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NASCAR Trucks Michigan: Speedy Sauter's first win of 2014

ThorSport Racing's Johnny Sauter clinched victory in the Michigan Truck Series race after problems for his chief rivals cleared the way.
CLICK: Full race results and current Camping World Truck Series championship standings.

Johnny Sauter claimed his first win of the year after holding off his ThorSport Racing team mate Matt Crafton to the line, at the climax of what proved to be the fastest NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the championship's history with an average speed of 161.110mph eclipsing the previous record of 154.737mph at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012.

Sauter had started from fifth place, while Ryan Blaney had taken pole for the Careers for Veterans 200 after a bizarre pole shootout round at Michigan International Speedway saw all 11 of his rivals fail to start their flying laps in time. Blaney posted a frankly academic final round qualifying effort of 41.582s (173.152mph) on the two-mile oval, while the grid order for the rest of the top 12 was set as per the previous round which put his Brad Keselowski Racing team mate Joey Logano alongside Blaney on the front row for the green flag on Saturday afternoon.

Blaney maintained the lead initially but then had to reclaim it from a flying Darrell Wallace Jr. who had started from fourth. Wallace's team mate and boss Kyle Busch was meanwhile having a bumpy start to proceedings with contact against the wall on lap 2 while battling Jeb Burton sending him down from ninth to 17th place, before racing was interrupted by what proved to be the only caution of the race on lap 8 for Travis Kvapil's terminal engine depositing fluid on the track. A large number of cars headed in for early pit stops, including Austin Dillon who was suffering from spark plug issues.

Wallace stayed out to lead the restart, joined on the front row by Timothy Peters who had also eschewed the appeal of an early pit stop. Peters was soon ousted from second spot by Busch, but Wallace was still showing good pace on his older tyres and able to continue out in front until his deferred pit stop on lap 38. That left Busch with a five second lead over the rest of the field represented by Ron Hornaday Jr., Johnny Sauter, Jeb Burton and Matt Crafton.

The halfway point of the 100-lap race was the signal for a new major round of pit stops, this time under green: Busch seemed to have pushed his stint one lap too far and struggled to refire the #51 after apparently running dry leaving him rejoining the race down in 12th place, but his team mate Wallace had meanwhile cycled back to the front with an eight second lead over Peters, Sauter, Hornaday and Crafton.

While Busch was working his way forward, there were frustrating times for the two Brad Keselowski Racing drivers who had started on the front row; pole sitter Blaney had been struggling with a progressively tight truck and a disintegrating front end that left him on pit road with the hood up, while his team mate Logano had dropped back early in the race complaining with problems with the right-front of the #19 and later suffered similar front end and splitter issues to Blaney that left him likewise multiple laps off the lead.

Back on the track, everyone had one more stop to make: Peters was in on lap 76 and was joined on pit road by Wallace, who duplicated his team boss's mistake of going one lap too far and ran dry as a result, losing him a lap. All of this attrition meant that by lap 84 only nine of the 29 trucks that had started the race were still on the lead lap, with Sauter able to pull out a second over Hornaday before his own final visit to pit road on lap 92 for a fuel-only stop. By the time the final splash-and-dash stops had played out, Sauter was back out in front and his ThorSport Racing team mate Crafton had emerged into second ahead of the Turner Scott Motorsports duo of Ron Hornaday and Tayler Malsam, while Kyle Busch was now over ten seconds back from the leader and out of laps to make a race-winning recovery.

Sauter managed to hold off a final charge from Crafton to claim the chequered flag, his first win of the season and his 10th victory in 142 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, the last being at Talladega last October.

Sauter has now won at least one race in six consecutive seasons, putting him within touching distance of the all-time series record of eight set by Dennis Setzer. Sauter's win at Michigan, coupled with Blaney's problems, mean that in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings Blaney drops out of the lead and down to third place behind Sauter and Crafton. However, just 16 points cover the lead trio and Hornaday is a mere three points further back in fourth place.

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.



Related Pictures

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Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers For Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers For Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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