claire Decker will be joined by cousin Natalie Decker this weekend.

Paige Decker, 23, seeks her second career series start. She finished 30th at Martinsville last fall driving for Mike Harmon. She’s scheduled to drive for Harmon again this weekend. She wrote on her Facebook page: “So excited to be back behind the wheel after a long break!’’

Claire Decker, 21, will be attempting to make her first series start. She’ll drive for Jennifer Jo Cobb‘s team this weekend.

Natalie Decker, 18, also will be attempting to make her first series start. She’ll drive for NTS Motorsports.

“I’m excited but nervous to make my first laps,” Natalie Decker said in a release. “I hope to learn a lot on and off track. I am super thankful for this opportunity to be able to show my abilities and join an elite class of drivers.”

This marks the 22nd time three female drivers have entered a NASCAR national series race.

A NASCAR national series record four female drivers competed in the Oct. 2010 Truck race at Martinsville. Those drivers were sisters Amber and Angela Cope, Long and Cobb. Long finished 22nd that race, best of the four.

NASCAR fines Jennifer Jo Cobb for having a cell phone in her Truck

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NASCAR fined Jennifer Jo Cobb on Tuesday for having a cell phone in her Camping World Truck last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Cobb was fined a total of $7,500. She was docked $5,000 for the P3 violation. She was fined an additional $2,500 because the infraction happened while she is on probation. TV cameras caught Cobb reaching back into her vehicle to grab her cell phone after wrecking in practice Friday.

Cobb is on probation through Dec. 31 after walking on the track after an accident during a Truck race at Dover International Speedway on May 29. She was fined $5,000 for that incident.

Section 20.18.13.b in the Camping World Truck Series Rule Book states that “unless otherwise authorized, vehicles and drivers will not be permitted to carry onboard computers, automated electronic recording devices, electronically actuated devices, microprocessors, recording devices, filming devices, digital readout gauges, and/or electronic digital memory chips.’’

Each series has a similar rule.

The rule was added in 2012 after Brad Keselowski posted a photo on Twitter of the fire in Turn 3 during the Daytona 500 after Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer. Keselowski took it after the cars had been stopped on the backstretch.

NASCAR did not penalize Keselowski at the time for it but later told drivers they could not have cell phones in their car during an event. NASCAR fined Keselowski $25,000 in Nov. 2012 and placed him on probation until the end of the year after he took pictures during a red flag in a race at Phoenix International Raceway.