The defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Johnny Sauter arrived in Dover hoping to find the win that had eluded the team for the first five races of the 2017 season. The Allegiant team, led by crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., worked through both Thursday practice sessions to make improvements on a tight-handling Chevrolet. Friday morning, Sauter qualified his Silverado in the 11th position for the 200-lap event after advancing to the final round of multi-vehicle qualifying.
The Necedah, Wisconsin native started the 200-mile race fighting a tight-on-exit condition but elected to stay on track through the first two cautions as leaders came to pit road. Sauter moved into the fifth position and advanced to fourth before the end of the first stage when he pitted for tires, fuel and chassis adjustment. Restarting mid-pack proved to be a test as working through traffic intensified the tight handling. Once again, Shear, Jr., decided to pit off-sequence from the leaders, just prior to the end of stage two, eventually allowing Sauter to move up to the ninth position prior to the conclusion. Sauter brought the No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet to pit road for the final time on lap 117 while the leaders stayed out, needing to save fuel to make it to the end without pitting. Sauter patiently worked his way back into the top 10 as the front-runners began to pit for the final time with 40 laps remaining.
The 39-year-old took over the lead on lap 168, and fended off teammate Kaz Grala in the final laps, to secure his first win of the season and fifth consecutive top-three finish.
“I can’t say enough about the way this season has started and the work that Joe (Shear, Jr., crew chief), the 21 team and everyone at GMS have put in. The last four races I’ve sat here and talked about how good things have been and how I felt a win was coming, but when it actually happens there is a bit of weight taken off our shoulders. I’m happy to finally get a win here, I’ve done pretty good here over the years, but this is definitely a track I’ve always wanted to win at. It’s not an easy place to do that so it feels like a big accomplishment.”
GMS Racing PR