Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado, started from the fourth position for Friday night’s JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway. Early on, he reported that he felt the splitter was dragging but stayed on track during the first two cautions to eventually takeover the second position with eight laps left in the first stage.
Sauter maintained second place before pitting at the Stage One break for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. As the team took time to switch out the rev limiter under caution, the No. 21 restarted outside of the top 10 for the second stage. Sauter worked his way back toward the top 10 before making contact with teammate Justin Haley on lap 59 and pitting for tires under the caution.
With 11 laps remaining in Stage Two, Sauter made gains on new tires to sit ninth as the green-checkered flag was shown on lap 70. He stayed on track to restart second for the final stage but got shuffled back to third on the restart. Sauter took the lead for the first time on lap 109 for seven laps before pitting under green for the final stop of the night.
As the field cycled through, Sauter returned to the top position and held off playoff contender Austin Cindric in the final laps to secure his third win of the season and a chance to compete for the NCWTS Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Everything we had planned for strategy went out the window within the first 20 laps; we were pretty much calling an audible every time. We found ourselves pretty decent at the beginning. We were slow to take off which is pretty common for me, but as the night progressed it just got better. We had a fast ISM Connect Chevy and executed when we needed to and had the speed we needed. This is a big win and a big week for our family. Now I’m just looking forward to the next couple of races; we’ve got to get it done.”
- Sauter remains 4 points behind Christopher Bell; however, his win locks him into the Championship Four to compete for a second championship at Miami.
- Sauter's Texas win is the 400th win for Hendrick Motorsports' engine department.
GMS Racing PR