Johnny Sauter contnues his strong performance in Gateway
With the best finishing average among active drivers in the "Show Me State," Sauter maintained a position within the top four for the first 118 laps of the 160-lap event, running as high as first, and as low as 14th. Crew chief Doug George brought the No. 98 machine to pit road, under caution, at lap 54 for four tires, fuel, and adjustments to aid in a "loose" Toyota Tundra. However, pitting under caution on lap 81, George turned to pit strategy to maintain track position, making the risky call for only two tires and fuel. Sauter came off pit road second and ultimately took over the top spot a few laps later, leading four laps.
Continuing to battle a "loose" Toyota Tundra, Sauter lost the lead to eventual race winner, Cole Custer, on the restart, but maintained a position inside the top-three in the ensuing laps before bringing his Toyota Tundra to the attention of his crew for his third and final stop of the night, under caution, at lap 118. Unfortunately, a slow four tire and fuel pit stop trapped the Nextant Aerospace driver deep in the pack for the lap 123 restart. Despite continuing to fight loose conditions, Sauter battled his way back through the field in the remaining 37 laps, crossing the stripe in the fourth position, his fourth top-five finish of the 2015 NCWTS season.
The solid run allowed Sauter to move into third-place in the NCWTS driver point standings, 30 points behind teammate and leader, Matt Crafton.
"It's just really frustrating. This Nextant Aerospace/Curb Records Toyota Tundra wasn't the fastest truck out there tonight, but it was a third-place truck. I think we could have done a little bit better had we made bigger swings on adjustments throughout the race, but at the same time you don't want to get too drastic. We had some trouble on pit road that cost us valuable track position, but we were able to fight back and get another top-five finish. With that being said, we are making gains each week, moving in the right direction, and that says a lot about this team."
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