Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records/Mud Jug Chevrolet Silverado, started the O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway with points to gain - both on track and in the championship drive for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 200 laps and two hours later, the driver sat in the second position in the Bristol media center answering questions as to how he gained not only the great finish, but also the points lead.
"I've said it a million times, the points can change in a heartbeat. Could be me, could be Buescher, could be Peters, could be anybody with this new system. It's nice and it's humbling. But tonight was about a major strategy with my team. Crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. just knew every lap on that fuel, and we were watching guys drop like flies. I was fighting our aero package and just trying to stay in there mid-race, but then I knew once we got clean air, we had a chance here. I'm so proud of the guys, we really busted tail to get this second place."
Getting to ninth position at lap two, Sauter radioed in early that he was tight, and even tighter in the second groove. After strategy with blower fans and patience in the pits, Sauter stayed out during three cautions to hang in eighth position. Pitting at lap 60, the 13 took four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment. Sauter spent the next 100 laps jockeying between seventh and tenth position. With twenty to go, he passed the 3 truck of Austin Dillon, then quickly notched down the 17 of Timothy Peters to put him in shouting range of a top five at sixth.
After leaders started dropping off the boards due to zero fuel, Sauter powered forward to the second position and fought hard to take the checkered flag against the 2 truck of Kevin Harvick. "If I had 10 more laps maybe, I feel like we could have really taken him on," he said in the post-race press conference. "I'll take second for sure for my guys. They have worked their hearts out since we got back to Michigan with wrecked trucks. We needed this finish. Today was a good day."