Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado, was fastest in round one of single-truck qualifying at the newly repaved and reconfigured Texas Motor Speedway Friday afternoon. He earned a second-place starting spot, starting the race on the outside of the front row. Sauter immediately dropped back to the seventh position after struggling to find an opening to get in to the bottom, and under the first caution on lap four, he reported to the team that he was really tight and the track had no grip up top. He restarted on the bottom and began to work his way back to the front, taking over the race lead on lap 19. He completed the first stage in the first position and came to pit road for two tires and a chassis adjustment before returning to the track as the leader for the start of the second stage.
Sauter maintained the lead until lap 69 when his Chevy began to tighten up once again. He settled into the third position with just five laps remaining before the break. Crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., brought his driver in for four tires, fuel and an adjustment at the stage conclusion and relayed that there was an issue with the left front tire that had caused him to tighten up at the end of that run.
Sauter visited the Allegiant team for the final time under caution on lap 119, taking four tires and restarting in the ninth position behind several trucks that took just two. He worked his way up to the sixth position with less than 20 laps remaining. The Necedah, Wis., native was well on his way to his sixth consecutive top-five finish when contact from the 22 truck put him sideways on the frontstretch. He was able to straighten out the No. 21 with only slight contact with the wall, but the incident created a chain reaction throughout the field resulting in a red flag condition. As the race ended under yellow, Sauter brought the Allegiant Chevrolet across the start-finish line in the eighth position.
“We had a great Allegiant Chevrolet tonight. It started out great and we had a lot of speed but I knew if the 4 was running anything like he has been all year,and especially in practice yesterday, that it would be a fight down to the end. It’s unfortunate to see the night end the way it did and really hate to see if affect someone else’s night and the end of the race, but that’s racing and you have to take the good with the bad. We’re entering a stretch of races that we typically do really well at so I’m excited to move on to Gateway and have another shot at a win.”
- Sauter holds a 40-point lead over Christopher Bell in the driver and owner championship point standings.
GMS Racing PR